A double-blind, randomized, multicenter, controlled trial of suspended polymethylmethacrylate microspheres for the correction of atrophic facial acne scars

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Jul;71(1):77-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2014.02.034. Epub 2014 Apr 13.


Background: Acne scarring remains a stubborn clinical problem. Few treatments have been shown to be definitely effective for this problem. Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) microspheres in collagen (ArteFill, Suneva Medical Inc, Santa Barbara, CA) have shown long-term benefit for nasolabial fold treatment. A pilot study has shown benefit for PMMA-collagen in atrophic acne scarring.

Objective: We sought to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of PMMA-collagen for acne scarring in a controlled, blinded trial.

Methods: Subjects with at least 4 moderate to severe rolling, atrophic scars randomly received PMMA-collagen or saline injections. Subjects underwent up to 2 injection sessions and were followed up for 6 months. Efficacy was assessed using a validated rating scale for each scar.

Results: In all, 147 subjects underwent injections. Success was achieved by 64% of those treated with PMMA-collagen compared with 33% of control subjects (P = .0005). The treatment showed excellent safety with generally mild, reversible adverse events. No significant differences in efficacy or safety were noted between genders, for darker skin types, or in older age groups.

Limitations: Subjects were followed up for only 6 months.

Conclusion: PMMA-collagen demonstrates substantial effectiveness in the treatment of atrophic acne scars of the face while maintaining an excellent safety profile. Further follow-up should be undertaken to demonstrate longer-term benefit and safety.

Keywords: acne; acne scars; collagen; dermal filler; microspheres; polymethylmethacrylate.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / complications*
  • Adult
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Cicatrix / pathology
  • Cicatrix / therapy*
  • Collagen / administration & dosage*
  • Cosmetic Techniques
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Face / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microspheres
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymethyl Methacrylate / administration & dosage*


  • ArteFill
  • Collagen
  • Polymethyl Methacrylate