This study was designed to evaluate the short- and long-term histologic consequences of some common skin resurfacing methods. Grids were tattooed on the sides of a Yucatan minipig, the standard model for human skin experiments. Each grid cell was treated with one of the following: Jessner's solution, lactic acid, glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid with and without Retin-A® pretreatment, phenol, dermabrasion, or carbon dioxide laser (Sharplan Silk Touch® or Coherent UltraPulse®). All treatments were given at the usual doses or strengths recommended for human skin. Each treatment method was represented by two grid cells on either side. Biopsy specimens were obtained from each area immediately after treatment and at 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months. The histologic sections were read by an experienced dermatopathologist. The superficial peeling agents (glycolic acid, lactic acid, and Jessner's solution) barely penetrated the epidermis. Wound depth from dermabrasion and laserbrasion could be traced to the papillary-reticular junction of the dermis in the early sections, but by 3 months the skin in these areas had resumed its normal architecture. In contrast, phenol and trichloroacetic acid produced changes to the upper reticular dermis, and these findings persisted for the duration of the observation period. The effects of treatment with the carbon dioxide lasers had dissipated by 3 months. Higher levels of laser energy are apparently needed to induce resurfacing in this model.
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