Do you currently have a scar that you would like to get rid of? Depending on the type of scar that you are dealing with, the procedure that you choose, or the remedy that your dermatologist will prescribe, will have the highest possible chance of making it less noticeable.
Topical creams are sometimes very useful if you are trying to remove darker scars that are simply visible because of the pigmentation. Atrophic scars that are indented into your face or other areas of your body must be treated surgically, sometimes using a punch hole incision process.
Hypertrophic scars, also called keloid scars, which are large buildups of collagen above the skin can be removed through dermabrasion, chemical peels, and also through certain medical procedures such as using liquid nitrogen to freeze them off.
One of the more popular alternatives to all of these is using lasers, treatments that can easily remove many different types of scars regardless of how old they actually are. Here is what you need to know about laser scar removal, how it works, and what type of scars work best with this type of treatment.
An Overview Of Different Scars
Scars come in many different shapes and sizes, different colors, and can be above or below the surface level of the skin.
These procedures are typically administered by a skilled dermatologist that understands how to use the laser that will be used in an expert fashion, and may also involve a cosmetic surgeon to make the final repairs.
Lasers are very useful when working with keloid scars because they are able to burn off the upper layer. Scars that are deep in your skin cannot typically be treated with lasers.
Unless they are very shallow, and discolored scars are the best candidates for this type of procedure because the laser will use some form of pulsed light that will only go after the darker areas of melanin, effectively burning them off.
Different Lasers That Are Used
There are several types of lasers that have been made specifically for the process of removing scars. One of the most common are ablative lasers, consisting of erbium and CO2 lasers. Atrophic scars can be successfully treated with CO2 lasers, primarily because they operate at a 10,600-nm wavelength.
This allows the dermatologist to burn both the papillary dermis and epidermis down to 60 µm in depth, whereas the Er:YAG laser is only able to reach about a third of that depth. Between the two, the erbium laser is less effective, yet it is also the one that results in fewer mistakes and complications.
CO2 lasers are relatively new, treating scars starting just 20 years ago, and are very effective in what is called the ultra pulse mode. Non-ablative lasers are different because they do not remove parts of the dermis, or the entire epidermal area. They are better suited for those that have a darker complexion.
They are also able to reduce the appearance of scars, such as those that are the result of having acne, and the healing time is much faster. Non-ablative lasers come into different forms including infrared lasers and visible light lasers.
Finally, there are fractional lasers which are very effective at removing scars, and not damaging the surrounding tissue, making them one of the more popular ones that are used.
Side Effects Associated With Using Laser Scar Treatments
The obvious side effects to using devices that are able to burn off layers of your skin is that you could end up with something as simple as the bronzing of your surrounding skin, edema, eryhythmia, and also a significant amount of pain depending upon how deep the laser actually goes.
In most cases, these lasers will provide top-quality results without too much pain or suffering. Recovery time has also increased over the years, as lasers have been improved, yet the cost of using them has not actually gone down.
Cost Of Using Laser Treatments For Scars
For most of these procedures, which can vary in price depending upon the dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon that you are using, the average cost for using and ablative laser is going to be between $2000 and $2500.
Whereas a non-ablative laser, ones that use infrared light or visible light which are not as effective, run about $1000 for each treatment.
Although your success rate is going to be higher with ablative laser procedures, they can usually eliminate the scar in just one or two treatments.
There is also a significant amount of recovery time in comparison to non-ablative laser treatments simply because they do not go as far down when removing the upper layer of skin.
As always, any type of cosmetic surgery is not going to be covered by your insurance policy so keep that in mind as you are choosing the treatment for your scars. Treatments for removing scars is very expensive, but it can mean the difference between dealing with an unsightly scar that can affect your self-esteem the rest of your life, or having an entirely different outlook on life because you are no longer inhibited by worrying about how you are scar will be perceived.