Children's Hospital Colorado
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What is laser treatment?

Our plastic and reconstructive surgery specialists use laser treatment to blend the color and texture of scars, especially burn scars, so they more closely match the unaffected skin. Laser treatment is an effective, nonsurgical option to treat common conditions with minimal downtime and discomfort.

We can use laser treatment for scars and lesions, including:

  • Hypertrophic scarring (thickened, wide and often raised scars)
  • Hypervascular lesions (an area of abnormal tissue that incorporates blood vessels)
  • Some unwanted or superficial skin lesions
  • Unwanted hair

We use different lasers that work on different targets in the skin, such as pigment, hemoglobin or water. We can treat different conditions by changing the type of laser. The most common lasers we use are carbon dioxide, pulsed diode 755 nm and 1064 nm lasers.

What to expect during laser treatment

A physician or physician’s assistant (PA) with specialized training and experience performs the laser treatment.

Your child’s doctor or PA can perform the procedure while your child is awake or in an operating room with sedation or general anesthetic. Which method they use depends on the size and type of the scarring or lesion and your child’s age and preferences. Laser treatment for larger scars may cause mild pain or discomfort, in which case your child’s doctor may decide to use a topical numbing cream.

The procedure typically takes a few minutes, depending on the size of the affected area and whether your child needs sedation or anesthesia. Your child may need a series of treatments spaced apart by 4 to 6 weeks.

Your child’s doctor will go over the procedure with you beforehand. You can prepare your child for laser treatment by explaining the process and whether they will feel any discomfort. The laser may feel like a rubber band snapping on the skin. We can reduce this discomfort using topical numbing cream or anesthesia. Our staff also uses distraction techniques to help take your child’s focus off the procedure, such as using virtual reality headsets.

What to expect after laser treatment

After the procedure, your child may feel warmth or mild burning in the treated area. You can usually manage any discomfort with over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. As the area heals, your child may experience mild itching or tightness, which will fade over the next several weeks.

Laser treatment is an outpatient procedure with minimal downtime. Your child can typically return to school right away. Keep the area protected from the sun and avoid rubbing the area until it is healed. We recommend daily washing, but your child should avoid swimming for 2 weeks after treatment.

Why choose us for laser treatment

At Children’s Hospital Colorado, our team’s technology expertise and experience in laser treatment make us uniquely equipped to provide the best care for kids. Our talented pediatric anesthesia experts and child life specialists also help make this treatment easy for children.

If you have any questions or concerns after the procedure, call the ParentSmart Healthline at 1-855-KID-INFO (543-4636). Caring pediatric nurses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help answer your questions.

Get to know our pediatric experts.

Brooke French, MD

Brooke French, MD

Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

David Khechoyan, MD

David Khechoyan, MD

Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

Maureen Andrews, CPN

Maureen Andrews, CPN


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