Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Davis

UC Davis Previously Published Works bannerUC Davis

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

No data is associated with this publication.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content

This item is under embargo until December 31, 2999.