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Background

A fractional erbium-doped glass 1,550-nm and a fractional bipolar radiofrequency (RF) device are effective in the treatment of atrophic acne scars.

Objective

To compare the clinical effectiveness and side effects of fractional bipolar RF with those of fractional erbium-doped glass in atrophic acne scars treatment.

Materials and Methods

Twenty Thai subjects with atrophic acne scars received three split-face monthly treatments, one side with fractional bipolar RF and the other with fractional erbium-doped glass. Three independent physicians and patients evaluated improvement in acne scars 4 weeks after the last treatment. Side effects were also recorded after each treatment.

Results

The study found significant improvement in acne scars after treatment with fractional bipolar RF and with a fractional erbium-doped glass device without a statistically significant difference between the two devices. The side effects of both devices were pain, transient facial erythema, and scab formation. The pain score with fractional erbium-doped glass was higher than that with fractional bipolar RF, but duration of scab shedding was shorter. One case had postinflammatory hyperpigmentation on only the side treated with fractional erbium-doped glass.

Conclusion

Fractional bipolar RF and fractional erbium-doped glass have similar effectiveness for the treatment of atrophic acne scars.