Non-Ablative Fractional Resurfacing of Surgical and Post-Traumatic Scars

November 2009 | Volume 8 | Issue 11 | Original Article | 998 | Copyright © November 2009

David B. Vasily MD, Mary E. Cerino RN, Ethel M. Ziselman MD, Zeina S. Tannous MD

Objective: Non-ablative, fractional lasers generate microscopic columns of coagulated tissue through the epidermis and dermis to evoke a wound healing response. In this study, the authors examined the efficacy and safety of the non-ablative 1540 nm erbium:glass fractional laser in the treatment of surgical and post-traumatic scars.

Methods: Clinical studies were conducted on a range of surgical and post-traumatic scars with a 1540 nm erbium:glass fractional laser varying energy, pulse widths, treatment passes, and number of treatments. A histological study was conducted on a postsurgical scar to follow the time course of healing post-treatment and the impact of the fractional treatment on normalization of scar tissue, as compared to baseline histology of the scar.

Results: Histologic findings demonstrated rapid re-epithelialization of the epidermis within 72 hours of treatment. Remodeling of scar tissue with renewal and reorganization of collagen fibers in the dermis was noted two weeks post-treatment. Clinical subjects, with Fitzpatrick skin types II–V, received three to seven treatments with microbeam energies up to 60 mJ/μb and five passes. Relative to baseline, 73% of treated scars improved 50% or more and 43% improved 75% or more. Side effects included mild swelling (95% of subjects), erythema (94%) and purpura (5%), which all resolved within two to three days. Downtime was minimal-to-none for all subjects.

Conclusion: These data illustrate the safety and efficacy of the 1540 nm erbium:glass fractional laser in the treatment of surgical and post-traumatic scars. Practitioners can vary energy and microbeam density in order to tailor the treatment to reflect the individual scar characteristics.