Background: An unfortunate consequence of severe acne is scarring, which can have serious psychosocial consequences. Available methods for treating acne scars have varying degrees of effectiveness.
Objective: This nonrandomized, retrospective pilot study assessed the safety and effectiveness of combining microfocused ultrasound with visualization (MFU-V; Ultherapy®) and a calcium hydroxylapatite dermal filler (CaHA; Radiesse®) for treating atrophic acne scars.
Methods: Healthy subjects 35-55 years old with moderate-to-severe facial acne scars were enrolled. MFU-V was applied bilaterally using two transducers with focal depths of 3.0 and 1.5 mm. Using a cross-hatch pattern, 75 treatment lines were applied 2-3 mm apart. Immediately afterward, the same areas were injected with 1.5 mL of CaHA diluted with 1.5 mL of lidocaine 2% without epinephrine. Scar severity changes were assessed by two independent physicians using the Goodman Acne Scar Scale at post-treatment Day 90. Subject satisfaction was assessed with a questionnaire.
Results: Treated subjects (N = 10) achieved significant overall improvement in baseline acne scar severity (P = 0.002). When stratified by severity, a clear trend was apparent with the greatest improvement observed among subjects with severe scars. Subjects were very satisfied (n = 9) or satisfied (n = 1) with their aesthetic results. No adverse events were observed.
Conclusions: Combining MFU-V and diluted CaHA is effective for treating atrophic acne scars.
Keywords: Atrophic acne scars; calcium hydroxylapatite filler; microfocused ultrasound; pilot study.