Laser Scar Therapy
Scars are an inevitability when skin is cut from trauma or from surgery, but cutting edge treatments can minimize their appearance.
- Red Scars
Nd:YAG vascular laser treatments and Laser Genesis treatments are a virtually painless no-downtime approach that will fade the redness significantly.
- These treatments can also soften hardened scar tissue, and can be performed safely on any skin tone.
- Depending on the type of redness and the sensitivity of the scar, numbing cream may be applied prior to the procedure.
- Dr. Sherber will then tailor the treatment to the type of scar tissue in order to ensure safe and effective results. Incremental improvement should occur with each treatment, and several sessions are needed depending on the degree of redness being targeted.
- Thickened Scars
For ropey scars, fractionated ablative lasers can deliver marked improvement in scar texture and contour. Dr. Sherber prefers the Pearl Fractional for this, as its YSGG wavelength is an optimized wavelength in between CO2 and Erbium lasers. It makes a tiny customizable grid on the skin that delivers energy to the collagen layer (the dermis)and triggers a controlled healing response that replaces abnormal collagen in the scar tissue with more normal collagen so that the scar will become more similar to normal skin.
For scars that are less dramatically thick, Dr. Sherber may use the Perméa laser to enhance absorption of topical treatments to soften the scar. Steroid-impregnated tape may be prescribed to use as an adjunct to these treatments, or other topical prescriptions may be customized to your needs.
- Old Scars
- For more mature scars, Dr. Sherber will often work in concert with Dr. Rad. Dr. Sherber will pre-treat the area of skin around the scar with either a fractionated ablative or fractionated non-ablative laser, depending on the individual appearance of the prior scar.
- Next, Dr. Rad will remove the problematic scar tissue and create a fresh edge of healthy skin which he will close using very delicate and precise sutures.
- Then, in the following weeks Dr. Sherber will treat the healing skin with laser to promote ideal healing.
- Discolored Scars
For pigmented scars, Dr. Sherber often draws on a combination of laser treatments to increase the skin’s absorption of active ingredients – such as Perméa – followed by custom blending compounds that lighten unwanted pigmentation.
- This can be a remarkably gentle yet effective approach, particularly in patients with skin tones prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark spots in areas of skin injury such as acne, bug bites, cuts, and burns).
- No two scars are alike, and so every treatment program is customized.
The newer the scar, the more rapidly it will respond to treatment since that skin is already in a remodeling phase. Older scars may require numerous sessions in order to respond and may benefit from re-excision prior to initiation of laser treatment for quicker results.
Laser treatment of scars must be ginger so as not to trigger additional scarring. It is always advisable to treat multiple times and build the intensity over time than to risk overtreating.
Preparing for Treatment
- The areas to be treated should not be suntanned or self-tanned.
- Surgical scars should not be treated with laser before 2 weeks post-operatively, and any surface sutures must be removed before treatment.
What to Expect
- Depending on the size and site of the scar, the area to be treated may be numbed prior to treatment with injected anesthesia or with topical numbing cream.
- Redness is common after most types of laser treatment, and may last for hours to days depending on the depth of the treatment.
Pinpoint bleeding is usual post-treatment with fractionated ablative Pearl Fractional treatments, and the scar will require several days of special care as it heals. Redness in the treated area can persist for several weeks, depending on each patient’s skin type, and several treatments are generally needed in order to achieve the desired result.
- Keeping the treated area sun protected is very important, and you may be advised to use a topical silicone gel post-treatment depending on the type of scar being treated.
- Scar massage with richly emollient moisturizers can be helpful in softening scar tissue, and topical silicone gels or silicone sheeting can prevent or improve hypertrophic scars.