Clinical Trial of Dual Treatment with an Ablative Fractional Laser and a Nonablative Laser for the Treatment of Acne Scars in Asian Patients


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Sangeun Kim, MD, Nogosan-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea 57-5, or e-mail:


BACKGROUND Many methods have been proposed for the treatment of acne scars, with variable cosmetic results. Nonablative skin resurfacing is one method that has been proposed. Because of a need for more noticeable clinical improvements, the ablative fractional laser was recently introduced.

OBJECTIVE To reduce complications and improve the results of ablative fractional laser resurfacing by combining this treatment of acne scars with nonablative lasers.

METHODS A series of 20 patients (skin phototypes IV–V) with atrophic facial acne scars were randomly divided into two groups that received three successive monthly treatments with an ablative fractional laser using high (group A) and low (group B) energy on one facial half and an ablative fractional laser with low energy plus a nonablative resurfacing laser on the other facial half. Patients were evaluated using digital photography at each treatment visit and at 3 months postoperatively. Clinical assessment scores were determined at each treatment session and follow-up visit.

RESULTS Although the use of the ablative fractional laser with high energy resulted in an improvement in patients' acne scars, the combination of ablative fractional laser resurfacing and nonablative laser resurfacing yielded the best results, as assessed in photographs as well as by the overall appearance of the acne scars. With the combination method, fewer complications were observed.