OBJECTIVE Comparison of the efficacy of nonablative fractional laser (NAFL) and the V-beam pulsed dye laser (PDL) for improvement of surgical scars. METHODS A randomized blinded split-scar study. Fifteen scars in 12 patients were treated a minimum of 2 months after Mohs surgery. Patients were treated on half of the scar with a 1,550-nm NAFL and on the contralateral half with the 595 nm PDL. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S) A nontreating physician investigator evaluated the outcome of the scar in terms of scar dyspigmentation, thickness, texture, and overall cosmetic appearance (5-point grading scale). RESULTS After a series of four treatments at 2-week intervals, greater improvements were noted in the portion of surgical scars treated with NAFL (overall mean improvement 75.6%, range 60-100%, vs. PDL, 53.9%, range 20-80%; p<.001). CONCLUSION These data support the use of NAFL as a highly effective treatment modality for surgical scars, with greater improvement in scar appearance than with PDL. It is likely that the greater depth of penetration and focal microthermal zones of injury with NAFL, inducing neocollagenesis and collagenolysis, account for its greater improvement in scar remodeling. These encouraging results lead us to recommend that NAFL be added to the current treatment armamentarium for surgical scars. This project was supported by a grant from the Cosmetic Surgery Foundation.
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