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Dr. Joel L. Cohen, Surgical Scars, Scar Treatment

Dr. Joel L. Cohen: Using Technology to Tame Tough Surgical Scars

May 20, 2009

Joel L. Cohen, MD is the Director of AboutSkin Dermatology and DermSurgery, PC (Englewood, Colorado). He is fellowship-trained in Mohs dermatologic surgery and cosmetic dermatology and is also an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Colorado Medical School. Dr. Cohen is a Past Chair of the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) Patient Education Committee, a Past President of the Colorado Dermatologic Society and a former Board director of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery (ASCDAS).Dr. Cohen has published over 85 articles, books, and book chapters in dermatology, including co-authoring Aesthetic Rejuvenation: A Regional Approach(McGraw Hill, 2008) and numerous papers on botulinum toxins and fillers. Dr. Cohen also participates in many FDA-regulated cosmetic clinical trials, ranging from injectable cosmetic agents to lasers and topical therapies. He is on the editorial staff for several dermatological journals and an invited speaker at numerous aesthetic and dermatologic meetings.

Practical Advice from Dr. Cohen

If you are seeking treatment for a scar:

1. Find a Board-certified dermatologist

2. Look for someone who is trained on the latest lasers

3. Look for someone with an in-office laser which generally means controlled and consistent settings

4. Look for someone recognized as an expert (lecture invitations) by ther peers

5. Evaluate their “before” and “after” photos

LISTEN to Dr. Cohen DISCUSS: Acne Treatment

The State of the Art


Joel L. Cohen, M.D. is a 3rd generation dermatologist. That legacy has led him to take on some of the most difficult-to-treat scars. In particular, Dr. Cohen has developed a specialty in treating facial scarring that results from skin cancer surgery. When skin cancer develops on the face, it is usually removed surgically in a complex procedure. Dr. Cohen is trained in this surgery (called "Mohs," after Dr. Frederic Mohs, its surgical inventor), which is designed to minimize the amount of removed tissue. In addition Dr. Cohen has developed an expertise in treating the scars left after the surgery.

Dr. Cohen uses a variety of techniques for treating these difficult scars- ablative lasers, injectable fillers, and fractionated lasers all are part of his arsenal. Scars take time to treat. These tools are deployed at different times, as a scar heals, and treat different aspects of it- from the shape of the scar to its coloration.

This surgical expertise also helps Dr. Cohen optimize cosmetic procedures for more moderate conditions such as post-acne scarring. In this area, lasers and fillers have largely replaced the “old school, last resort” method of punch grafts.

Advances in technology have helped Dr. Cohen help patients. In particular he says, the newer generation of ablative lasers offer significantly less downtime. They also help remove redness. Other exciting areas of emerging dermatological therapy that Dr. Cohen sees include the use of excimer (ultraviolet) lasers to treat the de-pigmented skin in vitiligo and the use of biological therapies in treating psoriasis.

Dr. Cohen is cautious about other emerging therapies such as growth factors. “There is very little data,” Dr. Cohen states. “Double-blinded, controlled studies are what is needed to show efficacy." When it comes to some other emerging practices in aesthetics and scar treatment, Dr. Cohen is concerned. The use of lasers in medical day spas is one such area. “I see a laser burn every week [from poorly trained practitioners]," he says, cautioning those seeking treatment for their scars to find a Board-trained dermatologist, trained in lasers and recognized as an expert by their peers. “Be sure,” Dr. Cohen says, to look at the “before” and “after” pictures. Sounds like advice well worth taking!

Surgical Scar Healing After Treatment

View More Images from Dr. Joel L. Cohen

View More Scar Treatment Images in the Results Gallery

Last updated: 20-May-09

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