A “fractional” laser basically splits up a beam of laser light into several hundred smaller spots when the laser hits the skin. This creates a “pixilated” area of ablation. This is a very intelligent way of delivery as the normal skin between the ablated areas allow faster healing and recovery.
Fractional Lasers are the latest buzz in Aesthetic Medicine. Any laser that has come along in the past is being fractionated. From Erbiums to CO2, from Nd-Yags to Diodes, and from highly ablative to completely not ablative one.
There are also fractional devices that non-lasers. Like the Fractional RF and micro-focused ultrasound. The latter is the Superficial Ulthera, which effectively treats wrinkles and acne scars without the downtime associated with lasers that break skin.
Therefore the fractional CO2 laser is more useful than any other laser, by far, in the treatment of acne scars. Not only that, it has skin-tightening and general rejuvenation benefits too.
There are of course many types of acne scars. Some are pretty shallow like a rolling hilly terrain. Others are like a crater (box cart scars) or like holes chiseled into skin by an ice-pick (ice-pick scars). The shallow scars respond very well and will lighten almost completely after 3 treatments of the Fractional CO2.
The deeper ones may lighten somewhat – about 40% to 50% – after 3 treatments. Ice-pick scars are the hardest to treat.