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Dr. Eliot Ghatan

Dr. Eliot Ghatan: Fighting Stretch Marks with Lasers

May 21, 2013

Written for Scars1 by Michelle Alford

Eliot Ghatan
, M.D., FAAD, FRCPC, is a dermatological surgeon and cosmetic surgeon with twenty years of experience. He received his medical degree from Albert Einstein Medical School and completed a dermatology residency at McGill University. He has worked as a dermatological surgeon at Brooklyn Veteran’s Administration Hospital and as attending dermatologist at the Brooklyn Hospital. He currently has a private practice in Brooklyn, New York.

In addition to publishing numerous articles, Dr. Ghatan wrote Dermatological Differential Diagnosis & Pearls, which is used internationally to train medical students in the field of dermatology.

Dr. Ghatan was exposed to medicine from early childhood. “My mother was a nurse and two uncles were physicians,” he told us. “I spent some time in the office when I was actually very young—maybe ten or twelve years old—and I watched my mother taking care of patients. I thought that this was an area that I could help people.”

He chose to specialize in dermatology late in his time at Albert Einstein Medical School. “I hadn’t had great exposure to dermatology until my fourth year. It was an elective that I did in my last semester, and I was amazed by what can be done and the vast extent of the field. As a dermatologist, you see so many different diseases and help so many different populations of people. It’s a field that treats everybody.”

Dr. Ghatan’s Advice for Patients
  • Seek treatment shortly after the appearance of stretch marks. 
  • Have realistic expectations—Even the best treatments can only decrease, not completely remove, the appearance of stretch marks. 
  • It may take multiple treatments to see results, so plan for at least five treatments. 
  • Consider laser surgery. It’s the most expensive treatment, but it has the best results.

He has tested many treatments for stretch marks, but prefers laser surgery. “Laser is the most effective treatment. Microdermabrasion isn’t as successful. Creams don’t do much for you. The effects will be minimal and take longer, if there’s improvement at all.”

But he emphasizes that lasers aren’t perfect either. “I warn my patients that they should not expect that stretch marks will go away completely. The most they can expect is 50% improvement, and that improvement is not something that’s going to happen after one treatment. Often you need at least five treatments. Patients need to understand that this is not something that will happen overnight. The body needs time to produce new collagen and sort of remodel itself.”

He recommends considering treatment shortly after the stretch marks’ appearance. “Seek help earlier rather than later because most likely the results are going to be better. White stretch marks that are older and deeper, after the skin has thinned out, are going to be more difficult to treat and get positive results.”

Treatments have been improving in recent years and he expects they’ll continue to significantly improve in the next few years. “New lasers, like Palomar’s Icon laser, are penetrating deeper and better instigating collagen production. There is always new technology being developed. I expect that soon we’ll seen treatments that get better results faster.” 

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Last updated: 21-May-13

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