When Is A Good Time For Scar Revision With Lasers?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I got a scar on my wrist due to a traumatic injury. It has left a mark in the direction of the injury where the surrounding area seems to be darker than the other parts of the skin, upon bending my wrist, a white sheen is observed with mild indentation observable. The darker surrounding I mentioned seem to be coming from the missing skin and dent in rather than hyper-pigmentation? Is there any treatment available for this? The scar is still quite visible right now at the 10th week. I have been hearing that one should wait for 3 to 6 months before undergoing any treatment so as to see how the scar heals up first? Is that true? What is the downtime involved per treatment and how many treatments would be required for my case based on your experience? I am a little skeptical as to how the outcome would be like since the laser results I see are usually from tattoo removals and trauma scars on the face.

A: When it comes to scar revision, regardless of whatever the treatment may be, it is important to identify what are the physical aspects that make the scar noticeable. And then based on those physical characteristics answer the question of whether more time (scar maturation) will be helpful to improve its appearance. The issues of hyperpigmentation and wound contracture at less than three months after the injury are issues in which time may well improve them. Whether they will improve to the point to your satisfaction remains to be seen. The other compelling reason to allow for further wound maturation is that there are no good treatments for these types of scar problems. Much ‘magic’ is ascribed to the use of lasers in scars but much of that for common type scars is over rated in terms of effectiveness.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana