Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic disease characterized by red, tender bumps that often drain and scar. The most commonly affected areas are the underarms, groin, buttocks, and under the breasts. It is extremely difficult to treat.
A recent study, however, found that aggressive treatment with a laser used for hair removal provided improvement. Overall, areas treated with the laser showed a 32% improvement compared to those that were not 2 months after treatment.
The laser that was used was a Nd:YAG, one commonly used for laser hair removal. The settings used were based on skin type and ranged from 25 to 50 J/cm2, with a spot size of 10 mm and a pulse duration ranging from 20 to 35 milliseconds. Skin types II through IV were included. Two laser treatments were performed. Double pulse stacking was used at the first treatment, and triple pulse stacking at the second on inflammatory lesions. This is an aggressive treatment.
Perhaps greater improvement would be noted if more laser hair removal treatments were performed. The duration of improvement is unknown.
Reference: Xu LY et al. Histopathologic study of hidradenitis suppurativa following long-pulsed 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser treatment. Arch Dermatol 2010 Sep 20.