Potential use of Microwave Technology in Dermatology
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BACKGROUND: Microwaves are used in medicine for diagnostics, and treatment of cancer. Recently, novel microwave devices (Swift®, Emblation Ltd, UK and miraDry®, Miramar Labs Inc., CA) have been cleared by the FDA and Health Canada for various dermatological conditions. OBJECTIVE AND METHODS: To review the dermatological use of microwave-based treatments (plantar warts, corns, actinic keratosis, dermatophytosis, axillary hyperhidrosis, osmidrosis, and hidradenitis suppurativa). Clinical trials, case reports, or in vitro studies for each condition are summarized. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Microwaves are a promising alternative therapy for cutaneous warts, actinic keratosis, axillary hyperhidrosis, and osmidrosis, with favorable safety profiles. However, patients with hidradenitis suppurativa have had negative clinical outcomes. Limited treatment of corns showed good pain reduction but did not resolve hyperkeratosis. A preliminary in vitro study indicated that microwave treatment inhibits the growth of T. rubrum. We present the first case of toenail onychomycosis successfully treated with microwaves. Despite the advancements in the use of microwaves, the mechanism of action in non-ablative treatment is not well understood; further research is needed. More high-quality randomized clinical trials with larger groups and long follow-up periods are also required to evaluate the clinical benefits and possible adverse effects of microwaves in treating dermatological conditions.
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