Dr. Bruce Freedman
Plastic Surgery Associates
of Northern Virginia

Laser Hair Removal

IMPROVED RESULTS WITH LASER HAIR REMOVAL
USING A STRUCTURED TREATMENT PROTOCOL

Bruce M. Freedman, Robert V. Earley – McLean, Virginia

The purpose of this study was to determine whether a structured treatment protocol for laser hair removal improved clinical results. A total of 200 patients were treated over a consecutive 16 month period for unwanted body hair using the Cynosure long pulsed Alexandrite laser. Laser parameters were determined according to Fitzpatrick skin type and hair color. Documentation was obtained with digital photography. 100 patients (Group A) agreed to a protocol of 4 regularly spaced treatments during the defined period. 100 patients (Group B) were allowed to determine their own treatment plan with respect to timing and frequency (not exceeding 4 treatments). There were no significant differences between groups in age, gender, or treated areas. Patients were examined and surveyed 3 months after the conclusion of the treatment period. Clinical results were defined as reduction of hair in the treated area.

Group A experienced an average reduction of hair in the treated area of 78 +/- 8 % with 4 treatments per patient. Group B experienced an average reduction of hair in the treated area of 48 +/- 12 % with an average of 2.4 +/- .5 treatments per patient. The differences in hair reduction and treatment frequency between the groups were statistically significant (P < .05). In addition, patient satisfaction with the treatment was evaluated using an assessment scale of 1 (excellent) to 5 (poor). Group A reported a satisfaction rating of 1.4 +/- .3 while Group B reported a satisfaction rating of 2.5 +/- 0.5. These values were statistically different (P < .05). Using regression analysis, a positive linear relationship was identified in Group B between treatment frequency and hair reduction (r = .94). Likewise, a positive linear relationship was identified between treatment frequency and patient satisfaction (r = .89). This study concludes that "enrolling" patients in a structured treatment protocol leads to superior clinical results and improved overall patient satisfaction following laser hair removal.

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