Removing Scars with Laser Cosmetic Surgery

There are a number of reasons for scars to form. They can be the result of surgery, infection, tissue inflammation, or injuries. No matter what causes the scar to form, it is your body's way of naturally healing and replacing the damaged or lost skin.

A scar can appear anywhere on the body. In addition, the composition of scars can vary. They can be sunken, lumpy, colored, or flat. They can also be painful and itchy. Therefore, there are a number of types of lasers that can be used to help remove unsightly scars depending on the type of scar you have.

What Can Lasers Do to My Scars?

Lasers can be used to smooth lumpy scars or to flatten raised scars. This is typically achieved with resurfacing techniques with CO2 lasers. In addition, lasers can be used to remove the abnormal coloring that develops in some scars, which is usually completed with pulse dye lasers. Sometimes, scar laser treatment is used in conjunction with other treatments, such as steroid injections, in order to fully remove the appearance of the scar. In addition, special dressings and bandages may be used and it may take multiple treatments to completely rid your skin of the scar.

Types of Scars

Scars can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Those that are spoon-shaped and depressed can be improved by using laser peels to resurface the skin. In some cases, resurfacing also needs to be used along with filling. Filling agents include collagen, fat, or dermalogen. When resurfacing alone is used, you will see about a 50% improvement.

You might also experience ice-pick scars. These scars need to be punch grafted, which involves cutting out the scar and placing a plug of skin from behind your ear into the wound. Or, it may be punch elevated. This procedure involves cutting out the depressed area with a device similar to a cookie-cutter, lifting it to the appropriate level, and suturing it in place. In both cases, it may be necessary to perform resurfacing with a laser in order to smooth out the surface.

Irregular shaped scars that are jagged often generally require being cut out and stitched back closed. These scars may also require resurfacing with a laser in order to be smoothed out.

Hypertrophic scars, which are thick, raised, pink scars, are caused by an overgrowth from keloid. These can be treated with steroid injections or creams, coupled with pulsed-dye lasers to help remove the discoloring.

Deciding if Laser Scar Removal is Right for You

The exact removal procedure used to remove your scar will depend on the size, shape, texture, and color of your scar. Therefore, it is important to discuss your individual situation thoroughly with your doctor. You need to have a realistic idea of what you can expect from the surgery because there is no guarantee that your scar will be completely removed after the procedure is complete, though it will certainly be less noticeable.

In addition, the location of your scar needs to be taken into consideration. Acne scars located on the back or white scars located on any area of the body are unpredictable in how well they will respond to laser surgery. Scars on the face and hypertrophic scars, however, are far more predictable. Scars located in the convex areas of the face respond best to treatment, while scars in the temples and lateral cheeks to not benefit as much. In addition, scars on the legs are often very difficult to treat and can, in fact, become more problematic when treated with surgery.