Air Force Doctor Uses Laser Skin Treatment to Heal Burn Victims

Lt. Col. Chad Hivnor has a passion for helping people.

He’s using that passion to help burn victims and people with scars achieve functional improvements through fractional laser therapy.

“It works by focally destroying a specific area of scar tissue, allowing the normal skin around the laser-treated area to heal,” said Hivnor, who is the program director of the dermatology residency at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center on Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland, Texas. “The softness of the scar is the most dramatic change.”

These treatments have helped to improve the lives of his patients by correcting some of the little things, like a blocked tear duct. They can also help correct large issues, for patients like Capt. Jeremy Baggett, who injured his hand and had limited range of motion. After the treatment, he was able to do everything he could before, like push ups and hold his child’s hand.

Making a big impact in people’s lives with relatively simple procedures drove Hivnor to be one of the few doctors in the country to perform fractional laser treatment. Over the years, he has seen his fair share of skepticism, as well.

“I was told this was crazy, ‘you can’t put a burn on top of a burn,’” said Hivnor, about silencing his critics, “And yet it was there. You can’t refute (the results).”

The progress his patients made after the lengthy fractional laser sessions was all the proof he needed and was enough to get a three year, $1 million grant for research on his techniques.

“It may seem small, but just being able to use your hands is a big achievement,” Baggett said.

Those little things are what continue to drive Hivnor in helping his fellow service members.

By Staff Sgt. Brad Sisson, Defense Media Activity

(Staff Sgt. Robert Barnett contributed to this article.)

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  • CPM

    There’s also a related feature on the work of Wilford Hall’s Col. Wolf using regenerative medicine to help his fellow service members here: . Impressive work by both these fine soldier doctors!