I have seen many patients who have scars they want to get rid of. It doesn’t matter how people get these scars, whether cutting their hand accidentally on sharp metal or glass, or after surgery or a car accident. What matters is that they have them, and they don’t want them anymore. Although healing scars has always been a priority of the medical community, help for scarred tissue has usually been limited. However, the potential for scar treatments have gained publicity with recent advances in laser technology for skin and soft tissues
When lasers first were perfected for skin purposes in the 1990’s, pulse dye lasers were used to help reduce redness and smooth elevated tissue. This technique improved the appearance of scars by making them less prominent compared to normal tissue
In the 2000’s, nonablative fractionated lasers have emerged as the cutting edge for treatment of scar tiisue especially atrophic and acne scars. Jill Waibel MD, medical director of the Laser Center of Miami, Florida, has called the Fraxel laser “the biggest innovation in 20 to 30 years” in the latest issue of “Healthy Aging”.
As has been found in many other areas of aesthetic dermatology, the Fraxel type of laser technology has been a revolution as it enables the laser energy to go deeper into the skin and treat more areas of skin resulting in development of a functional new layer of skin. The Fraxel laser helps reduce color variations in older scars especially by homogenizing the color with normal tissue. The deeper penetration of the individual laser beams also stimulates collagen production which adds to the smoothing effect of the scar treatment.
While we know that the Fraxel laser works well on many different types of scars, including previously difficult to treat stretch marks and acne scars, we still do not fully understand all of the ways that the skin repair process works. Research and development continues including the use of other types of treatment such as stem cells and medications with the Fraxel laser.
In my time of experience with Fraxel at Maine Laser Skin Care, I have been and continue to be impressed in its usefulness for previously untreatable scars. Of course, no treatment will make scars completely disappear or become like normal tissue in all ways. I tell all patients who are being treated for scars to be cautiously optimistic in that a 30-50% improvement in their scars is a success and beats all other therapies available. I will continue to keep all of you up-to-date in other new research as it becomes available.
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