Do you have an unsightly scar that is sapping your confidence and making you self-aware? Have you tried all of the supposed “miracle scar creams” on the market only to find that nothing works? If so, it may be time to consider laser scar removal.
While lasers might sound intimidating, medical and scientific breakthroughs over the past two decades have consistently proved that they are completely safe and effective when it comes to scar revision. In fact, laser treatments for scar removal make up a large percentage of dermatological procedures.
Four Things You Must Know Before Getting Laser Scar Removal Treatment
Before diving in, there are a few things that you need to know about laser scar removal in order to help you make the best decision possible. Once you understand the treatment process, you’ll be able to move forward with confidence, taking large strides towards gaining your self-esteem back from the grasp of an embarrassing scar.
1. What Type of Scar Do You Have?
Depending on how you acquired your scar, the type of laser surgery technique used will be different. Most people don’t realize that there are many different types of scars, but all must be treated with a certain approach to minimize its appearance. Scar classifications are typically based on how you got the scar and the overall clinical appearance. Here are the most common types of scars, all of which react extremely well to laser scar removal:
Hypertrophic Scar –This is a firm, thick, raised scar that takes on a pinkish hue. This regresses and flattens out over time, but not quickly enough for some. It typically stems from a laceration, and the scar tissue is contained within the boundaries of the wound.
Keloid Scar—A Keloid scar may start out as a hypertrophic scar, but over time, the scar tissue overlaps and surpasses the wound’s boundaries. It is typically hard and grows instead of shrinks.
Atrophic Scar—These are more commonly known as “pock marks” and are tiny, depressed areas—or pockets—in the skin. Atrophic scars are most commonly caused by acne or chicken pox.
Contracture scar—Contracture scars are exactly what they sound like—tight, contracted areas of skin that are typically caused by a burn. Unfortunately, depending how deep these scars go, they can affect tissues and nerves, potentially limiting the mobility of the afflicted area.
Striae scars (stretch marks)—Caused by rapid weight gain or weight loss (often attributed to growth spurts as well), these are red or purple bands of skin that appears wrinkled or striated. These do get lighter with time, but they are hard to get rid of completely, especially on darker skin.
2. How Does Fractional Laser Scar Removal Work?
Once you know what type of scar you have, you and your skin care specialist can talk about the success rates for your particular type of scar as well as the exact procedure. Generally speaking, laser scar removal treatment has to penetrate deep through the epidermis and into the reticular dermis. This is achieved through deep energy penetration and the desired effect is a healing process that is dramatically healthier than the original process which resulted in the scar tissue’s formation.
In most cases, a series of micro-columns will be etched into the coagulated tissue, triggering a healing response that eliminates the coagulated tissue from the equation, replacing it with healthy tissue. Because the micro-columns are so small, the new, healthy tissue is able to normalize the skin pigmentation and the wound essentially starts to “fade”.
This method is called fractional non-ablative laser resurfacing and it is more effective than the traditional method of dermabrasion or surgical incision. These older methods require the top layers of skin to be sanded or blasted off, requiring anesthesia and a longer, more painful recovery period.
3. What Kind of Results can You Expect?
As with any medical or cosmetic procedure, results are going to vary based on independent variables such as the severity of the scar, type of scar, duration of scar, surrounding muscle and tissue damage and skin pigmentation. You can expect up to a 75% clinical improvement with fractional non-ablative laser procedures for scar removal.
After a few treatments, you will certainly notice a regression of scar symptoms such as discoloration, odd texturing, pliability and visibility. The results you achieve will be long-lasting and often permanent as recurrence of scarring is extremely rare.
4. What are the Side Effects of Laser Scar Removal Treatment?
With traditional full-surface ablative therapies for scar removal, side effects include oozing, crusting, infection, and hyper-pigmentation. For those treated with fractional non-ablative lasers, there will only be minor swelling and pain for a few days while the wound re-heals.
Author Bio – This guest article is written by Q Pro-team of Q Esthetics Laser Clinic, a leading provider of advanced clinical skin care, personalized cosmetic treatments in the Greater Toronto Area. To find out how laser scar removal treatment can help you gain your self-confidence back, check out www.Qesthetics.com now, you don’t live with unnecessary scarring for one second longer.