June 8, 2022, marked the 50th Anniversary of one of the most memorable historical photos of the Vietnam War. On June 8, 1972, an American Airforce squadron raided a small jungle village called Trang Bang dropping napalm incendiary bombs in an attempt to flush out the Viet Cong army hiding in the nearby jungle. A photo was taken of a 9-year-old girl running away from the fire and smoke with excruciating burns on her skin as a helpless victim of the war. This photograph, widely known as “The Napalm Girl”, ran on front pages of newspapers all over the world and won a Pulitzer Prize. In time, it became one of the most famous images from the Vietnam War.
The burns to her skin required nearly a year of hospital care and ultimately caused her to live with painful scars covering her arms, legs, and trunk. This girl’s name is Kim Phuc. I met Kim as an adult at a Laser Meeting (ASLMS 2/20/2017) several years ago where she shared the story of her life’s journey after her village was bombed, how her physical scars have been successfully treated in the modern era with lasers and other treatment modalities and how she has dedicated her life’s work as the Founder of the Kim Foundation International, which provides aid to child victims of war.
Scar Revision at Advanced Dermatology and Laser Institute of Seattle
Dr. Greene’s story and life’s work have been an inspiration to me as I evaluate and treat patients in our Clinical Laser Practice – Advanced Dermatology and Laser Institute of Seattle. We see patients with all types of scars including acne scars, post-operative scars, patients who have been in motor vehicle accidents, scars from thermal and chemical burns, self-harm scars, and keloid scars.
Why do people come to see me about their scars? Some of their scars are painful or severely itchy while others want to improve the appearance of their skin deformities. However, a common theme that most patients share with me is that they are ready to move forward with their lives and symbolically let go of the mental anguish that their scars have regularly reminded them of. Many of my patients have experienced the pain of being ostracized and bullied for their skin deformities and scars for many years. Some of these patients have attempted suicide because of the painful memories that their scars remind them of.
In the modern age, we now have many new and successful treatment options for the care of scars. While we cannot always guarantee the total resolution of a scar, we can usually make at least significant improvements in the skin hue, color, and texture. Treatments of scars can also improve bodily function and range of motion with successful outcomes enhancing the overall quality of life.
If you have a solitary scar or multiple scars that you would like to have evaluated, please call Advanced Dermatology and Laser Institute of Seattle at 206-402-4797 for a consultation with our Board-Certified Dermatologist, Dr. Steven Greene, who specializes in the treatment of your condition.