Lasers for Scars: A Review and Evidence-Based Appraisal

November 2010 | Volume 9 | Issue 11 | Original Article | 1355 | Copyright © November 2010

Mohamed L. Elsaie MD MBA and Sonal Choudhary MD

Numerous treatment modalities are available for scar management depending upon scar characteristics, age and patient expectations. The focus of this article is to review commonly used nonsurgical methods of scar revision. These include topical applications (e.g., silicone, vitamin E, pressure dressing, herbal extracts), intralesional medication (e.g., steroids, antimitotics), soft-tissue augmentation (e.g., collagen, fat), laser applications (e.g., 585-nm flashlamp-pumped pulsed dye, CO2), cryotherapy and make-up camouflage. Nonsurgical modalities can be used as prophylactic prevention of adverse scar formation, as definitive treatment, as intervening therapy until further surgical repair can be made, or as adjunctive treatment following surgical scar revision. There are several laser systems available that permit successful treatment of various types of scars. The 585-nm PDL remains the gold standard for laser treatment of hypertrophic scars and keloids. Although atrophic scars may best be treated with ablative CO2 and Er:YAG lasers, the intense interest in procedures with reduced morbidity profiles has increased the popularity of nonablative laser procedures. This paper will focus on the use of lasers for scar revision.