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MacDill opens unique scar treatment clinic for service members

Maj. (Dr.) Thomas Beachkofsky, dermatology element leader assigned to the 6th Medical Group, injects lidocaine into the nose of a dermatology patient, to numb the surrounding area during a laser treatment at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., March 9, 2018.

Maj. (Dr.) Thomas Beachkofsky, dermatology element leader assigned to the 6th Medical Group, injects lidocaine into the nose of a dermatology patient, to numb the surrounding area during a laser treatment at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., March 9, 2018. This specific laser treatment was used to smooth out scarring on the nose. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rito Smith)

A dermatology patient prepares to receive laser treatment on his nose at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., March 9, 2018. The MacDill dermatology clinic gained new capabilities to treat scars and burns. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rito Smith)

A dermatology patient prepares to receive laser treatment on his nose at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., March 9, 2018. The MacDill dermatology clinic gained new capabilities to treat scars and burns. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rito Smith)

A dermatology patient, receives laser treatment on his nose at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., March 9, 2018.

A dermatology patient, receives laser treatment on his nose at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., March 9, 2018. The MacDill dermatology clinic opened up a specialized scar clinic to treat burns and scars. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rito Smith)

An Active duty dermatology patient receives laser treatment for scarring on his neck at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., March 9, 2018.

An Active duty dermatology patient receives laser treatment for scarring on his neck at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., March 9, 2018. He received the treatment to increase his limited range of flexibility caused by scarring. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rito Smith)

Maj. (Dr.) Thomas Beachkofsky, dermatology element leader assigned to the 6th Medical Group, puts a liquid medication on a dermatology patient after a laser treatment at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., March 9, 2018.

Maj. (Dr.) Thomas Beachkofsky, dermatology element leader assigned to the 6th Medical Group, puts a liquid medication on a dermatology patient after a laser treatment at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., March 9, 2018. The medicine is rubbed into small holes drilled by the laser to assist with the healing process. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rito Smith)

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 6th Medical Group officially opened up their new capabilities to treat burns and scars March 9, 2018 at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

Maj (Dr.) Thomas Beachkofsky, a board-certified dermatologist assigned to the 6th MDG, opened a scar clinic in an effort to minimize the impact of these life changing events. The clinic specializes in scarring from chemical burns, thermal burns, blast injuries, traumatic amputation, and surgery.

Although his primary motivation is to improve the quality of life for wounded warriors, he can apply his practice to helping anyone with unwanted or symptomatic scarring regardless of the cause.

“Wounded warriors are often young, motivated, goal-oriented, and otherwise healthy before having their lives suddenly impacted by traumatic injury and scarring,” said Beachkofsky. “They are used to being in control of their lives, these individuals often want to return to the fight as soon as possible and want to resume normal daily activities without impediment from their injuries.”

Beachkofsky began his training in laser and procedural dermatology in 2011 during his dermatology residency at the 59th Medical Wing under the supervision of Col. (Dr.) Chad Hivnor. Subsequently, he went on to become the director of their laser clinic and was responsible not only for the care of his patients, but also the medical education of those dermatology residents and other medical providers that rotated with him.

Upon his arrival to MacDill AFB this past summer, he wasted no time obtaining the necessary supplies and equipment to make these resources available locally and has now officially opened the clinic with these capabilities.

To kick off the opening of the scar clinic, dermatology technicians received hands-on training from Hivnor.

“For me it was a priceless experience,” said Senior Airman Lucky Jeanniton, an aerospace medical technician assigned to the 6th Medical Operations Squadron. “I got to work with someone who is so dedicated to improving the quality of life for our wounded warrior population.”

When asked why he was determined to setup a scar clinic at MacDill, Beachkofsky recalled his experience at the 59th Medical Wing.

“As a resident, I rotated through many of the various dermatology specialty clinics and something special clicked with me while working with the wounded warriors in our laser clinic,” he said. “The men and women I had the honor to meet and care for in this clinic became my heroes and their stories are still vivid in my mind. If there was ever a patient population I felt drawn to support, it was this group.

“Dr. Hivnor started something special at the 59th Medical Wing in terms of his wounded warrior scar clinic. I am glad to have been a part of it and am glad to now offer this level of care to patients at MacDill AFB.”

When it comes to scarring, there are many types and each require thoughtful evaluation and consideration.

“Through the use of different treatment types including multiple laser and light platforms, surgical treatments and multi-specialty care consultation including physical therapy, occupational therapy and plastic surgery, most if not all patients can expect to achieve improvement in their scars,” Beachkofsky said. “Additionally, if we determine a patient needs therapy that is outside of our scope of practice or is not supported by our local resources, we have the connections and relationships to get them where they need to go to get better.”

The term one size fits all is not applicable to scars and burns when it comes to laser treatment.

“A unique aspect of our care is that we begin each encounter with the knowledge that that there is no one-size-fits-all treatment when it comes to the injuries we evaluate and treat,” said Beachkofsky. “Everything we do is adapted to the individual needs of each patient and their type of scarring.

“It is not uncommon for one scar to require the use of two or more laser platforms with a wide range of treatment settings.”

Aside from scarring, one unique group they can provide care for is those patients with amputated limbs. These patients often encounter potentially devastating skin problems as related to the regular wear of prosthetics devices. Excessive sweating, folliculitis and skin infections are all too common and can frequently be prevented or easily treated in the clinic.

Common therapies for this patient population include laser hair removal and treatments to limit and stop sweating in the areas of prosthetic wear.

“My goal is just to make sure patients and providers alike know this service is now available at the 6th Medical Group and my team is ready to help,” said Beachkofsky.

If there are TRICARE eligible patients that would like to be seen for possible treatment of their scarring or other traumatic injuries, their primary care providers need only submit a dermatology consultation request to the referral management center. Alternatively, patients or providers with questions can call the front desk at (813) 827-9372 for further assistance.