It is important to realize that some scars cannot be removed but only improved. Scars in the top layer of skin [papillary dermis] can be completely removed. However, scars that extend into the deeper layers of skin [reticular dermis] cannot be removed but only improved. Sometimes acne scars penetrate deep into this area. Scars from trauma that require suturing usually extend into this area and are permanent. For that reason, we cannot totally remove them, but only cosmetically improve them and make them less apparent. Laser resurfacing helps to smooth the appearance of the scars compared to surrounding tissue. In addition, some studies seem to indicate that laser resurfacing may actually stimulate growth factors which result in more collagen being produced. In some cases, this can result in elevating depressed scars. We have found this to occur in scars which have been as much as 10-15 years old.
Studies have also shown that doing dermabrasion or laser resurfacing at 1-2 months after an initial surgery, such as a facial laceration, may actually stimulate wound healing and improve the aesthetic appearance of the scar. While laser resurfacing is not a cure for traumatic or acne scars, in many cases it can add some improvement. However, patients need to be realistic and realize that they can never have scars totally removed, only improve upon.