Can fraxel laser be used to treat abdominoplasty scars? Is there another type of laser that will diminish the scar? What is the best time frame for scar treatment after surgery?
Can Fraxel Laser Remove Surgical Scars?
Doctor Answers 4
Fraxel Laser and Surgical Scars
Fraxel laser can certainly help improve the appearance of scars. Fraxel Dual, for example, has helped many patients with acne scarring. Scar tissue is basically made of the same collagen fibers that are present throughout your skin. However, these fibers have a very disorganized configuration which is why scar tissue is thicker than the rest of your skin.
Fraxel Dual applies specific levels of laser energy which converts to heat energy beneath the skin at the dermal layer. This heat causes the skin to react as if it were injured. And it will produce new collagen fibers to heal itself from this deliberate wounding process.
The new collagen fibers can override the old fibers to some extent, but not completely eliminate them. Overall results depend on how big and thick the scar tissue is.
Have a question? Ask a doctor
Fraxel Laser Can Remove Surgical Scars
Options to Improve the Appearance of Scars
Yes, the Fraxel laser can be used to treat scars. The Fraxel laser does not remove scars, because scars are permanent.
Scars are visible because of color and/or surface texture changes compared to the surrounding skin. Scar treatments or revisions are very individualized procedures that depend upon the appearance, characteristics, and size of the scar. Unfortunately, there are no medical or surgical treatments to remove scars completely.
Abdominoplasty scars that are less desirable may show one or more of the following characteristics: widened and raised, widened and thinned, pink color, visible capillaries, or pigmented.
Corticosteroid injections can be utilized to treat raised (hypertrophic) scars. Multiple injection sessions are usually required. This will help flatten and soften the scar but will not change the scar width.
If the scar is pink in color, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL™) or a pulsed dye laser may help to lighten that coloration. But these treatments do nothing for the surface texture.
In patients with darker skin colorations, scars may show hyperpigmentation. This pigmentation has resulted from the inflammation associated with the surgery and healing process. Scars that are darkened (hyperpigmented) are often difficult to treat. Many times the only way to effectively remove the pigment from a scar is to excise the entire scar. But there will be a risk that the pigmentation may occur again in the new scar. Pre- and post-treatment with skin care products (bleachers, retinol, etc.) may help to reduce recurrent hyperpigmentation.
Lasers are used more commonly to address textural issues and provide smoothing and blending. Lasers work best when textural issues are less severe. Some lasers may not be used on all skin types; and laser resurfacing may be more risky, or not possible, in individuals who have dark skin. The Fraxel laser is one of the better options for treating scars and works well for acne scars and post-surgical scars. The Fraxel can be utilized for all skin types with proper adjustments. Lasers treatments should probably be delayed until after 90 days post-op. Fraxel treatments could then be performed monthly as needed.
And there are times when it may just be better to re-excise the entire scar. Abdominoplasty scars are subjected to significant tension following surgery. This tension may account for some of the undesirable healing. Once a scar has fully matured, scar excision/revision may produce a more acceptable result because the tissues have relaxed
Combining the above treatments may improve results.
Your surgeon should be able to guide you with helpful suggestions and recommendations.
Best wishes, Ken Dembny
You might also like...
Can Fraxel Laser Remove Surgical Scars?
I like to be careful with words like "remove" especially with scars. Fraxel may help soften this scar but I wouldn't expect a great deal of improvement. If the scar is raised I would reccomend injecting with kenalog. If it is red, I would treat with pulsed dye laser.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.