Laser and Scar Treatment Program

Laser and Scar Treatment Program

Massachusetts General Hospital offers innovative techniques to improve the appearance of scars from burns, surgical incisions, wounds and other injuries, as well as noninvasive laser treatments for facial rejuvenation.
Request an appointment

Call to request an appointment or refer a patient: 877-941-0418

Overview

Jeremy Goverman, MD, performs minimally invasive laser surgery on a patient.
Jeremy Goverman, MD, performs minimally invasive laser surgery on a patient.

The Laser and Scar Treatment Program at Massachusetts General Hospital provides comprehensive, up-to-date and effective approaches to treat scars from all causes. We offer noninvasive laser skin rejuvenation treatments that can improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, scars, sun damage, puffy eyes, and broken blood vessels, and treat skin conditions such as acne and rosacea.

Our team is comprised of plastic surgeons, reconstructive makeup consultants, physical and occupational therapists, as well as a psychiatrist specialized in the treatment of traumatic injury and pain. Our surgeons are leading experts in the field, with appointments at Harvard Medical School, and actively engaged in research on new and innovative scar and laser treatment strategies.  

Scar Treatments

Mass General offers innovative techniques to improve the appearance of scars from burns, surgical incisions, wounds and other injuries. Our team of experts is available to evaluate your scar and create a customized treatment plan that best meets your specific goals and expectations.

We treat all forms of scars, including hypertrophic (thick) scars, keloids, hyperpigmented (dark) scars, red/pink scars, stretch marks, and scars arising from trauma, burns, acne or other causes.

Learn more about scar treatments

Laser Skin Rejuvenation

Laser surgery is a noninvasive procedure where a targeted wavelength of light is used to resurface skin as well as close broken capillaries. Used cosmetically, laser surgery can produce desired results safely and effectively, and with minimal recovery time.
 
Our laser surgery treatments can target specific areas, such as the forehead, upper and lower eyelids (non-surgical blepharoplasty), cheeks, jowls, perioral area (tissue around the mouth) and neck.

Learn more about laser skin rejuvenation

Appointments & Referrals

We pair patients and their referring physician with an experienced care coordinator who helps assess patient needs and coordinates all necessary appointments and tests. Our goal is to schedule patient appointments within 2-4 weeks, depending on each patient’s situation.

In order to expedite the scheduling process, we encourage patients to confirm coverage options with their health insurance company and/or obtain a referral from their primary care physician prior to their first visit. Patients may request an appointment online. Patients and physicians may also call 877-424-5678 to speak with our care coordinator.

Laser Treatments

Mass General offers several types of laser treatments to help you achieve your goals. Our team treats many skin conditions, including:

  • Acne
  • Facial aging
  • Melasma
  • Pigmentation and pigmented lesions such as freckles and age spots
  • Puffy eyes
  • Rosacea
  • Vascular lesions, such astelangiectasia (dilated or broken blood vessels or capillaries) and cherry angiomas
  • Scars caused by acne or surgery
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Uneven skin texture
  • Wrinkles and fine lines

Laser and Cosmetic Therapies

Mass General offers several types of laser treatments to help you achieve your goals:

  • Laser skin resurfacing, also known as laser facial rejuvenation, improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, scars and hyper pigmentation, and minimizes pore size
  • Fractional laser treatments boost collagen reproduction by using very narrow laser light to treat affected areas
  • Broad Band Light (BBL) enables the treatment of multiple skin conditions by utilizing varying wavelengths of light

In addition to our laser treatments, we offer noninvasive cosmetic skin care options such as chemical peels—to uncover smoother, more evenly pigmented skin—and injectable therapies, such as Botox® and dermal fillers, which help fill out areas of the face and lips. 

Our laser treatments can be tailored to each patient’s needs. We have the ability to adjust treatments to coincide with the amount of recovery time a patient can commit to. We are able to achieve the same end result whether treatment is accomplished in one visit with a longer recovery period, or by offering a series of treatments with shorter recovery periods. We are also able to combine laser treatments with cosmetic surgery in order to achieve optimal results with a faster healing period. Your surgeon will work with you to determine your best treatment.


