Major advances in laser technology has made laser surgery much more effective and safe :
Lasers have been used to treat skin conditions for around 40 years. Initially, argon and carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers were used but there were many side effects such as scarring. However, since the last 20 years major advances in laser technology has made laser surgery much more effective and safe.
Different types of skin lesions :
It is now possible for many different types of skin lesions to be treated successfully with laser surgery. These include birthmarks, tattoos, scars, warts, facial wrinkles and even acne.
Birthmarks are skin abnormalities present at birth. Birthmarks could be port-wine stains, a pink, red or purple discolouration of the skin which can grow darker with age. These can be treated by pulse dyed lasers. Haemangiomas are another common type of birthmark, caused by an abnormal buildup of blood vessels. Haemangiomas may occur as red raised patches to deeper purple areas. Tan coloured lesions or cafe au lait spots and red, purple or blue coloured birthmarks called telangiectasis can also be removed for cosmetic reasons by lasers.
Scars may occur on any part of the body after infections, surgery, injuries, or inflammation of tissue. Acne scars especially are very distressing to teenagers. Scars may be flat, lumpy, sunken, colored, painful, or itchy. These scars can be treated with a variety of different lasers along with steroid injections, and specific dressings. The scars can be flattened, filled or smoothened out resurfacing the skin.
There is also a wide spectrum of laser technologies available for skin rejuvenation. Laser treatment can reduce or completely remove facial wrinkles and restore youthful looking skin.
If the procedure, called a laser peel, is carried out by an efficient and experienced surgeon it is safer than other cosmetic plastic surgery procedures.
Procedure of before surgery :
Before the surgery, medicines are applied to the facial skin for 4 to 6 weeks to prepare the skin. After the procedure proper care must be taken to prevent infections and crust formation, sunburn and infection.
There may be side effects of treatment such as post-treatment pain, redness and swelling which may last for weeks. There could also be scarring as well as resurgence of herpes. In dark skinned women there may be variable pigmentation on the face. However, despite these side effects the results are usually excellent. The latest in skin rejuvenation techniques is skin smoothening.
Warts are benign growths of skin or membrane caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). They are are often hard to get rid of by conventional methods such as surgical removal, putting medicines on the wart, or freezing the wart. Laser removal is thus a good option.
Laser surgery can help remove unwanted tattoos . However, the success of the surgery depends upon the patient's age, skin type, type of tattoo, such as cosmetic, traumatic, or medical, and the tattoos colour, age, size and type of ink used.
Lasers can be used to remove excessive and psychologically distressing hair growth due to hypertrichosis or hirsutism as in PCOD. Several treatment cycles may be required to completely remove the hair. There may be side effects like superficial burns, pigmentation and scarring.
Keloids and hypertrophic scars are difficult to remove by conventional methods. However, certain lasers have been used to improve them and shown promising results. Lasers can also be used to treat seborrhoeic keratoses and skin cancers. However, conventional surgery might be as effective and cheaper.
Violet blue metal halide light (407-420 nm) has been used to treat acne. The laser has a toxic effect on the acne bacteria, Proprionibacterium acnes.