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Comparison of Nonablative Fractional Erbium Laser 1,340 nm and Microneedling for the Treatment of Atrophic Acne Scars: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Cachafeiro, Thaís MD, ScM; Escobar, Gabriela MD, ScM; Maldonado, Gabriela MD, ScM; Cestari, Tania MD, PhD; Corleta, Oly MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000000597
Original Article

BACKGROUND The efficacy and safety of nonablative fractional laser for acne scars treatment has been described in several studies. Recently, microneedling treatment has been showing promising results with lower costs, quick healing time, and low risk of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).

OBJECTIVE To compare the effectiveness and safety of nonablative fractional erbium laser 1,340 nm and microneedling for the treatment of facial atrophic acne scars.

METHODS Forty-six patients with atrophic facial acne scars were randomized to microneedling and laser groups, receiving 3 sessions performed monthly. Two blinded dermatologists applied the validated “Quantitative Global Grading System for Postacne Scarring” scale, before, 2 months, and 6 months after the treatment. Side effects were recorded at each follow-up visit and patient's satisfaction was evaluated.

RESULTS Both groups showed a significant improvement, and there was no statistically significant difference between results of both therapies (p = .264). The erythema after each session was longer in the laser group and 13.6% subjects experienced PIH. No PIH was observed in the microneedling group.

CONCLUSION This study shows that both nonablative fractional laser 1,340 nm and microneedling are comparable and effective in the treatment of atrophic acne scars. Microneedling is well tolerated, with fewer side effects and lower down time.

*Department of Dermatology, Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre and Ambulatory of Sanitary Dermatology of Porto Alegre, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Brazil;

Department of Dermatology, Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Brazil;

Department of Dermatology, Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre, Brazil;

§Department of Surgery, Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Brazil

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Thaís Cachafeiro, MD, 2350 Ramiro Barcelos St., Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil 90035-903, or e-mail: thaishofmann@gmail.com

Supported by Etheria/Industra Platform, Dr. Roller, and DermoMax, all of which have provided the devices used in this study.

© 2016 by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Inc. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.
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