Treatment of Facial Acne Scarring With Fractional Carbon Dioxide Laser in Asians, a Retrospective Analysis of Efficacy and Complications

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Fractional carbon dioxide (CO2) laser resurfacing unites the idea of fractional photothermolysis with an ablative 10,600-nm wavelength. This technology permits effective treatment of acne scarring, with shorter recovery and a decreased side effect profile as compared to traditional CO2 laser resurfacing.


The aims of this study were to study the efficacy and safety of fractional CO2 laser for acne scars in Asian patients.


This was a retrospective study of all patients treated with the fractional CO2 laser for facial acne scarring between January 2, 2008, and December 31, 2010, at the National Skin Centre, Singapore. Data reviewed included sex, age, and severity of acne, type of scarring, previous treatment history, frequency of treatments, adverse events, and efficacy.


Two hundred and ten fractional CO2 laser treatments for facial acne scars were performed on 107 patients (65 men and 42 women, Fitzpatrick skin Types II to V) during the study period. Sixteen of 107 patients experienced (15.0%) adverse events. The adverse events include hyperpigmentation (6.4%), blistering (4.0%), crusting (2.9%), aggravation of inflammatory acne lesions (1.7%), and scarring (0.6%). There were no reported side effects of hypopigmentation, bacterial or viral infection. Follow-up results after final laser treatment showed that 66.4% of patients reported Grade 1 skin texture improvement, that is, <25% (n = 71); 30.0% had Grade 2 improvement, that is, 25% to 50% improvement (n = 31); 3.7% had Grade 3 improvement, that is, 51% to 75% improvement (n = 4); and 0.9% had Grade 4 improvement, that is, >75% improvement (n = 1).


The study demonstrated the efficacy and safety of a fractional CO2 laser in the treatment of acne scars in Asian. Future studies are required to establish optimum treatment parameters and achieve better clinical results.

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