Laser treatment improves Chesterfield model's scars - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Laser treatment improves Chesterfield model's scars

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Rebekah Grover had dreams of being a model, but that all changed after a horrific car crash. Her face was deeply scarred and for a while so was her self-esteem. Now, she's one of the first people in Central Virginia to try a new and improved laser treatment. That treatment is giving the young woman renewed hope.

Lasers have been around and used in medicine for about twenty years, but over the last five years there have been some amazing leaps in the technology. One Richmond doctor says those leaps are allowing him right now to change his patients' lives.

At 17-years-old, it was impossible not to notice Grover. Photos of the aspiring model show a face one could imagine gracing the covers of magazines.

That changed on July 27, 2005. She was 7-months pregnant, driving down River Road in Chesterfield, when her front tire blew. Her car ran off the road, hitting a sewage pipe. It sent her back across the lanes where she slammed into a tree and was ejected.

"I couldn't close my eyes tight enough to try to block it out," Grover recalled.

Grover's face and shoulder shattered the window as she flew out of the car and scraped across the pavement.

There are no images of exactly how extensive her injuries were because she deleted all of the pictures from that time. She says she didn't want to see them but remembers what she looked like it was yesterday.

"The best way they described my face was it looked like hamburger meat," Grover said. "It was so torn up. Nobody would show me."

She starts to cry as she remembers thinking life as she knew it was over.

"I remember my sister the whole time said, ‘It doesn't matter. You're still beautiful. You can get back in it.'"

Her life is changing again right now, this time for the better, thanks to Dr. Travis Shaw. He's using a laser to reorganize the scar tissue and change its appearance. Essentially, the energy of the laser cleans up and smoothes out the scar tissue.

"It's a long-term process with scars," Shaw explained. "It's not the kind of treatment where you walk in and next week your scars are gone. It takes months to really get an improvement, but we are seeing some really fascinating and impressive improvements."

The treatments take about 15 to 20 minutes and are spaced out over a few months. Dr. Shaw says patients could see 50 to 75 percent improvement.

In terms of pain, Shaw says patients describe a little discomfort after a numbing cream is used. Pricing is based on the size of the injury and can run from $200 for a very small scar to close to $1000 for larger scars like severe burns.

"The healing that we can do on the outside for them really makes a big difference for them on how they feel and how they heal on the inside," Shaw added.

That's what Grover is experiencing right now.

What does she think when she looks at her scars in the mirror now? "Amazing, amazing, I didn't think it was possible," she said.

In fact, that's the reason she agreed to be interviewed on camera. Grover said she believes the progress she's made with this procedure will give others hope.

"Everybody tries to tell you, ‘Don't worry about the scars. They're not that big of a deal,' but self-esteem, it affects everything," she added.

Grover is set for her second treatment in a few months. 

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