Laser Skin Acne Treatment
Acne can cause scarring when lesions on the skin rupture and fail to heal quickly. Medical treatments for scars generally involves removing the upper layers of skin in some manner so that it may regrow without the scars. Lasers are a common method of resurfacing the skin in order to treat acne scars.
The two types of lasers that are commonly used for resurfacing the skin are the carbon dioxide (CO2) laser and the erbium, yttrium, aluminum and garnet (Er:YAG) laser. These lasers both produce light with a wavelength that's easily absorbed by the skin. The CO2 laser is an older type of laser with more consistent long term results. The Er:YAG laser generally has a shorter recovery time but the long-term effects aren't as well understood.
The dermatologist may recommend that the patient stop using any acne medication that contains 12 cis-retinoic acid, such as Accutane. This medication may cause laser resurfacing to result in abnormal scarring. Patients will also take anti-viral medication before undergoing the laser resurfacing procedure.
Laser resurfacing is usually performed with only local anesthesia, although some surgeons use twilight anesthesia. A nerve block anesthesia may be required if the treatment area is especially large.
The laser is controlled by computer for more consistent results. It makes a series of passes across the treatment area based on instructions entered by the surgeon. The laser emits pulse of light that vaporize the upper layers of skin. The procedure for both types of lasers is basically the same, although an Er:YAG laser generally needs to make more passes than a CO2 laser.
Laser resurfacing requires a recovery period during which the upper layer of skin grows back. This is generally seven to ten days for treatment with a CO2 laser and three to five days for treatment with an Er:YAG laser.
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