Comparison of four different lasers for acne scars: Resurfacing and fractional lasers

Hi Jin You, Deok Woo Kim, Eul Sik Yoon, Seung Ha Park

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    46 Citations (Scopus)


    Background Acne scars are common and cause cosmetic problems. There is a multitude of treatment options for acne scars, including dermabrasion, chemical peeling, and fillers, but the advent of laser technology has greatly improved the treatment of acne scars. Although several laser systems are available, studies comparing their efficacy are limited. This study compares the results of treatments using resurfacing (carbon dioxide, CO2; erbium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet, Er:YAG) versus fractional (nonablative fractional laser, NAFL; ablative fractional laser, AFL) lasers. Methods A retrospective photographic analysis of 58 patients who underwent laser treatment for facial atrophic acne scars was performed. Clinical improvement was assessed by six blinded investigators with a scale graded from 0 to 10. Adverse events were also noted. Results Mean improvement scores of the CO2, Er:YAG, NAFL, and AFL groups were 6.0, 5.8, 2.2, and 5.2, respectively. The NAFL group showed a significantly lower score than the other groups. The mean number of treatments was significantly greater in the fractional laser groups than in the resurfacing laser groups. The resurfacing laser groups had a prolonged recovery period and high risk of complications. The Er:YAG laser caused less erythema or pigmentation compared to the CO2 laser. Conclusions Although the CO2 laser, Er:YAG laser, and AFL improved the acne scars, the CO2 laser had a greater downtime. Three consecutive AFL treatments are as effective as a single treatment with resurfacing lasers, with shorter social downtime periods and less adverse effects.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)e87-e95
    JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2016 Apr 1

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2016 British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons.


    • Ablative fractional laser
    • Acne scar
    • Laser resurfacing
    • Nonablative fractional laser

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Surgery


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