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INTRODUCTION

Low level light laser therapy (LLLT) has been used to treat a variety of medical disorders from ulcers to musculoskeletal disorders. In 2007, a low level light device was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat male pattern hair loss (Fig. 21.1; Hairmax, Boca Raton, Florida). The laser comb is a handheld device that was approved as a device which has a different standard for FDA approval than a medication. The device is sold over the counter without physician prescription or physician monitoring. There are various other manufacturers of light therapy devices that are sold to physicians’ offices that are not handheld, such as the Sunetics device (Figs. 21.2 and 21.3; Sunetics International, Las Vegas NV).

Figure 21.1

Hand held LLLT device (hairmax lasecomb Boca Raton, Florida)

Figure 21.2

Office based LLLT device (Sunnetics, las Vegas, Nevada)

Figure 21.3

Patient undergoing LLLT treatment for male pattern hair loss in a physician office

MECHANISM OF ACTION—UNKNOWN

  • Candidate selection—all skin types. All hair colors. Most effective at earlier stages of hair loss. FDA approved for male pattern hair loss. Many physicians believe it may have a role in treating female pattern hair loss.

APPROPRIATE USE

  • The manufacturer recommends slowly combing the device throughout the affected areas of hair more than 10 minutes three times weekly (Fig. 21.4).

Figure 21.4

Patient performing home LLLT treatment

  • There are no published studies comparing different frequency and time of use of the device.

PEARLS OF WISDOM

  • All patients with hair loss should be evaluated by a dermatologist to establish a diagnosis before considering any medical therapy.

  • Minoxidil for men and women and finasteride for men remain the medical treatment of choice for male and female pattern hair loss.

  • LLLT appears to be safe but long-term independent studies confirming efficacy over placebo have not been done.

  • Corporate-funded studies have demonstrated some efficacy in the treatment of male pattern hair loss.

  • LLLT should be considered after clear medical failure with minoxidil and/or finasteride.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Avram  MR, Leonard  RT  Jr, Epstein  ES, Williams  JL, Bauman  AJ. The current role of laser/light sources in the treatment of male and female pattern hair loss. J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2007;9(1):27–28. Review.  [PubMed: 17457763]
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Avram  MR, Rogers  NE. Hair transplantation for men. J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2008;10(3):154–160. Review.  [PubMed: 18608704]
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Avram  MR, Rogers  NE. The use of low-level ...

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