Does number of passes per area during Fraxel restore treatment for acne scaring affect the final result? (photos)

I had my 1st Fraxel restore for acne scars. Nurse gave me oral painkillers and applied numbing cream. During the treatment she went vertically. The 2nd pass she did horizontally, and it was very painful. In total she did 2 passes, saying that she cranked up the setting on my cheecks. I was swollen. The next day I am fine, my skin is slightly tanned and has a rough texture, but I don't look like I had anything done. I am wondering if my treatment was not as effective as it should have been?

Doctor Answers 4

Fraxel acne scars

Fraxel restore laser resurfacing is the best treatment for acne scarring. The best results happen after 4-5 treatments at least. The higher percentage of skin treated per treatment will achieve faster results and also correlates with discomfort during treatment and postprocedure swelling. The laser can be set to cover the desired skin coverage and is usually 8passes.

Number of Passes For Fraxel

The typical number is 8 passes although the settings can be changed which would mean more energy per less passes. Id suggest going to a cosmetic dermatologist with experience in doing these treatments and avoid going to those less experienced.  Often for acne scars, combination treatments are needed such as microneedling or subcision or filler.   Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 167 reviews

Number of passes is not that significant when doing Fraxel

The numbers that have to do with results is joules and treatment level. Joules is related to how deep the laser goes, and treatment level is how much percent coverage you are treating. The number of passes is usually between 4 and 8.  The computer in the laser will adjust the coverage per pass, when the number of passes is picked. More passes means faster time per pass but longer overall treatment times. Also, more passes mean that the treatment will be slightly more accurate because small errors in overlapping or gaps will be less obvious. When using one laser of the Fraxel Dual, I use 6 passes, when using the 2 lasers, I use 4 passes per laser, total of 8 passes  

Steven F. Weiner, MD
Panama City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Fraxel and Acne Scars

Fraxel is an amazing laser for acne scars.  The treatment settings depend both on the passes and the energy or joules that are used.  It is this combination based on your scars and your skin type that will yield the treatment results.  For the best results please consult a board certified dermatologist who has experience with Fraxel and scar treatments.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.