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Ann Plast Surg. 2008 May;60(5):480-6. doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e31816fcad5.

Pulsed dye laser therapy and z-plasty for facial burn scars: the alternative to excision.

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Division of Plastic Surgery, Shriners Burn Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Hypertrophic scarring after partial thickness facial burns is common when epithelialization takes longer than 3 weeks. Well-healed areas continue to mature unfavorably, resulting in raised, erythematous, and contracted scars. Excisional treatment of such scars has morbidity and can create iatrogenic deformities. The flashlamp-pumped, pulsed dye laser (PDL) in combination with z-plasty can be used as a successful alternative to excision in patients with facial hypertrophic burn scars. Fifty-seven patients with hypertrophic facial burn scars (mean age 12 years; range, 2-21 years) were treated with the PDL over the past 8 years. Thirty-four patients (60%) were also treated with z-plasties to relieve scar tension. There was one complication of postoperative blistering. Patients were divided into 3 groups based on time from burn to initial laser treatment. Group I (<1 year) had 11 patients and the laser diminished scar proliferation in these patients. Group II (1-4 years) included 24 patients and treatment resulted in reversal of hypertrophic scarring and elimination of erythema. Group III (>5 years) consisted of 22 patients. The PDL was effective in treating their stable and persistent erythema as long as 17 years after burn injury. No scars required excision in this cohort of 57 patients. The PDL should become an integral part of the management of facial burn scarring and will significantly decrease the need for excisional surgery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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