Laser Helps Woman with Severe Scars

Published 05/14 2014 05:15PM

Updated 05/14 2014 05:36PM

An acid attack left her suffering with burns on most of her body. Now, new advances in lasers are melting away her scars and giving her her life back.

“More than the pain I could remember the smell of burning flesh,” Tanya St. Arnauld said.

Tanya St. Arnauld remembers vividly when her then boyfriend attacked, spraying corrosive acid in her face.

“I said. Oh my God he’s going to kill me. I have to get out of here,” Tanya said.

She escaped, but not before the entire bottle of acid had been dumped on her, burning 70 percent of her body.

“In the beginning you see holes in your body and you see tissue and it’s so gruesome,” Tanya explained.

She lost huge chunks of hair and much of her mobility multiple skin grafts left mangled scars.

“I was thinking to myself, I’m just 29 and I’m a total handicap,” Tanya said.

But looking at her now, you can see that hope would come when she found one of the top scar experts in the U.S., Dr. Jill Waibel.

“Most doctors don’t even know, let alone patients that we have these great technologies,” Jill S. Waibel, MD, Miami Dermatology & Laser Institute, Assistant Professor Miller School of Medicine, Miami University (Voluntary), Chief of Dermatology, Baptist Hospital, Miami Florida said.

A second laser penetrates deeply into the skin, allowing steroids and other topical treatments to be delivered where it’s needed most.
“In this case it’s Kenilog, which is going to help synergistically flatten the scar,” Dr. Waibel said.

Dr. Waibel says the trick is getting to the scars early. “We’ve found the sooner you get the lasers on the burn scars, we think we can actually prevent the scars from forming,” Dr. Waibel said.

For Tanya, it’s a welcome pain. “I’m anxious to suffer again every month,” Tanya said. “It’s weird to say but I love this pain now because it’s so beautiful after.”

Tanya wants to try to begin rebuilding her hairstyling career that was effectively put on hold as a result of her injuries. Yet more daunting is the prospect of facing her alleged attacker in court during his trial that’s currently scheduled for August.

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