Nonablative fractional laser, microneedling comparable in treating acne scars
Both a 1,340-nm nonablative fractional erbium laser and microneedling were comparable and effective in treating atrophic acne scars, with the microneedling treatment producing fewer adverse effects, according to recently published study results.
Researchers in Brazil randomized 42 patients (21 males; mean age, 26.33 years) with atrophic facial acne scars to microneedling (Dr. Roller; MTO Importer and Distributor; 20 patients) or 1,340-nm nonablative fractional erbium laser (ProDeep, Etheria/Industra platform; 22 patients) treatments with three sessions performed monthly.
A Quantitative Global Grading System for Postacne Scarring scale was applied by two blinded dermatologists before, at 2 months and 6 months after treatment. Patients completed a questionnaire assessing their perception of improvement of scars, pain during treatment and recovery time. Adverse effects were noted.
Twenty-one patients had predominantly boxcar type scars; 18 patients had rolling like scars; and three patients had mostly ice pick scars.
There was a significant clinical and statistical improvement in the degree of acne scars in both treatment cohorts. The microneedling cohort had an initial average score of 14.9, which became 10.85 after treatment. The laser group had an initial score of 15.82, and an after-treatment score of 12.41.
Degree of pain was not significantly different between the cohorts, with averages of 5.72 for the microneedling cohort and 6.18 for the laser cohort.
The laser-treated cohort experienced longer erythema after each session. Three patients (13.6%) in the laser-treated cohort and no patients in the microneedling group experienced post-inflammatory pain.
Perception of improvement after the first treatment session was noted by 65% of patients in the microneedling cohort and 86.4% in the laser-treated cohort. All participants in both cohorts noted improvement following the second session. Degree of improvement after full treatment rated by patients on a scale of 0 to 10 was an average of 7.56 in the microneedling cohort and 7.95 in the laser cohort; however the difference was not statistically significant.
“Participants from both groups perceived clinical improvement … both treatments were also well tolerated and did not significantly affect patients’ daily activities,” the researchers concluded. “However, the microneedling technique showed a better complication profile compared to nonablative fractional laser.” – by Bruce Thiel
Disclosure: The study was supported by Etheria/Industra Platform, Dr. Roller and DermoMax, all of which provided devices used in the study.