Healing Touch

An Air Force surgeon at the Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland AFB, Tex., has begun using a new fractional laser to treat battle scars on service members injured in Afghanistan and Iraq. “The laser softens the texture of the scars,” said Maj. Chad Hivnor, pediatric dermatology chief with the hospital’s 59th Medical Wing. He said the laser works by destroying a specific area of scar tissue, thereby allowing normal skin around the laser-treated area to heal. While it can take up to six months to see the improvement, the wait is worth it as the change can be dramatic. Initially, Hivnor used this laser to treat small scars on children to gain experience and familiarity with the device before dealing with the larger scars often seen on wounded warriors. Wilford Hall is one of the few military hospitals in the country with this technology. “It’s an honor for me to be able to help our wounded warriors,” said Hivnor. (Lackland report by SSgt. Robert Barnett)