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Meet Dr. Jung-min Bae, "the Master of Vitiligo Treatment”

[Prof. Huh’s Talk on Dermatologic Medical Devices] LaserOptek ③Voice from the Field (Fin)

Prof. Chang Hun Huh, at the department of dermatology of Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, visited Dr. Jung-min Bae of the Heal House Skin Clinic, who is expertly treating many vitiligo patients with LaserOptek's Pallas laser. (Prof. Huh on the left and Dr. Bae on the right.)
When I started this column, I've decided to write it on the site, not on the desk. Prof. Jung-min Bae, who appeared like a rising star in dermatologic journals in recent years, told me that he had left university hospital and opened a private clinic. "Heal House Skin Clinic" was the name of it and its meaning is "a healing house for patients." He has been globally known as an expert in treating vitiligo with Pallas laser. I interviewed him in person and listened to his story.

- Why did you suddenly open a private clinic and left a university hospital, where is easy to conduct numerous researches?

It is because I wanted to encounter more vitiligo patients, closely. I’ve accumulated clinical and research experiences on vitiligo treatment at a university hospital. Being able to conduct various research was a great benefit of working at a university hospital, but there were some cons. I always felt inconvenience for not seeing more patients due to limited consultation hours. Also, focusing on vitiligo, my area of expertise, was not easy because of the many general dermatologic patients. That’s why I decided to open a vitiligo specialized clinic based on my experience so far. I developed a “vitiligo total care center” with Pallas laser which can treat vitiligo effectively, admission and operating rooms for surgical procedures, vitiligo special nurses, and special skincare programs for vitiligo.

Dr. Bae who is well known as "the master of vitiligo treatment” has recently opened a private clinic focusing on treating vitiligo, while communicating with a lot more patients and providing safe and effective treatments.
- What is the most effective vitiligo treatment?

The basic treatments for vitiligo are NBUVB and Pallas laser. Especially, Pallas laser has a much more beneficial to small size or facial lesion because it can skip the irradiation of UV rays on the normal skin.

- Is there any pain or side effect when using the laser on sensitive areas of skin like around the eyes?

Generally, there are no pain or side effects serious enough to stop the treatment. Wavelengths of Pallas laser do not penetrate through whole layers of skin. Also, you don’t have to worry about it since when you close your eyes, the pupils move upward and be covered safely under the frontal bone. Even if the laser is accidentally irradiated on the eyes, there might be temporal damage to cornea or lens, but no permanent damage to the retina or optic nerves has been reported. As preventing accidents is essential, I am putting every effort into safety when doing laser procedures.

Alopecia totalis treated by Pallas laser. A: Before, B: After 3 months, C: After 7 months (photos from Laser in Medical Science 2020;35:999-1002)
- Are there any differences in the effects of Pallas laser treatment by age groups?

It is more effective if the patient is younger. Pallas laser can be used safer and easier even on patients with claustrophobia or children who cannot use cabinet type UV treatment devices. Besides, it is a safe and effective treatment for not only children and elderly but also even pregnant women.

- What are treatment cycles and post-treatment care?

In general, 2 sessions per week are basic, but it might be adjustable 1~3/week according to the cases. Pallas laser treatment does not have any downtime, so patients can return to daily life right after the procedure. However, UV exposure should be avoided.

- What other diseases can be treated with Pallas laser?
Pallas has already been in use for vitiligo and psoriasis. Also, it seems to be highly effective in atopic dermatitis and alopecia areata in my personal experience so far. Indeed, Pallas laser treatment has no pain at all, so it is expected to be the new hope for the pediatric alopecia areata patient who is not easy to get injected due to pain.

- What are the differences between Pallas laser and previous Excimer lasers?

A wavelength of the classic Excimer laser is 308nm, and that of Pallas laser is 311nm. The difference between wavelengths is minimal, but the biologic difference is not small. According to the previous research data conducted at the university hospital, minimal erythema dose of Pallas laser was 1.7 times higher and penetrated deeper than Excimer, resulting in greater treatment effects.