Dermal Remodeling of Burn Scar by Fractional CO2 Laser

Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2016 Oct;40(5):761-8. doi: 10.1007/s00266-016-0686-x. Epub 2016 Aug 12.


Background: Ablative CO2 fractional lasers have recently been introduced for burn scar treatment because of pronounced clinical outcomes with fewer treatment sessions than nonablative fractional laser.

Objective: This study was conducted to observe clinical as well as histologic changes of burn scars after treatment with CO2 fractional laser.

Materials and methods: Eleven patients (one female and 10 males, aged 31-59 years) with skin phototypes III to V with burn scars received 10 sessions of fractional CO2 laser treatments (UltraPulse(®) Encore; Lumenis, Santa Clara, CA, USA) over an average 5-week interval. Two passes were performed using the following parameters: deep FX mode, 12.5-30 mJ, with a density setting of 5-10 %. Clinical evaluations by three blinded dermatologists were obtained at baseline and at 6 months after the final treatment via photographs using the Vancouver scar scale (VSS). Skin biopsies were done on four patients before and after treatment.

Results: All patients showed clinical improvement in their scars with significant decrease in VSS. Histologic findings showed the changes in the upper dermis with newly formed dermal papilla. This characteristic upper dermis change was presented as improvement in surface smoothness and skin tension clinically. Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation and itching sensation were the most common adverse effects.

Conclusion: Burn scar treatment by fractional CO2 laser is effective by forming new collagen fibers mainly in the upper dermis.

Level of evidence iv: This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors .

Keywords: Burn scar; Dermal remodeling; Histology; Laser and light sources.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Burns / complications
  • Burns / pathology*
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Cicatrix / radiotherapy*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Lasers, Gas / therapeutic use*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regeneration / physiology*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing / physiology*