Will Laser Resurfacing Make My Scar Look Better?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I had scar revision on my knee area. The surgery helped my scar to look thinner but there is still this image of a straight line cut. I had my operation last September 5, 2012. I am planning to undergo laser treatment for my scar. Can I have it done by December of same year?

A: While you certainly can treat your scar revision by laser resurfacing in the early months after a scar revision, I would not expect it to change how it looks. (like a residual straight line cut) Laser resurfacing is almost always perceived as if it is a ‘magic eraser’ but that is not how it works at all. Lasers do not have the capability to wipe away scars and often are overused and overhyped.

A scar, no matter how thin, is a full-thickness layer (most of the time) of abnormal tissue that is largely white and unpigmented tissue. Laser resurfacing removes a layer of the top of the scar but doing so will only reveal more of the scar. Only in the most superficial of scars can laser resurfacing reveal more normal underlying dermis which then can re-epithelize. Thus in full-thickness scars no improvement will be seen. And after surgical scar excision, your scar is most certainly full-thickness.

Dr. Barry Eppley