Will A Laser Make My Scars Look Better?

Q: I was in a car accident several years ago and had some bad lacerations to my face. While they were sutured up by a plastic surgeon thaty same day, they have turned into some bad-looking scars. I would really like them to look a lot better. I know they can not be made to go completely away but do you think laser surgery would help? Thanks for your time.

A: The use of lasers in scar revision is useful but largely over rated. Lasers are not a magic tool for erasing scars or other skin imperfections. The public’s perception of that highly desirous quality is a function of adventurous marketing and the ‘Star Wars’ effect which still persists even today.

Most scars are a full-thickness skin injury, meaning what you see on the outside exists the whole way through the skin. Lasers are a partial-thickness skin removing tool. As a result, it is easy to see why a laser can not remove a scar. The problem and the solution are not well-matched.

Lasers have a role is scar revision but it is more for creating a smoothing effect and often is used after other scar treatments are done. The most common scar treatment is surgical excision, cutting out the scar (full-thickness) and making the scar line thinner or changing the way the scar line runs.

Because of their more superficial effect, lasers are better at removing or lessening wrinkles and other more minor skin imperfections.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis Indiana