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Lasers in surgery and medicine

Treatment of hypertrophic scars using laser and laser assisted corticosteroid delivery.


PMID 23460557

Abstract

Hypertrophic scars and contractures are common following various types of trauma and procedures despite skilled surgical and wound care. Following ample time for healing and scar maturation, many millions of patients are burdened with persistent symptoms and functional impairments. Cutaneous scars can be complex and thus the approach to therapy is often multimodal. Intralesional corticosteroids have long been a staple in the treatment of hypertrophic and restrictive scars. Recent advances in laser technology and applications now provide additional options for improvements in function, symptoms, and cosmesis. Fractional ablative lasers create zones of ablation at variable depths of the skin with the subsequent induction of a wound healing and collagen remodeling response. Recent reports suggest these ablative zones may also be used in the immediate post-operative period to enhance delivery of drugs and other substances. We present a case series evaluating the efficacy of a novel combination therapy that incorporates the use of an ablative fractional laser with topically applied triamcinolone acetonide suspension in the immediate post-operative period. This is a prospective case series including 15 consecutive subjects with hypertrophic scars resulting from burns, surgery or traumatic injuries. Subjects were treated according to typical institutional protocol with three to five treatment sessions at 2- to 3-month intervals consisting of fractional ablative laser treatment and immediate post-operative topical application of triamcinolone acetonide suspension at a concentration of 10 or 20 mg/ml. Three blinded observers evaluated photographs taken at baseline and six months after the final treatment session. Scores were assigned using a modified Manchester quartile score to evaluate enhancements in dyschromia, hypertrophy, texture, and overall improvement. Small sample size and lack of a control arm. Combination same session laser therapy and immediate post-operative corticosteroid delivery resulted in average overall improvement of 2.73/3.0. Dyschromia showed the least amount of improvement while texture showed the most improvement. Combination same-session therapy with ablative fractional laser-assisted delivery of triamcinolone acetonide potentially offers an efficient, safe and effective combination therapy for challenging hypertrophic and restrictive cutaneous scars.