By Carl W. Soderstrom, MD, Soderstrom Skin Institute
Scars develop after normal surgery, trauma, injuries, and diseases such as acne. Scars can also form on their own, when the body’s tissues overreact to injury, trauma, or disease. Scars leave behind painful and undesirable reminders. They are visible signs that remain after a wound has healed. Many times they are an unavoidable result of injury or surgery, and their development can be unpredictable. Poor healing may contribute to scars that are obvious, including poor health and poor nutrition. Even a wound that heals well can result in a scar that affects your appearance and is unsightly or disfiguring.
Types of Scars
There are many types of scars, including keloidal scars, hypertrophic scars, contracture scars, acne scars, and stretch mark scars, with varying degrees of unpleasantness. Some may become raised, some stretch apart, and some are discolored — red or brown.
There are many treatments for scars, including further surgery, radiation (which leaves its own scars), topical treatments, injections, gels, and many other modalities that have been attempted over the years.
A major breakthrough in scar treatment is the recent development of the CO2 fractional laser. This laser sends multiple beams of light into scar tissue resulting in a disruption of the abnormal healing. The tissues then revert back to a normal healing process, frequently and very effectively reducing the scar size, smoothing it out, reducing its color, reducing the pain, and making it much more cosmetically acceptable. Extensive research and clinical studies have shown that burn scars respond very nicely to this. Trauma from incendiary bombs and explosives in war zones also cause severe and distorted contractual burn scars. Lasers have shown to be very effective in reducing the unsightliness of these scars, and actually returning them toward more normal appearance and function of the tissues in and around the scars. The CO2 fractional laser has been used on all types of other scars, including pregnancy stretch marks, post surgical scars, acne scars, trauma scars, abrasion scars, radiation scars, and burn scars, with varying degrees of success. Modern technology and science is always seeking new treatments. This one is a miraculous new breakthrough in the treatment of scars.
The First Step
As with all treatments, a scar should first be evaluated by your physician, and the risks and benefits to any type of treatment undertaken should be discussed. Please be sure to discuss all of the options with your physician before proceeding with your CO2 fractional laser scar treatment.
Carl W. Soderstrom, MD, FACP, FAAD, is the founder and medical director of Soderstrom Skin Institute. He is Board Certified in dermatology and internal medicine with over 40 years of experience. Soderstrom Skin Institute is proud to be celebrating 40 years in Central Illinois. For additional information on their laser scar treatment program, contact them toll-free at 888-970-7546. To schedule a consultation with Board Certified Dermatologist Carl W. Soderstrom, MD, at their Normal office, please call 309-268-9980. Before and after photos are available at SoderstromSkinInstitute.com.