A new modality for fractional CO2 laser resurfacing for acne scars in Asians

Lasers Med Sci. 2013 Feb;28(2):627-32. doi: 10.1007/s10103-012-1120-5. Epub 2012 May 22.


Since fractional photothermolysis was first introduced in 2004, it has become a very popular procedure, especially with more and more ablative fractional laser systems and treatments. Fractional ablative laser has been shown to be very effective; however, it does not reach the efficacy of conventional ablative laser treatments in most instances. In an attempt order to make the fractional CO2 laser treatment more efficacious and safe, we combined both the conventional CO2 laser and the fractional CO2 laser to treat acne scars. We report our experience with this new modality. A total of 44 Chinese patients with facial acne scars and skin type IV were included in this study. Each patient received a minimum of two treatment sessions. For each laser session, both the conventional CO2 laser treatment and the DeepFX laser treatment were focused on treating the scar areas only. Following this technique, the more superficialf ActiveFX fractional CO2 laser was performed to the entire face. The efficacy of the procedure was evaluated 3 months after the final laser treatment. The improvement in acne scars and the overall skin texture change were assessed by photographic evaluation using the following scales: ≤25 % (mild), 26-50 % (moderate), 51-75 % (marked), and >75 % (excellent). Side effects from this therapy were mild to moderate. Two cases of HSV outbreak were noted; they were treated and resolved without adverse sequelae. Post-laser erythema was resolved within 1 month in one half of the patients. Prolonged erythema (≤3 months) was noted in 12(27 %) cases. Temporary post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH; ≤1 month) was seen in approximately 50 % of the patients. PIH (≤3 months) was noted in four cases (9 %). Sixty-four percent of the patients (28/44) had an improvement of between 51 and 75 % after more than two sessions of the combination of laser treatments. The average overall improvement was 52.50 % (±12.25 %). Three patients achieved improvement of >75 %. This new modality of ablative conventional CO2 laser therapy with fractional CO2 laser resurfacing was shown to be safe and efficacious in the treatment of acne scars in Asian patients. It did not increase the risk of PIH compared to other reports of laser therapy and PIH. It is the hope that future study with combination therapy will further enhance the clinical results and thus lessen potential adverse events.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / complications
  • Acne Vulgaris / radiotherapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • Cicatrix / radiotherapy*
  • Erythema / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Herpes Simplex / complications
  • Humans
  • Lasers, Gas / therapeutic use*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / adverse effects
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / instrumentation
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult