Scarring varies greatly depending on the skin damage incurred, skin type, and the healing process. They can be a negative reminder of trauma, injury, surgery, and skin problems like acne. For many, the presence of visible scars is emotionally and psychologically distressing. Plus, they can also cause physical discomfort, pain, tightness, restricted motion, and itchy sensations. Thankfully, laser treatments are providing unprecedented results for patients hoping to eliminate scars.
What Is the Best Scar Treatment?
There is no single best solution for scar therapy. The treatment plan should be developed in response to the size, shape, color, and location of the scar. Now, a growing amount of research points to combination of these therapies as the most effective approach to treating scars.
Laser scar removal is one of the latest treatment options available to patients, using PDL, non-ablative and ablative equipment. There are also injections, microneedling, and a wide array of topical creams.
Combination Therapy for Scar Treatment
Moderate to severe scarring rarely improves significantly with any single treatment session. Experience has shown us that scars tend to respond better to multiple treatment sessions. Similarly, results improve noticeably when treatment methods are combined. Combination therapy means utilizing two or more different types of scar removal techniques either the same day, or in a series over time.
Types of Scars that Can be Treated with Laser & Combination Therapies
The type of scarring is one important factor in developing a successful treatment plan. Patients and clients of any age can see an improvement in the appearance, texture, and color of scars. Though mature scars, even those that are 60 years old, respond well to laser therapy. Though proponents of laser therapy recommend beginning treating the skin as soon as possible to achieve the best results.
- Surgical scars – these can usually be treated with lasers as soon as the wound has healed over and a few weeks after the stitches have been removed.
- Acne scars – respond well to laser therapy once the acne breakouts are effectively managed.
- Injuries and burns – wounds can undergo laser treatment as early as three months following a trauma, injury, or burn.
- Keloids – This type of abnormal scar response following skin trauma be treated by lasers to reduce symptoms, soften, and decrease in the vascularity of keloids.
Steroid shots and injections drugs like of 5-fluorouracil have had success in treating surgical and trauma scars. This method is often used to reduce collagen production for thick and raised marks, such as keloids or hypertrophic scars. When combined with fractional ablative laser treatment, a series of injections helps them to flatten out over time. The injections can be delivered on the same day as laser treatment to increase effectiveness.
Cosmetic injectables can also be used to reduce the appearance of pitting on the surface of scarred skin. Although these types of solutions aren’t permanent and must be periodically redone. For that reason, it’s advisable to first perform aggressive, deep laser skin resurfacing then use soft tissue filler injections as a second stage procedure to address unevenness.
This minimally invasive technique can be used to penetrate into atrophic, raised, and acne scars to help stimulate collagen production. When combined with laser therapy, topical treatments, or injections, microneedling works to decrease the thickness of the damaged skin and flatten the scar.
Radiofrequency (RF) microneedling delivers pulses of heat into targeted layers deep in the skin tissue. It stimulates collagen and elastic tissue remodeling scar tissue and making skin smoother. Multiple sessions are effective for addressing severe scars and stretch marks.
Intense pulsed light (IPL) is also being used widely by dermatologists to target the skin cells affected by acne, burns, trauma, surgery, hypertrophic scars and keloids. In combination with injectables, for example, it helps reduce discoloration and smooth out the complexion. In clinical studies, patients can achieve very satisfactory results also in terms of decreased height, redness, and hardness of their scars.
There are multiple types of devices used by dermatologists for laser scar revision. These include:
- Pulsed Dye Laser – PDL devices are particularly effective at removing the redness on and around a scar or keloid tissue. Multiple treatments are needed to get the best results.
- Non-ablative lasers – These are utilized to boost collagen formation to restore a smooth complexion over time, flattening raised scars and filling in indented scars. Multiple treatments, at the distance of about one month, are needed to get the best results. Patients can expect the affected area to exfoliate over the course of three to five days.
- Ablative lasers – These lasers are best for treating thick scars and often require fewer treatments than other laser devices. Patients can expect a recovery time of up to two weeks.
Advantages of Combination Laser Scar Therapy
In addition to better outcomes, performing treatments together provides extra advantages for patients and clients. It can help decrease the number of treatment sessions needed, reduce the overall cost of scar removal, and help make the process more comfortable.
Laser scar treatment combined with injections, for example, helps blend the appearance of scar areas with the surrounding skin. Fractional ablative lasers can be used in combination with topicals and injections to prevent excessive production as a wound heals and breakdown accumulated collagen in mature scars. Therapy that combines injections of corticosteroids and 5-FU with fractional lasers has even been shown to restore movement to those recovering from severe trauma or burns reducing contractures that inhibited mobility.
For the absolute best results with laser scar revision, every treatment plan and combination approach should be developed for each individual patient.
For more information on laser equipment for scar removal, contact Laser Service Solutions. In addition to cosmetic laser sales, we also provide rentals, pre-owned and refurbished units, maintenance service, custom and OEM laser parts, and professional repair services. Call our office at (856) 853-7555 or use our online contact form.