Scars: What’s New On Treatment Menu?

I remember some years back when some one walked into my practice asking about treatment for unsightly & unwanted scars I was not very happy delivering the news there’s not much we can do to help the appearance. Utilizing intra-lesional injections, pulse dye lasers, deep peels etc. maximum we could predict up to 20-30% improvement and that was it.

Now we have entered exciting times where with the help of improved and advanced laser dermatology you no longer have to live with the unsightly scars. With advances in laser technologies particularly, fractionated ablative laser the treatment outcome for scars has improved significantly. Whether it’s a surgical scar or a scar from some sort of accident; we can improve them considerably utilizing fractionated laser skin resurfacing along with combination therapies.

Why Do Scars Develop?

Scars develop as a response to any wound or cut. As a response to injury protein-based collagen fibers are formed to mend the damage and replace the wounded skin. During healing process different elements can have an effect on scars for e.g. exposure to sun, your skin type and genetics. All of these factors play a role in how your scar is going to heal & look in the end. Once that scar has developed, most people believe they have to live with the scar for life.  Not anymore!

Lasers Can Help Reduce the Appearance of Many Types of Scars

Keloid Scarring- Raised, reddish scars that extend beyond the initial wound area and that grow over time.

Hypertrophic Scarring- Firm, raised, pink scars that remain within the initial wound area and may fade gradually over time.

Atrophic Scarring- Depressed pin-like pockets in the skin that can result from skin conditions or acne.

Contracture scars- Flat & tight scars that constrict movement, usually caused from burns.

Over the last few years there have been new lasers introduced that give excellent results in scar treatment. These are the CO2 fractional and Erbium lasers. Both give good results treating scars, whether we are talking a fresh surgical scar or a mature surgical scar, a burn scar, a keloid scar, or hypertrophic scar; we can now treat them all.

How Lasers Work to Remove Scars?

The laser beam gently vaporizes skin tissue to improve anything from wrinkles, to unsightly scars. The CO2 and Erbium fractional lasers drill small holes in the scars and cause the scars to remodel with normal tissue.

So, if you have a scar that you are not happy with you can go to your dermatologist’s office that have these devices and have your scars treated. I’ve had some amazing results treating these scars. It takes a few treatments, but using these new therapies I am seeing huge changes in scars that were previously untreatable.


RF Face Lifts

Aging is a fact of life and technology is being employed constantly to fight it in an innovative & inerrant fashion. There is new crop of skin tightening procedures sprouting every season,  with endless media campaigns and hypes it is difficult to decide what is effective and what is a mere hoax. Two widgets that are best known and have stood the test of time are: Thermage & Accent XL. While these two treatments utilize different proprietary technologies, the idea is essentially the same; they both aim to heat the deeper layer of the skin (the dermis) in order to generate a “healing response”. This healing response encourages increased collagen production and remodeling of existing collagen. Supportive underlying tissues of the skin contract, resulting in a tighter, more uplifted appearance to the skin.

Both treatments have been used with success on the face and areas of the body. Some of the most dramatic results have been seen in the area of the neck and jaw line. However, these treatments are also showing some promising results on sagging skin on the abdomen, upper arms, butt, and thighs, and seem to offer some help with diminishing the appearance of cellulite as well.

Special Advantages:

  • Unlike with ablative lasers or chemical peels, there is no peeling of the top layer of skin, and therefore the procedures are more suitable for patients with darker skin tones, because of the significantly lowered risk of pigmentation changes.
  • The cost is also considerably less than surgical face lift, and because the procedure is non-invasive (no cutting) there is usually no need to take time off from work.
  • Pain management is hardly an issue, as these procedures require the use of local anesthetic and/or over-the-counter pain-killers, Accent XL requires no anesthesia at all.

For most patients, there is no downtime following a treatment.

Non Invasive Realistic Expectations:

Keep in mind that these procedures are not meant to deliver the same results as a surgical face lift. You cannot expect to erase 15-20 years with non-invasive tissue tightening. Also important to remember is that results vary from patient to patient due to differences in skin thickness and texture, healing response, and lifestyle variables. These procedures are probably best looked at as a way for younger patients to stave off more invasive procedures, or for those patients for whom surgery is not an option.

Skin-tightening procedures seem to work best in patients who have thin faces who don’t quite yet need a facelift and want to put it off for a few years. In some cases, these procedures may have little or no discernible effect on those who are really ready for a facelift due to having very loose skin and, or those with a lot of excess facial fat. Although many patients do experience dramatic differences, there is no guarantee of a noticeable improvement.
Operator technique is of paramount importance to obtaining a good result with these procedures, so make sure to do your research regarding the experience and training of the person who will be performing your procedure. And don’t forget to get and check references!

Keep in mind that since dermal collagen remodeling takes place over time, you cannot expect to see the final result until up to six months following your final session. This means that patients may be able to expect to see some immediate results, with improvements continuing for up to six months following the procedure.