Focal Acne Scar Treatment (FAST), a new approach to atrophic acne scars: a case series

Eric S Schweiger, Lauren Sundick
Journal of Drugs in Dermatology: JDD 2013, 12 (10): 1163-7

BACKGROUND: Acne scars are a common concern in dermatology. Fractional CO2 laser resurfacing is a recent addition in our armamentarium of treatment options for acne scars and has been shown to be an excellent option for patients with atrophic acne scars. Patients with acne scars receiving fractional CO2 resurfacing usually have both the acne scars and surrounding unscarred areas treated in common practice. There has yet to be a study that looked at the implications of only focally treating the acne scars while leaving surrounding normal skin untreated.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of a focal approach to fractional CO2 laser treatment for acne scars, coined "Focal Acne Scar Treatment" or "FAST"

PATIENTS AND METHODS: This retrospective case series was conducted at Schweiger Dermatology, in New York, NY, with patients treated from November 2011 through May 2012. Overall, six patients (ages 18 to 48) were treated with the fractional CO2 laser resurfacing, using a so called "FAST" technique treating only the acne scars and leaving normal skin untreated. Evaluation was based on physician and patient assessment of improvement at one week and four weeks post-treatment.

RESULTS: All six patients treated with the Focal Acne Scar Treatment technique of fractional CO2 laser resurfacing had significant improvement post treatment ranging from 40% to 70% as estimated by the treating dermatologist and patient at four weeks post treatment. Patient satisfaction was high following FAST method. Temporary post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation was seen in two patients but resolved after a single 1550 nm Erbium Glass fractional laser treatment.

CONCLUSION: The Focal Acne Scar Treatment technique is an effective method of improving the appearance of atrophic acne scars. Higher energy and density levels can be used when utilizing this technique, resulting in improved outcomes when compared with whole face fractional CO2 laser resurfacing. Healing is improved and faster with this technique and no increased incidence of permanent adverse events were found. More studies are needed to further evaluate this new technique.

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