Microneedle fractional radiofrequency (MFR) and non-ablative 1565 nm fractional laser (NAFL) have recently been introduced as new techniques to address the growing concern of facial photoaging. In this prospective randomized split-face study, we wanted to compare the safety and efficacy of MFR with that of NAFL for the treatment of facial photoaging in Asian patients. Fifteen healthy Chinese patients were enrolled for this randomized split-face study. Each patient underwent three sessions of treatment with MFR and NAFL on opposite sides of their face, one month apart. A blinded outcome assessment of the photoaging severity was performed by two independent plastic surgeons on a 5-point visual analogue scale (VAS, 0-4). Patient satisfaction was also scored based on a 5-point VAS (0 = dissatisfaction, 4 = extremely satisfied). Sagging of the nasolabial groove was evaluated using the Antera 3D camera, facial wrinkles and pores using the VISIA skin analysis system. Any adverse events that occurred during the study were also evaluated. Based on the VAS scores and results from the Antera 3D and VISIA, it was noted that there was a significant improvement in facial skin laxity, wrinkles, and pores, and lesser sagging of the nasolabial groove on both the MFR and NAFL sides of the face, compared with that of the baseline. Most patients were satisfied with the treatment and reported tolerable pain and crusting. Although no significant differences were observed between the MFR and NAFL treatments, the NAFL treatment resulted in a shorter downtime(4.56 ± 2.72d) than the MFR treatment(6.96 ± 3.27d). This study confirms the efficacy of MFR and NAFL treatments for facial skin rejuvenation in Asian patients. Furthermore, the therapies were found to be safe and well-tolerated. Our findings suggest that NAFL may be a more convenient treatment modality for facial photoaging because of its shorter downtime. However, sagging of the nasolabial groove was more improved by the MFR treatment than by the NAFL treatment.
Keywords: Microneedle fractional radiofrequency; facial photoaging; facial rejuvenation; non-ablative fractional laser.