Clinical Improvement and Safety of Ablative Fractional Laser Therapy for Post-Surgical Scars: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

Trenton Custis, Daniel B Eisen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Ablative fractional laser (AFL) therapy for scars is an area of increasing interest. While the enthusiasm for these treatments is high, a systematic review of their use on surgical scars has not been done.

OBJECTIVE: To identify randomized trials that study the efficacy of ablative fractionated laser therapy for treatment of surgical scars.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: EMBASE, Web of Science, and Pubmed databases were searched for randomized trials with 10 or more surgical wounds. No restrictions were placed on the language of the publications.

RESULTS: Three randomized trials were identified that met the criteria for the review. One study found superior efficacy of ablative fractionated laser treatment of surgical scars compared to pulsed dye laser while the others found equivalent efficacy when compared to dermabrasion or pulsed dye laser. One study found a superior safety profile for ablative fractionated laser treatment over dermabrasion. No studies compared fractionated laser therapy to sham therapy or observation.

CONCLUSIONS: AFL compares well with the scar amelioration techniques of dermabrasion and pulsed dye laser. Additional studies are needed to further contrast AFL to these and other modalities as well as to observation alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1200-1204
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Drugs in Dermatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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