Nd:YAG Laser Treatment of Keloids and Hypertrophic Scars

Satoshi Akaishi, Sachiko Koike, Teruyuki Dohi, Kyoko Kobe, Hiko Hyakusoku, Rei Ogawa
Eplasty 2012, 12: e1
Pathological cutaneous scars such as keloids and hypertrophic scars (HSs) are characterized by a diffuse redness that is caused by the overgrowth of capillary vessels due to chronic inflammation. Our group has been using long-pulsed, 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser in noncontact mode with low fluence and a submillisecond pulse duration to treat keloids and hypertrophic scars since 2006 with satisfactory results. The present study examined the efficacy of this approach in 22 Japanese patients with keloids (n = 16) or hypertrophic scars (n = 6) who were treated every 3 to 4 weeks. Treatment settings were as follows: 5 mm spot size diameter; 14 J/cm(2) energy density; 300 μs exposure time per pulse; and 10 Hz repetition rate. The responses of the pathological scars to the treatment were assessed by measuring their erythema, hypertrophy, hardness, itching, and pain or tenderness. Moreover, skin samples from 3 volunteer patients were subjected to histological evaluation and 5 patients underwent thermography during therapy. The average total scar assessment score dropped from 9.86 to 6.34. Hematoxylin and eosin staining and Elastica Masson-Goldner staining showed that laser treatment structurally changed the tissue collagen. This influence reached a depth of 0.5 to 1 mm. Electron microscopy revealed plasma protein leakage, proteoglycan particles, and a change in the collagen fiber fascicles. Further analyses revealed that noncontact mode Nd:YAG laser treatment is highly effective for keloids and hypertrophic scars regardless of patient age, the origin and multiplicity of scarring, the location of the scar(s), or the tension on the scar.

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