Fractional CO2 laser treatment of caesarean section scars—A randomized controlled split-scar trial with long term follow-up assessment

Research paper by Katrine E. Karmisholt MD, Elisabeth H. Taudorf MD, PhD, Camilla B. Wulff MD, Emily Wenande MD, Peter A. Philipsen MSc (EE), PHD, Merete Haedersdal

Indexed on: 09 Nov '16Published on: 08 Nov '16Published in: Lasers in Surgery and Medicine


Caesarean section (c-section) scars can be pose functional and cosmetic challenges and ablative fractional laser (AFXL) treatment may offer benefit to patients. We evaluated textural and color changes over time in AFXL-treated versus untreated control scars.A randomized, controlled, intra-individual split-scar trial with three sessions of AFXL-treatments for mature c-section scars. Settings of AFXL were adjusted to each individual scar. End-points were blinded on-site clinical evaluations at 1, 3, and 6 months follow-up (Patient and Observer Scar Assessment Scale [POSAS] and Vancouver Scar Scale [VSS]), blinded photo-evaluations, reflectance measurements, tissue histology, and patients satisfaction.Eleven of 12 patients completed the study. At 1 month follow-up, AFXL-treated scars were significantly improved in pliability (POSAS P = 0.01 VSS P = 0.02) and smoother in surface relief (POSAS P = 0.03) compared to control scars. At 1–3 months, overall scar appearance was dominated by transient erythema and hyperpigmentation, confirmed by reflectance measurements (erythema% and pigmentation% peaked at 1 and 3 month follow-up, respectively). At 6 months follow-up, AFXL-treated scars improved on POSAS-total score though not significantly (P = 0.06). Correspondingly, blinded photo-evaluation found AFXL-treated scars significantly improved compared to controls (VAS P = 0.02). Histology indicated new dermal collagen and elastic fibers on AFXL-treated scars. At 6 months follow-up, a majority of patients (64%) favored subsequent AFXL-treatment of their untreated control scar tissue.Scar remodeling is initiated 1 month after AFXL treatment, but overall scar improvement is concealed until laser-induced color changes resolve. At 6 months follow-up, the benefit of AFXL treatment on c-section scars emerges. Lasers Surg. Med. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.