BACKGROUND: Treatments for hypopigmented scars have shown limited efficacy and variable safety profiles. OBJECTIVE: This study evaluated the safety and efficacy of fractional resurfacing (1,550-nm Fraxel SR laser, Reliant Technologies, Mountain View, CA) for the treatment of hypopigmented scars on the face in seven patients. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Seven patients with hypopigmented scars on the face received between two and four successive treatments at 4-week intervals with the 1,550-nm Fraxel SR laser. Energy settings ranged from 7 to 20 mJ and a total density of 1,000 to 2,500 microthermal zones per square centimeter. Digital photographs were taken before each treatment and at 4 weeks after the last treatment. Independent physician clinical assessments were performed. RESULTS: Independent physician clinical assessment 4 weeks after the final Fraxel SR laser treatment revealed improvements of 51% to 75% in hypopigmentation in six of seven patients. One patient had only 26% to 50% improvement in hypopigmentation. Additionally, clinical improvements were noted in the overall texture of the treated skin. The patient's degree of satisfaction paralleled the physician's assessment of improvement. All patients reported improvement in hypopigmentation lasting greater than 3 months after the last treatment. Side effects were limited to mild pain during the treatment and mild posttreatment erythema and edema, which resolved in 2 to 4 days. CONCLUSION: Fractional resurfacing is a potentially effective modality for the treatment of hypopigmented scarring on the face. No adverse effects were observed.
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