Comparison of Fractional Micro-Plasma Radiofrequency and Fractional Microneedle Radiofrequency for the Treatment of Atrophic Acne Scars: A Pilot Randomized Split-Face Clinical Study in China

Ting Lan, Li Tang, Aiai Xia, Michael R. Hamblin, Dan Jian, Rui Yin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background and Objective: Both fractional micro-plasma radiofrequency (RF) and fractional microneedle RF are novel devices that can be applied for the treatment of atrophic acne scars, and they have both been proved to be effective. To compare the clinical effectiveness and adverse reactions of fractional micro-plasma RF and fractional microneedle RF for the therapy of facial atrophic acne scars in a randomized split-face study. Study Design/Materials and Methods: Sixty patients with facial atrophic acne scars received three applications at 2-month intervals in a randomized split-face study using fractional micro-plasma RF and fractional microneedle RF on different sides of the face. Three independent dermatologists evaluated the improvement in acne scars using the ECCA grading scale (Echelle d'Evaluation Clinique des Cicatrices d'Acné) by comparing the digital images and graded the improvement in the acne scars. Patients were asked to provide a self-evaluation of satisfaction for efficacy and safety. Adverse effects were also recorded after each treatment. Results: In total sixty patients completed the entire study. A significant improvement was observed in the appearance of acne scars, and the mean ECCA scores improved significantly after both modalities. The mean decrease in ECCA scores from the baseline was significantly more pronounced in fractional micro-plasma RF as compared with fractional microneedle RF (41.33 ± 20.19 vs 32.17 ± 17.35; P < 0.05). The degree of clinical improvement was also significantly better for fractional micro-plasma RF. Pain, erythema, and swelling were observed in all patients after both treatments. The pain was more intense during micro-plasma RF treatment (P = 0.000), and the duration of pain and erythema were longer than with fractional microneedle RF (P = 0.000). Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) was observed in one patient on the fractional micro-plasma RF side while no PIH was observed on the fractional microneedle RF side. No infections or worsening of scarring was observed with either treatment. No subject was dissatisfied with the efficacy of either device. Rolling scars tended to respond better to fractional micro-plasma RF treatment compared with fractional microneedle RF (P = 0.000). Conclusions: Both fractional micro-plasma RF and fractional microneedle RF are effective and safe methods for improving atrophic acne scars. Fractional micro-plasma RF is significantly more effective for atrophic acne scars, especially for rolling scars. However, fractional microneedle RF has fewer side effects plus shorter downtime, and patients are more comfortable after the treatment. Lasers Surg. Med.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)906-913
Number of pages8
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Volume53
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

Keywords

  • acne scar
  • fractional
  • micro-plasma
  • microneedle
  • radiofrequency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology

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