Background: Non-ablative methods have been attempted in treating atrophic facial scars, but the histologic findings do not always coincide with the clinical results and patient satisfaction.
Objective: To study the effects and safety of the Nd:YAG laser for treating atrophic facial scars.
Material and methods: Twelve subjects (skin phototypes II-V) with mild to moderate atrophic facial acne scars received five monthly treatments with 1,064 nm Nd:YAG laser and were photographed before, in the middle of, and 6 months after the last treatment. Histologic evaluations were performed on skin biopsies obtained before treatment and 1 month after the last session. Collagen quantification per area, before and after the treatment, was performed by morphometry, with computerized image analysis. Patient satisfaction and clinical condition were assessed using standard grading scales.
Results: Mild to moderate clinical improvement was observed in most patients. Photographic assessment of scars found visible cosmetic improvement in eleven patients. All patients were satisfied. There were statistically significant collagen increases in the dermis following the treatment. Side effects were limited to mild transient erythema and increased skin sensitivity after the procedure.
Conclusions: The 1,064 nm Nd:YAG laser is a safe and effective nonablative method for improving atrophic scars, even in darker skin.