How Does Laser Scar Removal Work?

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When your body repairs a wound in the skin caused by injury, surgery, infection, or other causes, a scar is left behind. Scars are signified by skin that is more course, sunken, thick, or differently colored by the surrounding skin, and can sometimes look alarming or unbecoming. People with bad scars will often look for ways to remove the scar. One of the best cosmetic procedures for eliminating scars is laser scar removal.Laser Scar Removal

Laser scar removal is a very advanced process now, with multiple methods that can be applied depending on circumstances.

Anything from very large to extremely small scars can be treated, with smaller scars more likely to be erased entirely.

Even large scars can be significantly lessened by a good laser treatment. There are two main types of laser scar removal; ablative laser resurfacing, and non-ablative laser resurfacing.

Ablative Laser Resurfacing

Ablative laser resurfacing, also referred to as just laser resurfacing, is a process in which a laser technician uses a strong laser beam to carve away the surface of the scar tissue. The result will involve a smooth, tight layer of skin left behind after the scar tissue is removed.

laser scar removal procedureDepending on the severity, there are two types of lasers that may be used. Erbium: YAG lasers are the less powerful of the two, and will be used to treat shallow surface scars.

Recovery time after this technique can be as little as week. CO2 lasers, on the other hand, are more powerful and used for more extreme scars.

A CO2 laser is necessary for more extensive scarring, and may be painful. The recovery can be two weeks or longer from a CO2 laser scar removal procedure. A laser resurfacing operation using an ablative technique can take about one to two hours, and can be done in a dermatologist’s office or laser clinic rather than at a hospital.

When you go in, you will be sedated with local anesthetic and twilight sedation, which means that you are conscious but under an enforced calm. Goggles will protect your eyes from the laser light, and the dermatologist will run the laser wand carefully over the scar tissue to slowly and carefully remove the damaged cells. This kind of laser resurfacing is an expensive procedure, and can cost over $3000 for even a small facial scar.

Non-Ablative Laser Resurfacing

Laser ResurfacingAs opposed to the ablative variety, laser resurfacing that utilizes non-ablative techniques does not remove the outer layer of scar tissue.

Instead, an infrared laser is used to heat the inner layers of the skin, which stimulates the body to repair the scar naturally.

The heat coaxes the body into producing collagen and new skin cells which can rise up and replace the scar tissue. This procedure is much less invasive and damaging than ablative resurfacing, taking only 15-30 minutes per session and no recovery time.

The procedure can hurt a little bit, but the laser wand produces a cooling spray to reduce pain and prevent skin damage as it works. Non-ablative resurfacing, unlike the ablative version, can take months before it starts to show results.

Since the healing is taking place deep in the skin and handled by the body, the process can take a long time. It may also require four to six treatments over the course of the recovery, with each treatment running $400-$600, meaning the final cost may end up comparable to an ablative procedure, or may end up cheaper, depending on the number of sessions.

Consult a dermatologist Deciding between these two procedures, or one of the less common types of laser surgery not discussed here, is best done with the help of a professional. Talk to your dermatologist about laser scar removal, and see which treatment would be best suited to your particular issue.

Different types of treatments are best suited for different types of scars, and your dermatologist will be able to discuss the pros and cons of each with you to help you make the right choice.

If you are suffering from scarring that you feel harms your appearance or your self esteem, laser scar removal might be the right course for you. See your dermatologist today, and start moving toward having the face you have always wanted!

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