3 December 2019 Featured News

Laser treatment helping kids with burns scars

Queensland kids living with significant burn scarring could experience better long-term outcomes thanks to ground-breaking laser treatment made possible by the generous support of Queenslanders.

The Children’s Hospital Foundation has funded the $278,000 Lumenis Ultra Pulse laser currently being trialled at the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

The laser transforms light into heat that can effectively ‘melt away’ old scar tissue and allow new skin to grow in its place.  This treatment has the potential to reduce the appearance of burns scars and improve function in the affected areas.

Queensland Children’s Hospital director of burns and trauma Professor Roy Kimble said the laser treatment could particularly benefit children with hypertrophic scars (wide, thickened and raised) that typically require years of surgery and are long-lasting, often permanent reminders of a traumatic burn experience.

“Hypertrophic scars can restrict the movement of joints and distort the normal position of anatomic structures such as the mouth and eyelids. The problem is scar tissue does not grow with the body – and young children have a lot of growing to do,” Professor Kimble said.

“This treatment has the potential to help burns heal faster and to reduce the emotional trauma associated with the burn injury, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.”

Five-year-old Charlie Burgess is one of the hundreds of children burned in Queensland every year who could benefit from the burns laser treatment. He sustained full thickness burns to 36 per cent of his body after he accidently pulled a deep fryer off the kitchen bench in 2015, covering himself in hot oil. Charlie spent a total of 39 days at the Queensland Children’s Hospital and underwent 11 surgeries for skin grafting and dressing changes and will need ongoing treatments for many years to come to manage his scarring as he grows.

It’s hoped the introduction of the laser technology will reduce the number of surgical interventions children like Charlie will need in the future by making the tight areas of scarring softer and more pliable.

Children’s Hospital Foundation Chief Executive Officer Rosie Simpson said investing in state-of-the-art medical equipment had the potential to transform the lives of sick and injured kids and their families.

“Last year, the Queensland Children’s Hospital treated more than 1,300 children for burns injuries – and about one third of these required surgery for their injuries.”

“Thanks to our generous supporters, researchers and clinicians can trial revolutionary new treatments like the burns laser to ensure Queensland kids can access the best-possible care available.”

To help us continue to work wonders for sick kids, donate here.