Early postoperative treatment of surgical scars using a fractional carbon dioxide laser: a split-scar, evaluator-blinded study

Dermatol Surg. 2013 Aug;39(8):1190-6. doi: 10.1111/dsu.12228. Epub 2013 Apr 30.


Background: Although focus has recently been directed toward the early treatment of surgical scars, the optimal time at which to initiate treatment with fractional laser and its effect on scar remodeling remains controversial.

Objectives: To assess the safety and efficacy of treating surgical scars using an ablative carbon dioxide (CO2 ) fractional laser during the early postoperative period.

Materials and methods: We performed a prospective, split-scar, evaluator-blinded study on 16 postoperative scars of 15 patients. Patients began treatment 3 weeks after surgery and were treated in two sessions of CO2 fractional laser therapy on half of the scar at 2-week intervals. All patients were followed for 3 months after the final treatment session.

Results: Three months after the last treatment, a greater decrease in Vancouver Scar Scale score was noted in the treated half of the scars, especially in terms of texture and thickness. Patients also expressed a significantly greater degree of satisfaction with the treated side as assessed using a subjective 4-point scale. Only one patient experienced any adverse effect, which was the development of hypertrophy, on the treated and untreated side of the scar.

Conclusion: CO2 fractional laser is an effective treatment modality for surgical scars in the early postoperative period.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cicatrix / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lasers, Gas / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Postoperative Care
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome