Their group previously demonstrated high-patient satisfaction for the treatment of hypertrophic burn scar (HBS) with the erbium: yttrium aluminum garnet (Er:YAG) laser, but this and other literature supporting the practice suffer from a common weakness of a reliance on subjective assessments by patients or providers. Herein, they sought to prospectively study the effects of Er:YAG fractional ablation on HBS using noninvasive, objective technologies to measure outcomes. Patients with HBS had identical regions of scar designated for treatment by the Er:YAG laser (TREAT) or to be left untreated (CONTROL). They prospectively collected scar measurements of TREAT and CONTROL regions preoperatively, 3 weeks, and 3 months after Er:YAG treatment. Scar measurements included viscoelastometry, transepidermal water loss, optical coherent tomography, and high-frequency ultrasound. Outcomes were measured for the aggregate difference between the TREAT group vs the CONTROL group, as well as within each group in isolation. Seventeen patients were seen preoperatively, followed by n = 15 at 3 weeks and n = 11 at 3 months. A mixed-model repeated measures analysis showed no significant effect of fractional ablation when comparing the overall TREAT group measurements with those of the CONTROL group. However, when considered as within-group measurements, TREAT scars showed significant improvement in viscoelastic deformity (P =.03), elastic deformity (P =.004), skin roughness (P =.05), and wrinkle depth (P =.04) after fractional ablation, whereas CONTROL scars showed no such within-group changes. HBS treated by the Er:YAG laser showed objective improvements, whereas no such changes were seen within the untreated scars over the same time frame.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine