• acne scar;
  • photodamage;
  • CO2 laser;
  • fractional photothermolysis;
  • skin resurfacing;
  • fractional deep dermal ablation;
  • ablative resurfacing


Background and Objective

Recently, there has been much debate regarding the long-term efficacy of fractional resurfacing devices. While pulsed CO2 laser resurfacing is considered a highly effective treatment, fractionated resurfacing is a newer modality and its long-term efficacy has yet to be assessed. We report the long-term outcomes of subjects previously treated with fractional CO2 resurfacing for photodamaged skin and acne scars.

Study Design/Materials and Methods

Ten subjects from our previous studies who received fractional resurfacing for the treatment of acne scarring and photodamage returned for long-term follow-up visits at 1 and 2 years, respectively. Investigators graded maintenance of improvement on a quartile scale based on clinical photography.


Subjects maintained 74% of their overall improvement at their long-term visits compared to 3-month follow-up visits. While clinical improvement was maintained long-term, the results were not as remarkable as those seen at 3-month visits. The authors speculate that results seen at 3 months may be enhanced by persistent inflammatory changes, as evidenced by heat shock protein 47 activity and ongoing collagen remodeling seen in previous histologic studies. Relaxation of tightening is to be expected with any procedure along with the natural progression of aging. However, patient satisfaction was upheld long-term.


Fractional CO2 laser resurfacing does have long-term efficacy and persistence of improvement of acne scarring and photodamage compared to baseline. However, additional treatments may be necessary to enhance long-term results. Lasers Surg. Med. 42:168–170, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.