By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Samantha A. Lewis Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO-Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) hosted its first Scar Symposium sponsored by Project Comprehensive Aesthetic Restorative Effort (C.A.R.E.) Sept. 15 and 16. The two day course was an opportunity for attendees to share experiences and learn about advance treatments for traumatic scars from a variety of perspectives.
Symposium co-directors Cmdr. (Dr.) Peter Shumaker and Cmdr. (Dr.) Nathan Uebelhoer, both dermatologists, wanted to provide key personnel with information about new advances in technology and practical training in the treatment of traumatic scars from some of the leading experts in the country.
"We are able to apply these new technologies to patients in need and really explore the limits of this technology, explore new frontiers and pioneer treatments to improve function," said Shumaker.
In 2008, When more advanced laser technology for the treatment of scars became available, Uebelhoer and Shumaker decided to use different wavelengths of the laser to help restore the functionality and mobility of NMCSD patients with traumatic scars.
"Based on some early observations of physicians such as Jill Waibel [dermatologist], we began to explore the limits of this new technology and saw some impressive improvements in function in addition to cosmetic enhancements." said Shumaker.
Ubelehouer and Shumaker saw firsthand how this new technology was able to greatly improve a patient's joint function. Uebelhoer noted a particular case of a service member in the Explosive Ordinance Disposal community that had suffered a blast injury to his hand and came to NMCSD's dermatology department for treatment.
"His injuries were so extensive, he had difficulty pulling out change from his pocket," said Uebelhoer. "We began a treatment course, and ultimately the improvement in his hand was so dramatic that he was able to return to full duty."
NMCSD facilitated practical training through video teleconferencing, demonstrating how to use the laser on actual patients. All 40 attendees were able to watch Shumaker, Uebelhoer, Waibel and Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Chad Hivnor perform various types of laser treatments on three separate patients as well as ask real-time questions about the procedures.
The success of the symposium exceeded the expectations of both Uebelhoer and Shumaker and they hope to make it annual event.
"People at the symposium were inspired by our patients, and really excited about the advances we have made here at NMCSD. Many were already asking what's in store for next year," said Shumaker. Uebelhoer added "The 2011 Symposium was NMCSD's inaugural event, and we hope to make this an annual event."
To find out more information on Project C.A.R.E visit http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd/Patients/Pages/ProjectCARE.aspx