Comparison of a fractional microplasma radio frequency technology and carbon dioxide fractional laser for the treatment of atrophic acne scars: a randomized split-face clinical study

Dermatol Surg. 2013 Apr;39(4):559-66. doi: 10.1111/dsu.12103. Epub 2013 Feb 4.


Background: No studies have compared fractional microplasma radio frequency (RF) technology with the carbon dioxide fractional laser system (CO2 FS) in the treatment of atrophic acne scars in the same patient.

Objective: To compare the efficacy and safety of fractional microplasma RF with CO2 FS in the treatment of atrophic acne scars.

Methods and materials: Thirty-three Asian patients received three sessions of a randomized split-face treatment of fractional microplasma RF or CO2 FS.

Results: Both modalities had a roughly equivalent effect. Échelle d'Évaluation Clinique Des Cicatrices d'Acné scores were significantly lower after fractional microplasma RF (from 51.1 ± 14.2 to 22.3 ± 8.6, 56.4% improvement) and CO2 FS (from 48.8 ± 15.1 to 19.9 ± 7.9, 59.2% improvement) treatments. There was no statistically significant difference between the two therapies. Twelve subjects (36.4%) experienced postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) after 30 of 99 treatment sessions (30.3%) on the CO2 FS side and no PIH was observed on the fractional microplasma RF sides.

Conclusion: Both modalities have good effects on treating atrophic scars. PIH was not seen with the fractional microplasma RF, which might make it a better choice for patients with darker skin.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / complications*
  • Adolescent
  • Atrophy
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Cicatrix / pathology
  • Cicatrix / therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lasers, Gas / adverse effects
  • Lasers, Gas / therapeutic use*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy
  • Male
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Radio Waves / adverse effects
  • Young Adult