Subcision and 1320-nm Nd:YAG nonablative laser resurfacing for the treatment of acne scars: a simultaneous split-face single patient trial

Gregory J Fulchiero, Pamela C Parham-Vetter, Suzan Obagi
Dermatologic Surgery: Official Publication for American Society for Dermatologic Surgery [et Al.] 2004, 30 (10): 1356-59; discussion 1360

BACKGROUND: Many methods have been proposed for the treatment of acne scars with variable cosmetic results. Subcision has been successfully used, although complications often include a hyperpigmented and hypertrophic wound healing response. Nonablative skin resurfacing with a 1320-nm Nd:YAG laser has also been proposed; however, the results are generally inferior to those of more invasive modalities.

OBJECTIVE: The objective was to improve on the results of 1320-nm Nd:YAG nonablative laser resurfacing by combining this treatment of acne scars with needle subcision.

METHODS: A split-face trial was conducted in a patient with severe rolling and boxcar acne scars. One side of the face was treated with two sessions of subcision alone, spaced 6 weeks apart, whereas the other side was treated with two sessions of subcision spaced 6 weeks apart and 1320-nm Nd:YAG laser sessions every 2 weeks starting after the first subcision. At the conclusion of the split-face trial, the unlasered side was then treated with six biweekly sessions of 1320-nm Nd:YAG.

RESULTS: Although the use of subcision resulted in an improvement of the patient's acne scars, the combination of subcision and nonablative laser resurfacing was superior in topography, pigmentation, and overall appearance of the acne scars.

CONCLUSION: This case illustrates that dual treatment with subcision and 1320-nm Nd:YAG nonablative laser resurfacing is a well-tolerated and highly effective regimen for the improvement of facial acne scars, compared to subcision alone.

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