Ablative fractional CO2 laser effective for burn scars
Three treatments of ablative fractional CO2 laser (AFCO2L) yield improvements in burn scar pain, itch and dermal architecture 6 weeks after treatment, a recent study has found.
Twenty adult patients (mean age, 29 years) with burn scars were included in the study. Scar regions were randomly assigned as treatment or control zones; all scar areas received standard care. Treatment involved three standardized laser treatments 4–6 weeks apart.
After 6 weeks, there were significant improvements in pain (p=0.047) and itch (p<0.01) scores of the patient scar assessment scale (POSAS) in the treated vs control scar areas. In contrast, no significant differences were observed in any of the Vancouver Scar Scale (VSS) domains.
Polarized light microscopy was then used to measure changes in collagen. Scar zones that received AFCO2L treatment had significantly smaller yellow fibre areas in the superficial dermis compared with control zones. In comparison, both treated and untreated scar areas showed significant 6-week reductions in the area containing orange fibres in the superficial dermis.
On the other hand, the treatment had no significant effect on deep dermis tissue sections, nor did it elicit significant between-group differences in collagen orientation.
Nine patients provided data for the long-term follow-up. Total POSAS scores improved significantly in both treated and untreated zones, but no significant between-group differences were reported. The same was true for collagen measures.
“In this group of patients, AFCO2L significantly improved scar itch, pain and dermal architecture after 3 treatments. Data from initial long-term follow-up shows a trend of sustained improvement,” said researchers.