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New Treatment for Stretch Marks

The Palomar Starlux laser has recently been cleared by the FDA for the treatment of stretch marks!  This laser represents the only procedural modality available that has been shown to improve stretch marks.  The initial clinical studies were all performed in Europe, and I am pleased to announce that Palomar has asked myself and Dr. Vic Narurkar to conduct confirmatory studies in the United States.  In addition, we will be refining treatment protocols and developing ways to better quantify results and predict treatment responses.  Please contact us if you would like to be evaluated for inclusion into the clinical trials.

You can view Palomar’s initial press release here.

The Starlux laser is a fractional non-ablative laser that works beneath the skin surface to increase collagen content in the skin. Small columns of micro beams emanate from the laser, penetrate the skin, and work in the dermal layers.  A stretch mark represents an area of the skin that has thinned due to excessive stretching, hormonal changes, or steroid use.  By increasing the amount of collagen in these damaged areas, the skin “plumps,” and the depth of the stretch mark is reduced.  Unlike the older ablative lasers, the skin surface itself is not damaged or abraded, and so many of the undesirable side effects that we saw before with lasers are avoided.  There is virtually no down time, and the major side effect profile involves the potential for hyperpigmentation, or darkening of the skin.  Fortunately, if this occurs, the pigmentary change gradually resolves in most patients.

Because skin types are variable, the response to the treatments are variable, and so results can vary widely, from only a mild improvement to a major improvement.  In general, however, one should see some improvement overall.  In order to achieve the best results, 2 or 3 total treatments may be necessary, and improvement can be noted even as far a year after initial treatment.

I am especially excited about this application for the Starlux laser.  It will allow my “mommy makeover” patients to achieve an even more complete abdominal rejuvenation.  The tummy tuck brings the abdominal area back to pre-pregnancy shape, and the Starlux laser will be able to improve the skin quality and texture.  For those who don’t wish to undergo surgery or don’t need it, this treatment will potentially provide a welcome relief to unsightly stretch marks!

Abdominal before treatment

abdominal stretch marks before treatment

Abdominal after treatment

abdominal stretch marks after treatment

For more information, Dr. Narurkar and I recently participated in an instructional webinar for Palomar Medical.  You can view this webinar at this link. And you can read the original research protocols and results here.

Dr. Carolyn Chang, San Francisco Plastic Surgeon