Fractional laser resurfacing advocated for scars
By David Douglas
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A new consensus report examining laser and other scar therapies strongly endorses an ablative fractional laser approach in multidisciplinary treatment of traumatic scars.
"Fractional laser resurfacing is revolutionizing the way we approach traumatic and surgical scars, complementing traditional management including physical therapy and surgical revision," said Dr. Peter Shumaker from the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, California, a co-author of the report.
"I believe the combination of significant and reliable functional improvements and excellent safety profile associated with fractional resurfacing will establish the technique within the standard of care for traumatic scars within the next few years," he told Reuters Health by email.
In the report, online December 11 in JAMA Dermatology, Dr. Shumaker and colleagues note that their findings are based on the expert opinions of independent, self-selected academic and military dermatology and plastic surgery physicians with extensive experience in the use of lasers for scar treatment. Relevant literature was also consulted.
The authors note that after accounting for "possible revision surgery for tension relief and a degree of spontaneous improvement obtained by scar maturation, the stage is set for further scar rehabilitation using laser therapies of different types for specific indications."
Compared to earlier reports, the team goes on to say, this one "emphasizes the routine addition of ablative fractional laser resurfacing to existing traumatic scar treatment paradigms. The unique combination of safety and efficacy of the procedure has brought new hope to millions of patients with debilitating scars."
While the panel calls for randomized clinical studies, Dr. Shumaker said wider use of the approach "may help shift scar treatment paradigms toward earlier intervention after injury to accelerate and enhance rehabilitation."
Dr. Stephen Daines, who was not involved in the report, told Reuters Health by email that "Ablative fractional laser resurfacing has emerged as a safe and effective treatment modality for advanced scar management."
Dr. Daines, of the Skin Cancer and Reconstructive Surgery Center in Newport Beach, California, said that in this consensus statement the authors "provide a meaningful algorithm for managing burns scars and illustrate how fractional resurfacing can be utilized in conjunction with other scar mitigation techniques to achieve superior functional and cosmetic outcomes."
JAMA Dermatol 2013.(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013. Click For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp