Fractional CO(2) laser treatment vs autologous fat transfer in the treatment of acne scars: a comparative study

J Drugs Dermatol. 2013 Jan;12(1):e7-e13.


Background: Acne scars present a highly challenging and frustrating clinical problem. Fractional CO2 laser treatment has led to marked improvement in scars, and fat transfer, or fat grafting, has also recently proven very useful in regenerative medicine.

Objective: To compare fractional CO2 laser treatment and fat grafting in the treatment of acne scars.

Materials and methods: Twenty patients were included in this study, 10 received 3 sessions of fractional CO2 laser therapy, and 10 received fat grafting. All patients were then followed up for 3 months, and results were assessed with digital photographs taken by a committee of 3 physicians, by a single-blinded physician, and by reports of patient satisfaction.

Results: In the fractional CO2 laser treatment group, under 20% of patients were graded as having excellent scar improvement, 0 as having marked scar improvement, under 10% as having mild scar improvement, and almost 70% as having moderate scar improvement. In the fat-grafting group, the scar and overall improvement were graded as 30% excellent, 30% marked, 20% moderate, and 20% mild.

Conclusion: Fat grafting proved to be more effective in the treatment of acne scars than ablative fractional CO2 laser treatment. There were many points in its favor, the most significant being the clinical improvement in scars and texture. This supports the stem cell theory of adipose tissue in regenerative medicine.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / complications
  • Acne Vulgaris / pathology
  • Acne Vulgaris / therapy*
  • Adipose Tissue / transplantation*
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Cicatrix / pathology
  • Cicatrix / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / instrumentation
  • Laser Therapy / methods*
  • Lasers, Gas* / adverse effects
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult