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Scars are the result of an injury to the skin, either traumatic in nature such as one caused by an accident or elective like one that is a consequence of surgery. Usually they heal level or nearly level with the surrounding skin though they can be wide. When they heal in a considerably elevated fashion within the area of the injury and are associated with firmness and redness, they are called hypertrophic scars. These types of scars usually develop soon after the injury and may regress over time, sometimes a year or more. Often, they are associated with pain and burning. Though they are frequently confused with keloids, the distinguishing factors are that keloids usually appear months to even years after the injury and extend considerably outside the original scar.

Hypertrophic scar of the right thigh

Some of the common treatments for hypertrophic scars include surgical excision, steroid injections, topical silicone sheets and cryotherapy (cold therapy). A variety of lasers have been also been used in attempts to treat these scars. Because lasers are high tech and have been touted for a multitude of other things, many patients request to have their hypertrophic scars treated using a laser.

Can lasers be employed to effectively and predictably treat hypertrophic scars or is their usage just hype and marketing?

A review of the literature on the usage of lasers in the treatment of hypertrophic scars was conducted and published in the November 2011 issue of The British Journal of Dermatology. It analyzed the data only from non-biased and properly controlled previously published clinical trials that employed a variety of lasers. This amounted to thirteen articles reporting on seven different laser types.

They found that only one of the seven laser types showed any evidence of possible therapeutic benefits. This was a pulsed dye laser (PDL) at the 595 nanometer wave length. In their conclusion, they stated that there was insufficient evidence at present to be able to recommend any laser as an effective treatment for hypertrophic scars though future studies may cause this approach to change.

So there is your answer!

If you would like more information on the treatment of hypertrophic scars, keloids or on any other plastic surgery procedure that I perform or to schedule a consultation with me, please call my office at 480-451-3000.

Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona

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A Message Regarding Coronavirus/COVID-19

In light of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, we would like to let you know of some of the major precautions we are taking in our office to maximize cleanliness and keep the environment as sanitary and safe as possible. Our highest priority is always to ensure the safety of every individual who sees us and we are taking extreme infection-control measures to maintain cleanliness and “sterility” of surfaces and the overall environment.

We will be limiting dates and times for office appointments and consultations due to safety and other issues. Consequently, if you have already made an office appointment or consultation prior to March 18, 2020 to occur at a later time, this may need to be changed.

For anyone considering plastic surgery, we are now offering Virtual Consultations and Telemedicine through Skype. A great number of aesthetic or insurance-related issues can be evaluated via pictures and online video conferencing, making this an excellent way to find out more about particular procedures, determine candidacy for treatment, receive answers to questions and facilitate being able to move forward with care once the government lifts all restrictions.

In an abundance of caution, we are asking all current patients who are experiencing a fever, cough, chills, fatigue or any type of respiratory illness to please delay any upcoming appointments at our practice. We can talk with you by phone or email to establish a new date and time for the appointment.

We are all in this together. Our team urges everyone to follow the guidelines recommended by local health authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which include frequent handwashing for a minimum of 20 seconds, social distancing, staying home if you are feeling sick, and contacting your healthcare provider if you feel you are experiencing symptoms.

For more information, please read our blog – Coronavirus and You: Important Information

For further updates, please check our blog.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us by phone or email.