What to Expect

Your initial consultation will take approximately 30-45 minutes. During this time, your doctor will review your medical history and treatment objectives. We ask that you bring a list of medications, vitamins and herbal supplements that you take, along with information on dosages. Photos may also be taken to monitor treatment progress.

Treatment options, including risks and benefits, will be discussed in detail. We will work with you to find the best plan for you. Our aim during the consultation is to give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

We provide services at our medical campus in Boston, and at our North Shore Center in Danvers.

Recovery Time

Recovery time for all laser treatments varies depending on the treatment. Multiple treatments may be necessary to reach your specific goal. Results can typically be seen immediately, though it may take between four to six months for full results to take effect as the skin continues to tighten and the collagen is remodeled. Prior to treatment, a topical anesthetic is applied to assist with any mild discomfort. Your surgeon will provide post-treatment instructions to help with any redness or swelling, and to promote healing.

Possible Side Effects of Laser Surgery Treatments

You may experience the following side effects during or after your treatment:

  • A feeling similar to your skin being snapped with a rubber band
  • Redness after treatment; duration depends on type of treatment
  • Swelling, also depends on type of treatment
  • Pigment changes (skin coloring) after the treated area heals
  • Scarring
  • Bleeding, called “pinpoint bleeding,” which typically stops after a few minutes and has no lasting effect

Are You a Candidate for Laser Surgery?

You may not be a candidate for laser surgery if you:

  • Take light-sensitive medications
  • Have taken Accutane, an acne medication, in the last year
  • Are pregnant
  • Are unable to follow the post-treatment care regimen recommended by your surgeon

Scar Treatments

Nonsurgical Options

We offer a variety of nonsurgical, evidence-based options for scar treatments. These include silicone gels/sheets, custom compression garments, steroid ointments or injections, as well as a complete Reconstructive Makeup Program:

  • Steroid Application and Injection
    Steroids are used to flatten and reduce the activity of hypertrophic (thick) and keloid scars. Steroids can be injected into the scar tissue in clinic, can be used at the time of surgery, or can be used topically with laser modalities
  • Silicone Gel Sheets
    Silicone gel sheets can help flatten hypertrophic, keloid, and active scars. They are placed on the scar daily and typically worn for 24 hours

Surgical Options

Various forms of scar revision surgery can be used to remove, or help camouflage your scar. Fat transfer has also shown significant promise for the appropriate scar. Laser treatment can help to flatten and soften your scar:

  • Local Tissue Rearrangements
    One cause of thickened (hypertrophic) scar is tension. Local tissue rearrangements act to lengthen scars and relieve tension, allowing a scar to best heal flat and smooth. Z-Plasty and related tissue-rearrangement techniques are available to re-orient and reposition scars. This can be used to improve contractures, contour, or areas of tightness along affected areas
  • Tissue Expansion
    A "balloon" is placed beneath normal adjacent skin and is used to stretch normal skin over a period of time by filling the tissue expander with saline solution. After weeks or months, the skin is adequately stretched, and the scar is then surgically removed. The stretched skin is used to close the scar defect
  • Skin Grafting
    A thin layer of skin is taken from a healthy part of the body and is transplanted to the scarred region. Skin grafts may not appear identical to the surrounding skin with regard to color or thickness; however, they provide an option to restore function to severely affected scar regions
  • Dermabrasion
    This modality is used to smooth out surface irregularities by removing the top most layer of skin. In essence the top layer of the scar is 'sanded' with a wheel or rotating wire brush until the desired depth is achieved
  • Fat Grafting
    Fat grafting uses a patient's own fat to transfer to an affected area that is depressed or sunken in. The purpose is to fill in uneven areas to improve the appearance of a scar. The results are immediate. However, these treatments often require multiple applications to achieve the desired result
  • Laser Therapy
    Lasers are available to improve the uneven surface of scars with very little down-time. The Massachusetts General Hospital Fraser Outpatient Burn Center is one of the few institutions to offer fractional photothermolyis with the Ultrapulse CO2 laser. Laser skin resurfacing can be used with other modalities described below. Additional lasers, such as pulse dye laser, are used for hyperemic or red scars. Therapy is individualized depending on the patients' needs and goals

