No matter how big or small, burns change the skin – the collagen, the structure, the feeling and the appearance. They also change the individual’s life experience. When an individual suffers a traumatic burn, the remaining scars can remind them of their trauma emotionally and continue bothering them physically by itching, causing pain and irritating a person for years. Thankfully, advanced laser technology can relieve some lasting effects of burns.

“All burns are significant. Burns impacts all aspects of life – work, school, and social interactions,” said Dr. Tait Olaveson, Burn, Trauma and General Surgeon with Steele Lake Specialty. Dr. Olaveson also serves as the Medical Director for the Burn & Reconstructive Center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC). “If we can get things back to as close to normal as possible, it helps patients physically, emotionally and mentally. This kind of healing is not a one-time event but a process.”

When it comes to laser treatments, Dr. Olaveson said most of his patients often undergo multiple procedures, spaced approximately a month apart. The deeper, larger and more severe the burn scars, the more treatments may be needed. Due to the emotional and mental repercussions of suffering a burn, patients undergoing laser treatments at EIRMC’s Burn Center are completely sedated during such procedures.

“We’ve found that laser treatments alleviate symptoms, like pain and itchiness, improve patient’s outcomes and improve appearance, and we strive to deliver those treatments with compassion and empathy for what our patients have been through,” Dr. Olaveson said.

As the only burn center in Idaho, EIRMC provides top-quality care for patients in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, parts of Washington and Oregon. In addition to burns from fire, chemicals, and electricity; they also care for inhalation injuries, diabetic wounds, frostbite, degloving injuries, road rash, and a variety of harsh skin conditions.

“Our team is knowledgeable about severe, acute and chronic burns and they make the process as smooth and seamless as possible,” Dr. Olaveson said. “Plus, as a certified burn center, we have a multi-disciplinary approach – meaning dedicated surgeons, wound specialists, psychiatrists, nutritionists, physical therapists and other experts work together to care for our patients.”