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Services and treatments

Laser scar therapy

How laser scar therapy works

Legacy uses two kinds of medical lasers to treat scars

  • Pulsed dye laser (PDL), which is used on raised, red and newer scars and in combination with CO2 laser therapy on older scars.
  • Fractional CO2 laser therapy, a new technology used to treat older (mature) scars. It is designed to reduce feelings of tightness and to improve the appearance of the scar.

The two types of lasers work in different ways

The pulsed dye laser (PDL) goes through the skin — without breaking it — to destroy tiny blood vessels (capillaries) near the surface of the scar. This causes the scar to shrink and become less red, and often less itchy. The laser uses a high electric lamp that produces a short, high-energy flash of light. The light is colored when it passes through the dye. The color of the dye can be changed depending on the type of treatment.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers can remove a very thin layer of tissue from the surface of the skin without removing deeper layers. They are sometimes used in other treatments, for example, skin cancer.

The CO2 laser pokes tiny holes in the old scar. In the process of healing these tiny holes, new tissue is formed. This new tissue is healthy, non-scar tissue. As a result, the scar shrinks and becomes smoother and more flexible.

What to expect

First, you’ll meet with a surgeon to determine if laser scar treatment is right for you.

Treatment usually includes four sessions. Generally, there are six to twelve weeks between treatments.

The treatment itself takes only a few minutes. It is done by specially trained surgeons at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. Treatment is usually performed under deep sedation or anesthesia. You’ll go home the same day.

Insurance information 

Because laser scar therapy is a relatively new treatment, insurance companies may not readily authorize the procedure. We will work with your insurance company on your behalf, to get all necessary pre-authorizations. If your insurance plan won’t pay for it, you may qualify for financial assistance. We also offer a discount for patients paying out of pocket. We can also help you supply relevant information to your insurer if you plan to appeal your denial.

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