New laser technology helping burn patients at Eskenazi Health

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Sept. 26, 2014)-- New, cutting-edge laser technology is now available to patients through a local hospital.

The Richard M. Fairbanks Burn Center at Eskenazi Health has become the first in the Midwest and only the third in the nation to offer this groundbreaking technology used in healing scars left by devastating burn injuries.

A Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL) was made possible by a gift from Sandy Eskenazi, daughter of Sidney and Lois Eskenazi, the central Indiana couple who provided a $40 million gift to the Eskenazi Health Capital Campaign and for whom the Eskenazi Health system is named. Sandy is a physician assistant based in Denver.

"It hit me in the heart. This is something that I really wanted to do.  I have seen some pictures, before and after treatments. It is just amazing," said Sandy Eskenazi.

Dr. Rajiv Sood used the laser on Friday for the first time. Gary Vaal was one of Dr. Sood's patients.

Vaal body was nearly forty percent burned after a work accident last year. Vaal will undergo additional treatments using this laser. The procedure takes about ten minutes.

"I've got a few hot spots on this arm and on my chest. It will be like a normal long arm. I am glad they have this technology," said Vaal.

PDL therapy uses a concentrated beam of light that targets blood vessels in the skin. The light is converted into heat, destroying the blood vessel while leaving the surrounding skin undamaged. The laser, which costs around $100,000, utilizes yellow light allowing for no long-term skin damage.

The therapy lightens the appearance and decrease morbidity of hypertrophic burn scars, which can cause itching, pain, numbness and limitation of movement in patients recovering from burns.

"The laser is a new concept. It allows us to address the superficial layer of skin and the deeper layer of skin, both in one setting. We've never been able to do that before.  Burns are forever. Anything we can do to remove that stigmata of a burn, or burn skin, color different, texture will help them reintegrate better and forget the incident," said Dr. Sood.