New Ways to Let them Fade from Sight -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

New Ways to Let them Fade from Sight

Surgeries often leave ugly scars;
© Hemera

“Both an individual's age and the location of the scar on the body or face affect the way a scar forms,” said dermatologist James M. Spencer, M.D., M.S., clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. “Younger skin makes strong repairs, but can overheal causing a thicker scar, and scars on tighter skin will seem more visible. Whatever the type, thanks to new research, we’re finding improved ways to minimize the appearance of surgical scars”, said Dr. Spencer.

Two new treatment methods that are beneficial in minimizing the appearance of surgical scars comprise the use of a pulsed-dye laser and topical application of the Immune Response Modifier (IRM), imiquimod. The pulsed-dye laser uses a yellow, high-energy light to remove scar redness and flatten hypertrophic scars and keloids. This also can improve the itching and burning sensations that accompany some scars.

"With the pulsed-dye laser, patients can return to work or regular activity within one week, though the treated skin may remain pink for several weeks,” said Dr. Spencer. “While this treatment can be used with any type of scar, hypertrophic scars or keloids typically need two or more treatments every one or two months.”

IRMs enhance the skin’s ability to identify and control or destroy certain viral infections in the skin by stimulating cytokine production in the skin. When IRMs stimulate the cytokines, cell immunity is enhanced and the body is able to more efficiently control or eliminate virus-infected cells.

“Imiquimod stimulates one of the skin’s naturally occurring inflammatory agents, interferon, which can affect the skin’s wound-healing function,” said Dr. Spencer. “Using this topical agent on scar sites after surgery may help produce a smaller scar.”; Source: American Academy of Dermatology