Objective: To investigate the efficacy of 1550-nm (Fraxel SR1500 RE:Store; Solta Medical, Hayward, California) nonablative laser treatment of facial surgical scars. Methods: In this prospective clinical study, a volunteer sample of 13 adults with Fitzpatrick skin types I to III and facial surgical scars with a postoperative duration longer than 6 months were enrolled. Subjects were treated once every 4 weeks for a total of 4 treatments. Initial settings for the 1550-nm nonablative laser were at energy level 40 mJ and treatment level 4 and were subsequently increased on each visit according to the patients' tolerance level. Using a previously validated Patient and Observer Scar Assessment Scale (POSAS), the study subject and an independent evaluator completed assessments of the scar at each visit. Results: According to the Friedman test on ratings across all occasions after the first treatment to the last evaluation, there was a statistically significant improvement in the patient' s assessment of the color, stiffness, thickness, and irregularity of the scar but not for pain or itching. For the observer' s ratings, there was a statistically significant improvement in pigmentation, thickness, relief, and pliability but not for vascularization. Conclusions: Preliminary data suggest improved aesthetic results, demonstrating the potential use of fractional photothermolysis as a scar revision technique. Future studies with a longer follow-up period could elucidate the role of fractional photothermolysis in more permanent scar improvements.
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