Lasers: What You Should Know

Cosmetic Surgery Magazine article, posted 2005

“Laser” is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulation Emission of Radiation. “This means there is a high intensity beam of light, and depending on which light source is used, it has certain properties. Lasers with different wavelengths of light will absorb red pigment, brown pigment, water and destroy hair follicles, “explained Dr. Kranson.

“Lasers are used for a variety of medical and cosmetic purposes”

Lasers are used for a variety of medical and cosmetic purposes. These include: reducing or eliminating red spots, blood vessels and brown pigmentation spots; removing unwanted body hair; removing tattoos; and reducing fine lines, wrinkles and acne scars.

Types of Lasers

It is important that the appropriate type of laser be used for each condition. “We use the Ruby Stare Laser for removal of unwanted hair. This laser also has a Q-switched mode to allow us to remove tattoos. We use the Erbium YAG laser to diminish fine lines, wrinkles and acne scarring, and the Pro Yellow for treatment of red blood vessels and brown spots,” said Dr Kranson.

The type of laser used is also dependent on the type of skin being treated. In the past, patients with darker complexion had an increased risk of pigmentary complications with laser procedures. A new development in laser surgery has decreased this risk.

“For hair removal, we can now decrease the risk of pigmentation by using various cooling devices, and by using a device called Epi-Check we can determine the best energy level for a particular skin type. Also by using the Erbium laser to treat fine lines, wrinkles and acne scars, we are able to achieve results with less risk of pigmentary change, “ said Dr Kranson.

“When selecting a treatment center, look for properly trained physicians who have the most up-to-date facilities and equipment.“ Many laser surgeons specialize in different procedures so you need to determine what areas your surgeon has interest and experience in. An important factor is that the center has a variety of lasers. “The more equipment you have with alternative wavelengths, the more able a surgeon is to treat conditions appropriately,” explained Dr. Kranson.

It is also important that the surgeon spends time talking you through the procedure you are considering. By understanding the procedure you are better able to make an informed decision about what you need.

New Technology

Lasers are constantly being developed. Aesculap-Meditec is working on a procedure to treat stretch marks with their Pro-Yellow laser, with clinical trials being conducted in Europe and Australia. “Right now we are able to achieve very good results with lasers. Continued research will bring more applications for laser use in the field of medicine and cosmetics,” concluded Dr Kranson.