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Nonablative Acne Scar Reduction after a Series of Treatments with a Short-Pulsed 1,064-nm Neodymium:YAG Laser

LIPPER, GRAEME, M., MD*,†; PEREZ, MARITZA, MD*,†,‡

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BACKGROUND Effective treatment of facial acne scarring presents a major challenge. Nonablative lasers and radiofrequency devices work by thermally stimulating dermal collagen remodeling, thereby softening acne scars in a minimally invasive fashion. One such laser, a 1,064-nm short-pulsed Nd:YAG, uses rapidly scanned low-energy infrared pulses to heat the dermis selectively through the normal dermal microvasculature.

OBJECTIVE In this pilot study, the safety and efficacy of a novel short-pulsed Nd:YAG laser were investigated for the treatment of moderate to severe facial acne scarring.

MATERIALS AND METHODS Nine of 10 enrolled patients with moderate to severe facial acne scarring received eight sequential 1,064-nm Nd:YAG treatments (laser parameters 14 J/cm2, 0.3 milliseconds, 5-mm spot size, 7-Hz pulse rate, 2,000 pulses per side of face). Patients were graded for the presence and severity of three scar morphologies: superficial (rolling), medium-depth (boxcar), and deep (ice pick). Outcome measures included blinded evaluation of before and after photographs by three physician observers (scar severity score) and patient self-assessment.

RESULTS Acne scarring improved in 100% of the nine patients completing the study. Scar severity scores improved by a mean of 29.36% (95% confidence interval, 16.93%–41.79%; p=.006); 89% of patients noted greater than 10% scar improvement. No treatment-related adverse events were seen.

CONCLUSION Our findings support the use of a short-pulsed, low-fluence 1,064-nm Nd:YAG laser as a safe, effective treatment for facial acne scarring. Scar improvement was noted in all treated subjects with minimal discomfort and no downtime. This protocol appears to be most effective at reducing scar depth and softening scar contours.

*Advanced Dermcare, Danbury, Connecticut

Department of Medicine, Danbury Hospital, Danbury, Connecticut

Department of Cosmetic Dermatology, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Medical Center, New York, New York

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Graeme M. Lipper, MD, Advanced Dermcare, 25 Tamarack Avenue, Danbury, CT 06811, or e-mail: cglipper@aol.com.

A laser upgrade needed for the study was provided to the authors at a reduced price.

© 2006 by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Inc.
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