Does Laser Scar Removal Work?


Doctors have found lasers to be quite effective at diminishing scars, however the age of your scar is a variable.

Have you ever considered having a scar removed by a laser? Specifically, for those troubling scars that won't fade? Advances in laser scar removal technology have increased the efficacy of the treatment and the scar types treatable, including keloids and acne pockmarks.

Scarring is a part of the natural process of wound healing; it occurs when the healing is disturbed, frequently by too much or not enough collagen in the wound area. Lasers address scars in a few different ways, one of which involves removing lower layers of skin (below the surface) to stimulate the growth of new collagen; a more common procedure runs a laser along the scar itself to "vaporize" the damaged skin and expose newer layers.

Dr. Robert Burke, a Cosmetic Surgeon who performs scar removal procedures in Ann Arbor Michigan told us in a recent interview, "I consider laser therapy to be the most effective way to deal with hypertrophic scars. I often use a Flashlamp Pulsed Dye with treatments at 4-6 week intervals. The number of treatments required varies depending on the size and location of the scar."

Scars are often complex to treat and it is important that your provider have many different lasers and treatment modalities available to provide you the best possible result. Dr. Burke explained the need for multiple devices, "Where there is residual hyper pigmentation I will supplement with a Q-switched Nd:Yag laser. If the scar subsides, but is still slightly visible, I sometimes feather the surrounding skin with a fractional CO2 laser."

Before and After Photo of Scar Treated with Laser
Actual Result of Dr. David Verebelyi
Post 4 Treatments of Pulsed Dye Laser and Kenalog/5-FU Injections

It is important that patients have reasonable expectations of this procedure. Although laser scar removal is deemed effective, you probably will never achieve a total elimination of the scar, but if you're comfortable with 50 to 80% reduction in visibility, you will likely be very pleased. Also the age of the scar is an important factor. Old scars will fade, sometimes considerably, but they will never entirely disappear; for the best chances of successful laser scar removal, your scar should still be comparatively fresh--so if you think it's a scar that will bother you in the future, you should consider treating it now.