OBJECTIVES: Hailey-Hailey disease (HHD), or benign familial pemphigus, is a rare autosomal dominant genodermatosis characterized by the formation of blisters. Eruptions are usually located in large skin folds, and when blisters become infected the condition can be very painful and disabling. HHD is difficult to treat. Many topical and systemic treatments have been used to bring exacerbations under control, but none have achieved medium- to long-term remission.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Retrospective study of 8 patients with HHD treated with carbon dioxide laser therapy in our hospital between 1999 and 2011. The patients’ mean age was 50.7 years. The 4 men and 4 women were followed for between 1 and 12 years.
RESULTS: Satisfactory outcomes were achieved for 6 of the patients. Clinical improvement was observed in more than 75% of the affected area in 4 patients and in 50% to 75% of the area in 2 patients. The effect of treatments was maintained over time. The poorest outcomes were observed in patients treated at lower potencies. When blistering recurred after treatment, a second laser session achieved a good response. We observed no adverse events other than slight changes in skin texture and pigmentation.
Carbon dioxide laser therapy was safe and effective in producing medium- to long-term improvement in HHD symptoms that were refractory to conventional treatments.