What to Expect

The first step is to schedule a personal consultation with one of our surgeons. Your medical history, scar-related symptoms, and personal goals will be assessed. An exam will be performed. Your surgeon will discuss the options available and expectations, tailored to your specific goals. 

Where Will My Surgery be Done?

If you require surgery, your procedure may be scheduled at one of several locations, including Mass General in Boston or at the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care in Danvers. We are typically able to schedule patients for surgery within a few weeks. For all procedures, we employ the latest technology and techniques.

Preparing for Your Surgery

Many treatment options are available in the clinic. Other options may require outpatient or inpatient surgery. You will be given specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, guidelines on eating and drinking, and taking medications and dietary supplements. You should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery. Patients may require further care at home after surgery depending on the type of procedure done.

What Type of Anesthesia is Needed?

The anesthesia choice will depend on the type of scar treatment needed. You will remain comfortable throughout the entire procedure. General anesthesia, sedation, and local anesthesia are options depending on the procedure.

After Surgery

You will be given detailed instructions regarding wound care and dressings. You will have follow-up appointments and we will continue to assess your long-term results.

Our Team

Doctors

  • Bojovic, Branko, MD

    617-371-4702

    Accepting New Patients

    Board Certifications
    • Plastic Surgery, American Board of Plastic Surgery
    Locations
    • Boston: Shriner's Hospital for Children
    • Boston: MGH Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Ehrlichman, Richard J., MD

    617-726-3712

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Breast Reconstruction
    • Burn reconstruction
    • Laser surgery
    • Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)
    • Hair restoration
    • Facelift, Necklift, Rhinoplasty
    Board Certifications
    • Plastic Surgery, American Board of Plastic Surgery
    Locations
    • Boston: MGH Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
    • Boston: Shriner's Hospital for Children
    • Nashua: MGH Children's Specialties at Southern New Hampshire Med Ctr
  • Friedstat, Jonathan S., MD

    617-726-3712

    Accepting New Patients

    Board Certifications
    • Surgery, American Board of Surgery
    • Surgical Critical Care, American Board of Surgery
    Locations
    • Boston: Burns Service, Department of Surgery
  • Goverman, Jeremy, MD

    617-726-3712

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Scar management
    • Laser treatment of burn scars
    • Burn injury
    • Burn reconstruction
    • Frostbite
    Board Certifications
    • Surgery, American Board of Surgery
    • Surgical Critical Care, American Board of Surgery
    • Plastic Surgery, American Board of Plastic Surgery
    Locations
    • Boston: Burns Service, Department of Surgery
    • Charlestown: Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Nursing Staff

  • MaryLiz Bilodeau, ACNPC
  • Jason McSweeney, ACNPC

 

Conditions

  • Acne

    Acne is a disorder of the hair follicles and sebaceous glands. The glands become clogged, leading to pimples and cysts.

  • Rosacea

    Characterized by redness, pimples and broken blood vessels, rosacea is a common skin condition that usually only affects the face and eyes.

  • Scars

    A scar is the body's natural way of healing and replacing lost or damaged skin.

  • Skin Conditions

    There are many different types of lesions and skin conditions that can be treated with laser surgery.

  • Skin Pigment Disorders

    Skin color is determined by a pigment (melanin) made by specialized cells in the skin (melanocytes). Some disorders which affect skin color are: albinism, melasma, pigment loss after skin damage, and vitiligo.

Patient Education

Contact

Laser and Scar Treatment Program

Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit Street
Boston,MA02114

Phone: 877-424-5678
Email Us

Request an appointment

Call to request an appointment or refer a patient: 877-941-0418

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