Last Updated: May 11, 2011
Laser scar removal can reduce the appearance of hypertrophic scars, keloid scars and atrophic scars by 60 to 80 percent and help prevent reappearance. People with darker skin tones or those who have dermatitis, cystic acne, or psoriasis may not be good candidates for laser scar removal. Those taking medications such as isotretinoin for cystic acne must stop using the medication for six months prior to the procedure.
During the treatment, a special laser is moved across the scar, vaporizing and/or removing a layer of skin in the process. The treatment reveals a more natural-looking skin layer which heals over time, minimizing scar appearance. Doctors now have a variety of lasers available, including the CO2 laser which is best suited for acne scarring, the Er:YAG laser which is indicated for scar edges and mild acne, and the 585-nm pulsed dye laser (PDL), which is frequently used to treat keloid and hypertrophic scars. After laser scar removal, patients are asked to cleanse the treated area with a mild soap and apply antibiotic ointment and a bandage. Additionally, medicated creams can be prescribed to help the scar fade.
The procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia in an outpatient surgery center, doctor’s office, or hospital. Treatment duration can range from ten minutes to just over an hour. Due to the diversity of scar issues, the potential for repeated treatments per scar, and the combination of treatments that may be necessary, there is no way to estimate cost before you consult a surgeon.
Laser tattoo removal is the most common and effective method for erasing unwanted tattoos. The procedure is gaining popularity among people who were inked in their youth, and now regret their seemingly permanent decisions. Ideal candidates for laser tattoo removal include people with fair to medium complexions who have dark ink tattoos. The bigger the contrast (dark ink on light skin), the more effective the removal process since the laser seeks contrast to target the appropriate pigments. Nevertheless, laser treatments are also effective on people with darker skin and with mixed ink colors, though more treatments may be necessary to achieve optimum results.
During the procedure, the laser fragments the ink with short pulses of intense, concentrated light. The wavelengths used and method of delivery are specifically intended to target only the tattooed pigments, without affecting the surrounding skin. Various laser lights are used for different ink colors. Black ink is easiest to eliminate as it absorbs the full light spectrum, while red, blue and green require more targeted laser pulses.
The laser light is absorbed by the tattooed pigments, making them break into smaller particles. The body's immune system then removes the tattooed particles. Laser tattoo removal may involve one to ten treatment sessions, each treatment lasting only a few minutes, with four to eight week periods between each session. Side effects of this procedure are uncommon, but may include infection, loss of skin color, blistering, or scabbing. The procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia in an outpatient surgery center, doctor’s office, or hospital.
Laser hair removal is a popular and safe treatment where a laser is used to dispense an intense beam of heated light to remove unwanted hair follicles. Nothing like electrolysis, which entails the removal of each hair follicle, the laser scans a broad area of the body in the removal process. Laser hair removal can remove hair from several areas of the body, including the bikini line, face, upper lip and neck area. The results of the laser treatment can last from seven to 17 weeks before the hair is even somewhat visible.
People with thick and dark hair and light skin are the easiest to treat with lasers. These patients typically see the greatest results and require fewer treatment sessions. Those with dark skin may not be ideal candidates for laser hair removal, but may still benefit from the procedure. Grey, blond and red hairs are more difficult to treat with a laser.
During the treatment, your doctor or nurse will first apply a numbing lotion to the targeted area. A laser is then used to dispense an intense beam of heated light to remove unwanted hair follicles, while preserving the surrounding skin. Patients can return home immediately following the procedure. Normal activities can be resumed immediately; however, patients are asked to refrain from heavy exercise and sun bathing for at least 24 hours. Waxing or depilatory creams cannot be used after laser hair removal. The number of sessions required will vary among individuals. After evaluating initial results, you and your nurse or doctor can decide the optimum number of sessions required to achieve your expectations. Laser hair removal is performed in a doctor's office or laser hair treatment facility.