Efficacy and safety of a carbon-dioxide ablative fractional resurfacing device for treatment of atrophic acne scars in Asians

Woraphong Manuskiatti, Daranporn Triwongwaranat, Supenya Varothai, Sasima Eimpunth, Rungsima Wanitphakdeedecha
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2010, 63 (2): 274-83

BACKGROUND: Treatment of atrophic scars with a fractional laser resurfacing technique has demonstrated favorable outcomes, although data on the efficacy and adverse effects of this procedure in persons with dark-skinned phototypes are limited.

OBJECTIVE: This study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of carbon-dioxide ablative fractional resurfacing on atrophic acne scars in Asian individuals.

METHODS: Thirteen subjects (8 female and 5 male, aged 25-52 years) with skin phototype IV and atrophic acne scars were treated with 3 sessions of carbon-dioxide ablative fractional resurfacing laser on an average of 7-week interval. Objective (ultraviolet A-light video camera) and subjective (clinical evaluation by two blinded dermatologists) assessments were obtained at baseline and at 1, 3, and 6 months after the final treatment.

RESULTS: At the 6-month follow-up, 85% of the subjects were rated as having at least 25% to 50% improvement of scars. Improvement significantly progressed from the 1-month follow-up to the 6-month follow-up (P = .002). At 1 month after 3 treatments, surface smoothness (P = .03) and scar volume (P < .001) significantly improved, compared with baseline measurements. Of the subjects, 62% rated themselves as having at least 50% improvement in their scars. Mild postinflammatory hyperpigmentation was the most common adverse effect observed in 92% of the subjects or 51% of treatment sessions, and was completely resolved in an average of 5 weeks.

LIMITATION: The small sample size was a study limitation.

CONCLUSIONS: Carbon-dioxide ablative fractional resurfacing appears to be effective and well tolerated for the treatment of atrophic acne scars in Asians.

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