Burn scars have traditionally been a very bothersome problem. They usually get worse and uglier the older they get. They usually turn into the disfigured scar we see after 3-7 months.
But is there anything to do to alleviate this unfortunate situation?
The answer is YES. The first thing is to pay attention to it early…the earlier, the better.
Studies out of Switzerland showed that using Human Growth factors topically in burn victims significantly decreases the incidence of these disfiguring scars. They, however, must be used as early as possible and during the acute healing phase.
Other extensive studies by the dermatology staff at the University of Miami showed a promising role for fractional ablative lasers ( fractional CO2 laser) , alone or paired with medications to significantly decrease the scarring and improve the function, including joint mobility in the burn area. Again this needs to be undertaken as early as possible, but is still advantageous in old scars too.
How many treatments? It usually takes 5-8 sessions for mature scars, and probably 3-4 for fresh scars to alleviate this problem. One major thing to know about this treatment (and all treatments for burn scars) is that there is no treatment so far that can match the color or texture of the normal skin before the burn. The recent research on the role of CO2 lasers in helping the burn scars has truly been a big breakthrough. Still the research is ongoing, and we will see more and more advanced treatments coming out of the pipeline in the next few years.