Spertell, 2000 (unpublished microwave reports)

Spertell, 2000

Title: Review of clinical data on hair removal using the MW 2000 microwave delivery system

Authors: Spertell RB, Lowe NJ, Garden JM, Bakus AD, Duffy DM, Ruzicka T, Billman, Kaplan RP



Affiliated institution:

Cited in: Promotional material for manufacturer Microwave Medical

The cover of this review bears the name of Microwave Medical’s Chief Scientist, Robert B. Spertell, a former neurologist. Spertell lost his license to practice medicine after a serious breach of ethics that led to criminal charges. I believe that should be taken into consideration when evaluating the data presented in his review.

The four unpublished reports Spertell cites are:

Duffy (1998): 12 subjects completed the 14-day study (12 started). 11 skin Types I-IV and one Type VI showed mild pain in one patient (same as placebo) and mild redness in another.

Mitchell (1998): 3 subjects completed the 12-month study (21 started). 11 skin Type I-IV and 10 skin Type V-VI patients given multiple pulses at about 20-28 J/cm2 on their arm, shoulder, underarm, or chest reported mild discomfort that was fluence-dependent. Three patients reported pigment change. The study claims to have observed 50-75% hair reduction in an unknown number of patients at 3 months. They further claim that 3 patients followed one year after a single treatment maintained these levels.

Ruzicka (1998): 12 subjects completed the 4-month study (48 started). Subjects had skin Types I-IV, and were mostly treated on the arm or leg at about 23-31 J/cm2. The results for the 14 areas treated at 10 joules with a 50ms pulse are reported. They claim to have observed 4 areas with more than 75% hair loss, 2 with 50-75% loss, 7 with 25-50% loss, and 1 with less than 25% loss

Lowe (1999): 6 subjects completed the 6-month study (28 started), 19 had one treatment, 9 had a second treatment within 2 months of the first. All but 1 had skin Type I-III, all had medium to dark hair, except two (who both dropped out after month 2). 1 patient had blistering. At 6 months the six returning subjects averaged 53% reduction, with the 1 returning patient who had 2 treatments having 66% reduction.