Following the success of the second International Scar Treatment Conference (Scars 2), which took place in Tel Aviv on 21-22nd March 2018, PRIME talks to Ofir Artzi, chairman of the meeting and expert in the field of lasers and aesthetic dermatology
What are the benefits of an event like SCARS 2 and why do you believe an event dedicated to scars is needed?
Scars affect many of us on a daily basis, being the concern of every second person. Scars are a common complication of the wound healing process following an accident, surgery or disease, leaving the person affected resentful of their flaw. There are many plastic surgery, dermatology and aesthetic conferences around the world; however, the amount of time dedicated to treating scars at these meetings is rather low, usually only giving the topic a few sessions. It’s actually a pretty huge subject with an increasing amount of research and new treatment options available. Events like Scars 2 enables us to elaborate on the progress made so far, and bring together all the knowledge and experience in the field, putting the broad topic of scars into the spotlight to raise a new level of awareness.
Are delegates searching for the same treatments or are there specific protocols depending on the country of origin or ethnicity of the patient?
There is no doubt that scarring is an international problem; however, patients from different countries will receive different treatments. The country, type of scar, skin tone, age of the patient, and the expertise of the physician will determine the approach used.
Scars 2 brought together knowledge and experience from different cultures and backgrounds, with the best scar experts from around the world coming to share their knowledge. We had speakers travelling from Thailand, Hong Kong, Germany, Italy, USA, Australia, and the UK sharing their unique methods and revealing their tricks and tips. Sharing knowledge is the key to maximizing results.
Do you believe that events like SCARS 2 help build consensus around treatment protocols for specific concerns and even brings forward new treatment ideas?
Yes, absolutely. We established Scars 2 after a successful initial meeting in Israel which brought much interest from overseas.
Two of the main messages we wanted to communicate at Scars 2 were that scars are a medical condition and that they can be treated and minimized.
We must bury outdated beliefs that scars cannot be treated and improved, people no longer have to accept and live with their scars. Unfortunately, a surprising amount of doctors are not familiar with current anti-scar technology. The lack of knowledge leads to patients being left untreated.
On the final day of the conference, all the speakers gathered to come up with specific, evidence-based recommendations of how to use energy based devices in scar treatment. This consensus will be published as a paper series, supporting our goal to build a consensus and provide treatment protocols for different types of scars.
Have you witnessed a progression in the capabilities of the treatments and the underlying technology?
Over the last 15 years, there have been huge developments in the treatments available for scars. Previously, doctors had limited options which meant limited results. Energy based devices have become an integral part of scar treatment. Every year we see more and more light, sound, temperature, and pressure based technologies used successfully in scar remodeling and prevention. In addition, there has been a refinement of the different old technologies over recent years, which allow us more precise and predicted tissue response. Along with the progression of technologies, there is a growing number of drugs available today which have become a valuable method of scar treatment. Today, we know that when it comes to treatment ‘one size does not fit all’ in relation to the patient, the type of scar, the scar components, and its severity and there must be a tailored combination of treatments applied for optimum results, i.e. lasers, drugs and physical therapies. At Scars 2 all modalities were presented and discussed with world-renowned experts presenting their combinations. Out of the many abstracts received, we selected what we feel were the 10 most innovative and shared their findings and ideas at the conference; an important practice in this continuously growing field.
What are your current go-to products and devices for scar management?
The type of treatment depends on three main factors: the patient, (age, gender, skin type) the scar, and previous treatments. What is the type of scar? Is it flat, pigmented, elevated, keloid, depressed? What was the cause of the scar? Has the patient received any previous treatment, and if so which type? After understanding the unique clinical picture of a certain scar/scar component in the patient, I can formulate a customized treatment plan. There are around 40 different interchangeable technologies I regularly use on my patients, but two of my go-to products include:
- Pulsed-Dye Laser: These vascular lasers are great for scar prevention and remodeling. I use the Vbeam from Syneron Candela
- Co2 Laser: Fractional ablative lasers are a ‘must have device’ for treating scars. I use the ‘Encore’ laser by Lumenis as I think this is the best fractional ablative CO2 laser in the field of scar treatment.
Are there any exciting new technologies or devices you are looking forward to using?
At Scars 2, looked at all new technologies and techniques available in the field of scars treatment.
One, in particular, is a novel 3D stereoscopic imaging device (Cherry3, Cherry imaging, Israel) to assess the change in volume of keloids and hypertrophic scars following various therapeutic approaches. This device is an easy to use, compact, portable, hand-held, imaging system that scans and generates 3D modeling of any scar in real time. The device allows a rapid and precise evaluation of scar volume after an intervention, thereby providing valuable visual and quantitative information of scar volume to the patient and physician. These properties facilitate the tasks of monitoring treatment results, comparing different intervention modalities and choosing the best treatment intervention for a given patient within the setting of routine clinical practice.
Another new concept for a relatively new device is the use of fractionated non-ablative picosecond Nd:YAG lasers (Picoway, Syneron Candela) for the treatment of the hyperpigmented component of scars.
One final very interesting device is an innovative non-laser, non-painful thermo mechanical system for fractional ablation (Tixel, Novoxel, Israel). Thermal energy is transferred to the skin, decomposing stratum corneum and creating micropores in the epidermis by evaporation. Using this device, we may no longer have to inject to deliver drugs into certain scars as this technology permeates scar tissue for topically applied medication.
To learn more, visit: http://scars2018.herokuapp.com