Laser Surgery for scar removal, is it worth it? If your scar is particularly bothersome to you, then you may be considering Laser Surgery. You can achieve some pretty amazing results with Laser Surgery. The acronym for Laser is Light Amplification Stimulated Emission Radiation.
Laser Scar Removal Surgery – Ablative
For Laser Resurfacing or Laser Surgery there are two methods. Let’s first discuss the Ablative procedure. It is the more invasive procedure of the two. The laser removes the outer layers of the skin. Laser resurfacing uses a laser to send out brief pulses of high-energy light that are absorbed by water and substances in the skin. The heat energy from the laser vaporizes thin sections of skin, layer by layer. New, fresher skin grows over the treated area resulting in an improved appearance. The procedure also heats the layers underneath to promote collagen production, which stimulates skin in the treatment area to heal in a smoother, more even appearance.
It works most effectively on superficial scars, acne scars, surgery scars and scars caused by trauma.
You may be given a sedative before the procedure. Also, a topical anesthetic is given. During the procedure, it may burn and sting. Wet towels are placed around the treatment area to absorb excess laser pulses. The laser will be passed over the skin several times. In between the passes, the scar will be wiped with water or saline solution to cool the skin. Little to no bleeding occurs in most cases. Your skin will be red afterwards.
Once the treatment is complete, the area is covered with a clean dressing or ointment. The healing time is generally between 10-21 days. The long downtime should be given consideration before deciding on this procedure. If your schedule does not allow for this type of downtime, this may not be the best option for you. As with any surgery, there are risks associated with this procedure. Some of those potential risks are pain, swelling, bleeding, scarring, discoloration and infection. Before you consider Laser Resurfacing, you should have a consultation with your surgeon to discuss any and all concerns you may have. This will include potential risks and the expectations.
The cost of Ablative Laser Resurfacing is generally between $1750 – $2300.
Laser Light Therapy – Non-Ablative
Laser/light therapy is a non-ablative treatment that uses an intense but gentle beam of light to treat scars without damaging the surrounding tissue.
Laser/light therapy offers a non-invasive method for improvement in the appearance of scars by blending the pigment with that of surrounding healthy tissue and stimulating the collagen production.
Patients may not see any significant changes until a few weeks after the surgery. Other post-procedure issues include:
- Treated area may be pink or red for four to eight hours after the treatment.
- A slight stinging sensation, similar to a mild sunburn in the treated area. This sensation usually subsides within four to six hours. Cool packs may be applied to reduce the sensation.
- Mild swelling in the treatment area that usually goes away within a few days.
Possible risks include pain, swelling, discoloration, bleeding and infection.
There is little to no down time with non-ablative laser therapy. This may be the better option for you if you cannot afford much downtime.
During a consultation with the surgeon, you would discuss potential risks and the expected outcome.
The average cost for Laser Therapy is about $1,200.
We know every scar issue is different. Surgery is not for everyone. That is why a consultation with your surgeon is a very important part of the process. Make sure you have a list of any concerns when you meet with the surgeon. Some information in this article was provided by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. For more information please visit their website at asds.net