Laser Scar Removal Surgery
For shallower and less severe scars and imperfections, Laser Scar Removal is the preferred choice for patients and physicians alike
Laser Scar treatment has been gaining a great deal of interest, as it can be a very effective way of reducing the appearance of scarring, in a safe and minimally-invasive way.
Scars can severely affect your quality of life, and at the worst can cause emotional and physical stress, so many people are understandably keen to get treatment.
The first thing for a prospective patient to understand is that different types of scars require different sorts of treatment. You will be aware that some scars, known as hypertrophic scars, are raised from the surface of the skin, while other scars may be atrophic, or deep scars. Acne scars are another common type of scar that many people want to have removed or reduced, and in fact stretchmarks are also a kind of scar.
Only some of these scars are suitable for Laser Treatment.
So, before deciding what treatment is right for your particular scars, you should speak to an scar removal expert, who will be able to advise you what method of scar removal will work best for you, and what kind of results you can realistically expect.
Generally-speaking, if your scars are those associated with acne or stretchmarks, Laser Scar Removal can have some great results, flattening the scarring, and reducing the coloration.
What Types of Scars Can Laser Scar Removal Reduce Effectively?
Laser Scar Removal can make quite dramatic improvements to stretchmarks, scars left by removed tattoos, acne scars, and other, lighter scars.
For atrophied scars, where the scar is deep and sunken, a better course of treatment maybe to use dermal fillers injected underneath the scar, to raise it to the same level as the rest of the skin, while raised or hypertrophic scars may respond better to dermabrasion.
What Are the Options?
Most surgeons and dermatologists alike use Fractionated lasers, nowadays.
While different types of laser treatment have been used, and continue to be used, the advantage of Fractionated Laser Treatment is that it is less aggressive, and doesn’t burn the skin in the same way as the old lasers used to.
Instead it places hundreds of tiny holes in the skin, but these will be surrounded by normal, untreated, and therefore undamaged, skin.
The idea behind this is that the undamaged skin helps with the healing of those areas being treated. The result of this is that recovery is much faster, with no down-time to speak of.
CO2 and ER:YAG are the fractionated lasers most suited to acne scarring, while Pulsed Dye Laser Treatments are best for hypertrophic, or raised scars.
How Does It Compare to Dermabrasion and Chemical Peeling?
Different treatments continue to have benefits in different circumstances. Also, in some instances, a combination of approaches may be used. However, neither dermabrasion nor chemical peeling have quite so little “down-time” as Laser Scar Removal. With Dermabrasion, particularly, some patients take up to a month off work, as this is how long it can be before the redness subsides, and the scabs fall off!
What Results Can I Expect?
Laser Scar Removal would be better termed “Laser Scar Reduction”, as its results are unlikely to be a complete elimination of the scar. Nonetheless, in most cases, patients have reported a 50% to 80% reduction in their scars as a result of this treatment. The scar should be flatter, while the coloration should be closer to that of the surrounding skin.
The results are what is termed “progressive”, meaning that you will not see the results straightaway, and to see the full results you should expect to wait several months.
Most patients feel that the treatment is very worthwhile, and experience an increased self-confidence.
Generally, those that are not pleased with the results are those whose expectations were set too high, and their clinic did not try to manage their expectations, perhaps through fear of losing a prospective patient.
However, most clinics will agree that the best patient is one who is well-informed.
Is Laser Scar Removal Painful?
The discomfort experienced will depend partly on the type of lasers used, on the sensitivity of the area being treated, and also on the degree of scarring.
For smaller areas with minor scarring, you should not need any anesthesia; the sensation will more of a slight burning. Larger areas, or worse scarring will probably require a topical anaesthetic to numb the general area.
Is It Safe? Or Are There Some Risks?
Laser Scar Removal really is very safe. However there is a slight chance of complications. When complications occur, the problem is generally either hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation, where the colour difference between the scar and the surrounding skin is actually increased rather than decreased. This is very rare, but as a patient it is important to understand that it is a possibility, especially with darker-skinned patients.
Infection and allergic reactions are other occasional side effects.
How Many Sessions of Laser Treatment Will I Need?
How many sessions will be required really depends on how severe the problem is, along with what degree of an improvement. Generally one session is enough to see some improvement, but most patients will get more.
Remember, too, that as the full effects will not be seen for some months after treatment, it will be difficult for even your doctor to estimate how many sessions will be desirable for the best results.
How Long Does Recovery Take?
Happily for patients, since the procedure is non-invasive, there is virtually no recovery time after treatment, and you will be able to resume your normal activities immediately. It is fair to expect some scabbing as well as some redness, but nothing too severe.
One thing to bear in mind is that the treatment will leave fresh, new skin exposed. This will be very vulnerable to exposure to the sun, so use of sun-block will be recommended while healing takes place.
How Much Does Laser Scar Removal Cost?
Realistically, due to the wide variety of possible scars and scarring issues, combined with the varying costs of different sorts of laser treatments, and the different amount of sessions that may be required, it is impossible to give even a ball park figure to the cost of Laser Scar Removal.
To complicate matters further, prices will be different from state-to-state, from country-to-country, as well as depending on the reputation and exclusivity of the clinic and the expertise of the surgeon or dermatologist. Basically, nobody is going to be able to give you a quote until they examine you.
Nonetheless, it is possible to say that there are some countries that will provide this kind of treatment at far lower prices than others. Travelling to the Czech Republic, India, Mexico or the Dominican Republic for treatments will probably cost you far less than it would in your home country.