An intra-individual quantitative assessment of acute laser injury patterns in facial versus abdominal skin

Steven H. Bailey, Spencer A. Brown, Yeonsoon Kim, Georgette Oni, Fatemeh Abtahi, James A. Richardson, John Hoopman, Fritz Barton, Jeffrey M. Kenkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Introduction Clinical laser settings have traditionally been calibrated on abdominal skin to predict and anticipate patterns of injuries in facial skin. This experimental approach has limitations as facial skin and abdominal skin have differences that may influence the depth of laser injury. Objective The primary objective of this study is to analyze the acute pattern of laser injury in abdominal skin and facial skin samples from the same subject and detail the anatomical and biophysical properties that can influence the laser tissue interaction. The secondary objective is to develop a conversion factor that will allow the prediction laser column depths in facial skin based upon laser column depths in abdominal skin. Methods Fifteen healthy subjects were consented and screened. Two 2 mm spots on the face and abdomen were identified and measured and treated with a fractional CO2 laser (Lumenis Ltd, Yokneum, Israel), with an energy setting of 15 mj, 300 Hz at a density of 10. Treatment areas were biopsied and analyzed histologically using hematoxylin and eosin and TUNEL staining. Results Facial skin and abdominal skin have several significant anatomical and biophysical differences (concentration of pilosebaceous units, sebum concentration, and moisture content). Facial tissue demonstrated divergence of laser energy around pilosebaceous units and lateral spread of laser energy along blood vessels. These differences cause attenuation (28%) of the laser energy and result in column depths that are significantly (P < 0.003) shorter in facial tissues (mean depth 415 μm) in comparison to abdominal tissues (mean depth 582 μm). Conclusion The variations in anatomic, biophysical, and biomechanical properties in facial skin cause an attenuation of the laser column depths in facial skin when compared to abdominal skin. A correction factor of 28% is required to predict the depth of laser columns in facial skin based on laser column depths observed in abdominal skin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-107
Number of pages9
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • comparison of human facial and abdominal skin
  • conversion factor for facial skin
  • correction factor for facial skin
  • factors influencing laser injury
  • fractional facial resurfacing
  • in vivo abdominoplasty model
  • in vivo pannus model
  • laser resurfacing
  • regional differences in human skin
  • validation of the in vivo pannus/abdominoplasty laser treatment model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


Dive into the research topics of 'An intra-individual quantitative assessment of acute laser injury patterns in facial versus abdominal skin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this