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Plastic Surgery/Laser burn correction


open lesion
open lesion  

full face burn
full face burn  
I was burned in march 2013 from a cutera cool glide laser.  Small spider viens were to be removed from around my nose.  The person operating the machine burned and blistered my cheeks, caused an open weeping wounds during the procedure and burned and blistered under my eyes.  

the skin under my eyes turned like tissue paper and I have 3 scars on my cheek - very similar to chicken pox scars.  there is also a smoothness and lack of pigment on the scars so it's not only a depression of the skin but different color and texture as well.

I have been told laser resurfacing is the best way to go for a more complete and permanent fix to the situation.  I was also told a temp fix could be a filler in the depressions and use hydroquinone cream.  

I prefer the laser but are 2nd degrees burns like I sustained before common?  Is laser the best course of treatment?

from Dr. Alan Engler

Hi Kimberly,

I'm obviously very sorry about the experience you've had.

"Burns" can occur from any of a wide range of resurfacing and other treatments, including lasers, peels, dermabrasions and non-laser light treatments (a laser is a specific type of machine and many treatments have similar effects, and potential complications, but are not strictly "lasers").  The early treatment in the management of complications include wound care such as would be indicated from any other source of skin injury, including thermal burns, frostbite, etc.

The final result (the appearance after such an injury) depends largely on the depth of the injury, the type of skin (thicker skin tends to scar more noticeably than thinner skin, though there is no 1:1 or absolute association) and individual characteristics that are not easily quantified.  Having some scars after a second degree burn suggests that it was a moderate to deep second degree burn and, while not common after treatments such as these, they can occur.  The hypopigmentation you describe is also a known after-effect of such a complication or, as in the case of some peels and dermabrasion, not even a complication (ie, it can occur with an otherwise "successful" treatment).

I can't provide specific suggestions on how to treat what you have, since I'd need to be able to see you in person.  I would hesitate to recommend laser resurfacing, as you may have additional pigmentary changes that may be more noticeable than the scarring you have.  Fillers are, as you say, temporary and are, furthermore, difficult to inject into and maintain in exactly the right location, since the scars are more tightly bound to the deeper tissues and the filler material tends to migrate (even during the injection process) to the areas of less tension; ie, the areas exactly AROUND the scars that are intended to be reversed.  Subcision (lifting up the scars with a sharp instrument) and then injecting filler is a good idea in theory but is not always as specific and controllable as one might want.  Deeper individual scars can be excised (as is done with "ice-pick" scars) although you are, once again, trading one scar for another.

In short, there is a wide range of treatments available in theory but none is necessarily ideal.  I'd suggest consultations with a few plastic surgeons in your area to obtain an assessment in person, and then you'll have to decide which, if any, makes the most sense.

Again, I'm sorry but I hope that this has helped and good luck,

Dr. E

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Alan M. Engler, MD, FACS


Dr. Engler has answered over 6500 questions on social media sites, including over 3500 on AllExperts alone. His expertise includes breast surgery (breast enlargement with implants, breast reduction, breast lifts), liposuction, eyelid surgery, tummy tucks, facelifts, lipomas, skin cancers, cysts, etc. Dr. Engler has been listed as one New York`s Top Doctors, and as "One of the World's Most Famous Aesthetic Surgeons" (Aesthetic Surgery, TASCHEN Books, Angelika Taschen, Editor). He is the author of 4 books, including "BodySculpture" (a best-selling plastic surgery book on breast surgery, liposuction and tummy tucks), "EyeScapes" (Plastic Surgery of the Eyelids), "Restylane," and "The Slim Book of Liposuction." Dr. Engler has two US Patents for surgical instruments that he's designed, and has appeared on numerous television shows, including The Tyra Banks Show, The Ricki Lake Show (four times), the Dr. Keith Ablow Show and Jerseylicious. Videos of his appearances are available on YouTube (search for "DR. ENGLER"), and his discussion of breast implants, also on YouTube is "How to Choose a Breast Implant." His website is Follow Dr. Engler: @AlanEnglerMD


Dr. Alan Engler is a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York and the author of BodySculpture - Plastic Surgery of the Body for Men and Women (ISBN 0966382749) one of the top-selling plastic surgery books on,, as well as EyeScapes - Plastic Surgery of the Eyelids.

Dr. Engler graduated from Yale University (BA, Russian Studies) and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (MD). He did his residency training in General Surgery and, after that, Plastic Surgery, at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York. He is on the faculty of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York in the Departments of both Surgery (Plastic Surgery) and Medicine (Dermatology), and is a Special Lecturer in the Department of Dermatology at Columbia University in New York. He has admitting privileges at Beth Israel Medical Center and Montefiore Medical Center, both in New York.

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