Pulsed Dye Laser Treatment of Hypertrophic Burn Scars

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Abstract

Hypertrophic burn scars are notoriously difficult to treat because of their extensive tissue involvement and tendency to worsen with hypertrophy and contracture formation. Various therapies have been advocated in the past, including surgical excision and grafting, dermabrasion, and corticosteroids, with distinct cosmetic limitations. The 585-nm pulsed dye laser has been shown previously to be effective in the treatment of a variety of traumatic and surgical scars with improvement in scar texture, color, and pliability with minimal side effects.

Sixteen patients with 40 hypertrophic burn scars resulting from chemical peels, carbon dioxide laser procedures, and accidental thermal injury were treated with a 585-nm pulsed dye laser. Sequential photographic and clinical assessments were recorded in all patients. Histologic evaluations of skin punch biopsies before and after laser irradiation were performed when possible.

Symptomatic improvement of scars was reported after one treatment. Decreased scar erythema with improved texture and pliability was observed after an average of 2.5 treatments. No correlation was found between scar duration, location, or etiology and response to treatment. Normal number of dermal fibroblasts with decreased sclerosis was observed on histologic examination of laser-irradiated scars.

The 585-nm pulsed dye laser irradiation of hypertrophic burn scars can effectively improve scar pliability and texture and decrease erythema and associated symptoms yielding cosmetically and functionally acceptable clinical results. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 102: 2190, 1998.)

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