Stretch marks, scientifically known as striae distensae (SD), are unwanted dermal lesions that result from rapid skin stretching, genetic factors, and hormonal changes. Initially, they appear as slightly raised or flattened red or pink scars and eventually transform into permanent pale scars. SD commonly appears along cleavage lines in areas such as the thighs, breasts, hips, and abdomen, and is most commonly observed during pregnancy and puberty.
Various interventions have been developed over the years to treat stretch marks, including microdermabrasion, topical agents, light therapies, laser therapies, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection, and needling therapy. However, there is no consensus among researchers and practitioners regarding the gold standard treatment method for SD. This has led to questions about the most effective treatment and concerns about the safety of these interventions.
One laser therapy used to treat SD is non-ablative fractional laser therapy. This method involves using a laser to enhance the appearance of the skin. During the treatment, a laser is applied to the skin, penetrating into the deeper layers in a pattern of microscopic dots. This stimulates the skin’s natural healing response, resulting in improved skin appearance. However, the efficacy and safety of this intervention remain under scrutiny. Therefore, this study aims to evaluate the efficacy and safety of non-ablative fractional laser therapy for the treatment of SD through a systematic review.
This study is important because non-ablative fractional laser therapy has gained popularity as a treatment option for SD. It is crucial to determine its effectiveness and safety for patients. Effectiveness and safety are key criteria that any treatment intervention must meet in order to be considered suitable for use. While this method may be effective in treating SD, if it poses long-term health risks or adverse effects, it should be reconsidered. This study aims to shed light on these factors and provide recommendations regarding the continued use of this intervention.
Although systematic reviews on the topic have been conducted previously, most have focused on comparing various interventions for treating SD. This review is therefore necessary as it will provide a more comprehensive understanding of the efficacy and safety of non-ablative fractional laser therapy.
The objectives of this study are as follows:
To evaluate the efficacy of non-ablative fractional laser therapy.
To assess the safety of non-ablative fractional laser therapy.
To provide recommendations regarding the continued use or discontinuation of this intervention.
The eligibility criteria for selecting studies focused on the types of studies, intervention, and outcomes. Randomized clinical trials examining the use of non-ablative fractional laser therapy for treating SD were included. Studies that solely used non-ablative fractional laser therapy as the intervention were preferred, but studies comparing multiple interventions including this therapy were also considered. The outcomes of interest were efficacy or effectiveness and patient safety.
Reputable databases, including Google Scholar, PubMed, and Cochrane Library, were considered as the primary sources of information. Additional sources were also searched extensively to obtain as many relevant studies as possible.
A search strategy was developed using keywords such as “Striae Distensae,” “treatments,” “non-ablative fractional lasers,” “efficacy,” and “safety.” Synonyms and related terms were also included in the search to enhance the outcomes. For Google Scholar, the custom range option was used to include recent sources that could provide up-to-date insights.
The selection process involved reviewing the titles and abstracts of the identified articles. The reviewer examined whether the titles and abstracts addressed the efficacy and safety of non-ablative fractional laser therapy. For studies where the title did not explicitly indicate the focus on efficacy and safety, the abstracts were analyzed