Innovative laser therapy is effective for treating hypertrophic scars, conclude researchers from the People’s Hospital in Shanghai, China. Their study was recently published by The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), and may boost the current demand for laser skin treatment in NYC, as more patients learn about the unexpected benefits of this novel technology. The results of their study support the use of lasers for the treatment and prevention of certain types of scars that result from improper wound healing.
Laser skin resurfacing has long been the go-to procedure for patients wanting facial rejuvenation, but without the risks and downtime associated with surgical intervention. Utilizing short, intense bursts of laser light, the treatment removes old, damaged skin one layer at a time, revealing new skin underneath. For most patients, it not only addresses imperfections like birth marks, liver spots and moles, it minimizes the appearance of wrinkles and boosts collagen production.
Those with acne or chicken pox scars may also see an improvement in the look and feel of laser-treated skin.
Acne and chicken pox scars are typically pitted, creating tiny holes in the skin. Whereas hypertrophic and keloid scars – the type examined by Chinese researchers – are both raised and formed by excess collagen deposits when the skin is healing. Keloids are more prevalent in individuals with olive or darker-toned skin, and can spread into the surrounding tissue. These unsightly scars had some improvement with laser therapy, but the hypertrophic scars had much higher success rates, according to the study.
The majority of the research evaluated the effects of laser skin treatments for hypertrophic scarring, while only three reports focused solely on keloids. More than 900 patients were evaluated pre and post laser therapy, with an estimated 70 percent for both keloid and hypertrophic scars. Patients who had their scars treated early, within one month, enjoyed positive outcomes in terms of the prevention of excessive scarring.
Two lasers offered the best results for scars: the 585/595 nm pulsed-dye laser (PDL) and the 532 nm laser. Some reports included patient rating scales that assessed redness and scar height post laser, helping researchers determine the overall results. Data gleaned from the pulsed-dye laser studies suggested repeat treatments should occur every five to six weeks, while PDL treatment was most successful in patients with lighter skin.
Lead researcher Dr. Li and his colleagues hope that cosmetic surgeons find the results of their study useful when considering laser skin resurfacing for patients with excessive scarring. While the results are promising, Dr. Li concedes that more research is needed on different non-ablative lasers in the treatment of scarring on darker skin types.
One of the main advantages of laser skin resurfacing’s targeted approach is that complications with pigmentation (both hypo and hyper) are less prevalent. And with today’s arsenal of non-ablative laser therapies, patients and their plastic surgeons can discuss which type is best suited for their skin type, sun damage, scarring and other aesthetic concerns.
To learn more about the procedure, or to schedule a laser skin treatment in NYC, we invite you to call Dr. Loeb’s Fifth Avenue office at 212-327-3700.
ASPS, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Assembles Evidence on Laser Therapy for Scar Prevention and Treatment, http://www.plasticsurgery.org/news-and-resources/lasers-deemed-highly-effective-treatment-for-excessive-scars.html
ASPS, Laser Skin Resurfacing, http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/laser-skin-resurfacing.html