Multimodal management of atrophic acne scarring in the aging face

Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2011 Dec;35(6):1143-50. doi: 10.1007/s00266-011-9715-y. Epub 2011 Apr 14.


Atrophic facial acne scarring is a widely prevalent condition that can have a negative impact on a patient's quality of life. The appearance of these scars is often worsened by the normal effects of aging. A number of options are available for the treatment of acne scarring, including chemical peeling, dermabrasion, ablative or nonablative laser resurfacing, dermal fillers, and surgical techniques such as subcision or punch excision. Depending on the type and extent of scarring, a multimodal approach is generally necessary to provide satisfactory results. Resurfacing techniques correct surface irregularities, long-lasting dermal fillers address the volume loss resulting from acne, and sub-superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS) face-lift procedures counter the soft tissue laxity and ptosis associated with aging. This article briefly reviews the evolution of individual approaches to treating atrophic acne scarring, followed by case examples illustrating results that can be achieved using a multimodal approach. Representative cases from patients in their 30s, 40s, and 50s are presented. In the author's clinical practice, multimodal approaches incorporating fractionated laser, injectable poly-L: -lactic acid, and sub-SMAS face-lift procedures have achieved optimal aesthetic outcomes, high patient satisfaction, and durability of aesthetic effect over time.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / complications
  • Adult
  • Aging
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Cicatrix / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Face*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged