Acne scars are significantly improved after combined ablative fractional carbon dioxide laser (FCL) and microneedle fractional radiofrequency (FmRF) resurfacing, with few adverse effects and little pain, according to study results recently published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

This single-center, retrospective study included 72 participants treated with FCL+FmRF between 2014 and 2016. Blinded researchers scored pretreatment and posttreatment photographs of participants using the Echelle d’Evaluation Clinique des Cicatrices d’Acné (ECCA) scale. Researchers evaluated patient satisfaction via telephone interviews conducted ≥1 month after the final treatment and scored the results using the 5-point Likert-type scale. They used Fisher’s exact and chi-squared tests to compare categorical data and used the Wilcoxon test and the Mann-Whitney U test to analyze repetitive measurements and quantitative data, respectively.

A comparison of pretreatment and posttreatment acne scars showed significant improvement in median ECCA scores (90; 95% CI, 35-210 vs 50; 95% CI, 20-115], respectively; P <.001). Further comparison of subgroups, including male and female, satisfied and very satisfied, and skin types II and III-IV, also showed significant decreases in ECCA scores (P <.001). Moreover, participants who were very satisfied with treatment showed a significantly higher change from pretreatment scores compared with participants who were satisfied, and the degree of change in ECCA scores was directly related to the number of treatment sessions. Normal daily activities were resumed within 7 to 10 days after the final treatment, with 45.8% of participants reporting being very satisfied and 44.4% reporting being satisfied.

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Limitations to this study include the retrospective, single-center design and consequent lack of causality and generalizability and only a single assessment at month 1.

The study researchers concluded that “our findings indicate association of FCL+FmRF treatment for acne scars with significantly improved ECCA scores, mild pain experience during treatment, and low rate of temporary side effects despite usage of high‐energy FLC dose and five sessions of treatment on average. More remarkable improvement in ECCA scores during treatment seems to be associated with higher patient satisfaction and to be more likely in patients with darker skin types. Additional larger scale and longer‐term prospective studies are needed to justify the efficacy of FCL+FmRF combination treatment in patients with acne scars.”

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Reference

Tatlıparmak A, Aksoy B, Shishehgarkhaneh LR, Gökdemir G, Koç E. Use of combined fractional carbon dioxide laser and fractional microneedle radiofrequency for the treatment of acne scars: a retrospective analysis of 1-month treatment outcome on scar severity and patient satisfaction [published online May 29, 2019]. J Cosmet Dermatol. doi: 10.1111/jocd.13004