Body Recon Plastic Surgery

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Body Recon Clinic Epworth

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Laser Therapies Geelong

This section has been developed for patients wanting more information on laser therapies. This page covers the principles of laser treatment, the difference between laser and intense pulsed light or IPL machines, and the range of lasers available at Body Recon.

If you are more interested in what lasers can do for your skin instead

What is laser?

Laser stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Laser light is composed of particles called photons and have the same colour and phase. Essentially, this means that a laser will emit a pure wavelength of light. Medical lasers use this property to induce a certain effect on a particular target on the skin, be it melanin (hair, pigmentation), blood (vascular lesions or spider veins), porphyrins (bacterial oil/acne) or water.

What is selective photothermolysis?

One of the benefits of laser treatment over other modalities of treatment (such as IPL) is the specificity of laser treatment. For example, to remove a brown spot in the skin, it may be possible to use liquid nitrogen to burn it off, however, by doing so, this will non-specifically affect the normal skin as well as the brown spot. Lasers are able to selectively treat the brown spot with minimal or no disruption to the normal skin. Lasers are able to specifically target a particular problem when the principles of selective photothermolysis are used.

Selective photothermolysis is the principle that allows lasers to be used to target a specific area/problem in the skin with minimal or no disruption to the surrounding normal skin. For selective photothermolysis to be successful, the following must occur (we will use the example of removing an unwanted blood vessel with laser to illustrate each point);

  • The laser wavelength must be highly attracted to the target e.g 1064nm laser wavelength (NdYAG) is targeted to haemoglobin which is present in blood vessels
  • The target must dissipate heat slower than the surrounding skin, and therefore accumulate heat from the laser e.g the blood vessel targeted by the 1064nm wavelength will dissipate heat energy slower than the surround skin, therefore it accumulates heat and this causes the vessel to shut down. The laser energy also must be applied to the target quickly enough for the target to heat up to a critical temperature.
  • The laser wavelength must reach the target e.g the 1064nm wavelength needs to be able to penetrate down to the level of the capillary it is targeting.

If we can achieve this, it is then possible for laser to specifically target a particular problem in the skin, whether it be a freckle, capillary, or excess hair, without damage to the normal skin.

What is the difference between laser and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)?

Lasers have specific wavelengths to target a specific problem. The KTP laser, for example has a wavelength at 532 nanometres (nm) that targets melanin and haemoglobin. This makes it very specific to problems such as small capillaries, rosacea, freckles, sunspots and superficial pigmentation.

IPL is a broad spectrum of light that has a large band of wavelengths. Hence, it tends to target a number of problems simultaneously and not as selectively as laser. If for example, you are trying to selectively target capillaries, the broad band of light wavelengths emitted by IPL will target capillaries as well as other parts of the skin. The amount of energy delivered to the intended target will also be delivered to the unintended targets, and at times, cause unnecessary skin damage.

Although versatile, IPL devices are as a rule less effective at a given task than a laser dedicated to the purpose.

At Body Recon what does each laser and laser wavelength do?

This graph is an illustration of the relative attraction of each laser wavelength to a particular target in the skin. It also illustrates the band of wavelengths which IPL machines cover. Again, as lasers only emit a single wavelength of light, they are much more specific than IPL at targeting a particular problem. The diagram below depicts the various laser wavelengths and the relative attraction of each wavelength to the particular targets in the skin.

What is the difference between ablative and non-ablative lasers?

Ablative lasers such as Erbium and fractionated lasers are attracted to the water in skin and as a result remove the top layers of the skin. These are usually used to reduce wrinkle and improve skin texture/tightness. They are also usually the laser of choice when treating deeper damage and pigmentation. Often there is some downtime associated with ablative.

Non-ablative lasers such as the NdYAG, Q Switch NdYAG and KTP are attracted to melanin (skin pigment/hair pigment) or oxyhaemoglobin (in blood) and only selectively remove skin problems such as excess pigmentation or capillaries, leaving the rest of the skin intact. There is no/little downtime with non-ablative laser.

A summary of the various lasers at Body Recon

(Wavelength / name of wavelength / name of laser)

532nm / KTP laser / QX MAX- This wavelength 532nm is attracted to both haemoglobin and melanin. It is therefore suited to treating small capillaries, port wine stains (red birthmarks), sunspots/ superficial pigmentation, freckles, multi-coloured tattoo’s and certain skin lesions like skin tags and seborrhoiec keratosis. However, the KTP laser is not suited to the treatment of larger broken capillaries, as its short high energy pulses cannot heat the capillaries adequately. For pigmentation problems such as sunspots and freckles, KTP laser can be very effective as these short and high energy pulses tend to shatter the melanin particles to help clear them from the skin.

1064nm / Q-Switch Nd:YAG laser / QX MAX – The q switched 1064nm is a very deeply penetrating laser that is suited to treating deep dermal pigmentation, stimulating new protein production to smooth skin, as well as for tattoo removal of most ink colours (except for red and green). Again, this laser is q-switched which means it produces very short pulses high energy pulses, which tend to have a mechanical effect on its target rather than a thermal effect. Therefore, pulses from this laser are not particularly suited to removal of hair or capillaries, as these targets require a laser with a more thermal effect. For a difficult-to-treat condition such as melasma, the q-switch is especially effective in breaking apart pigments only and not cells. This means that pigment destruction can take place without ablating the skin – a unique feature that also allows other treatment possibilities, such as the safe and effective removal of complex, multi-colored tattoos.

1064nm / Nd:YAG laser / SP Dynamis – The 1064nm is a wavelength that is emitted by the SP Dynamis laser for treatment of leg veins, deeper facial veins, and for laser hair removal safe even for darker skin types. The 1064nm wavelength has only a small attraction to melanin, but a high affinity for haemoglobin. This makes it an ideal laser for the treatment of veins/hair on all skin types from fair to dark. Because NdYAG has a deeper penetration that other hair removal systems, we are able to bypass melanin on the skin, allowing us to treat all skin types.

2940nm / Fractionated YAG laser / SP Dynamis – The 2964nm is primarily attracted to the water in the skin. Its fires small columns of laser energy into the skin to promote skin remodelling and new protein formation. The use of this wavelength is most suited to the treatment of acne scars, other scars, and melasma, sun damage, deeper pigmentation, wrinkles/fine lines, and general skin texture.

2940nm / Erbium YAG laser / SP Dynamis – The 2964nm Erbium main target is the water in skin. With water as its main target, the erbium laser use a full beam to ablates or remove layers of skin for the purpose of resurfacing wrinkles or removing skin lesions. Also , because it has such a high affinity to skin water, it does not manage to penetrate the skin very deeply, as there is water throughout the top layers of the skin, and the laser energy is attracted to this water and stops there. The 2964nm is fantatsic for removal of nevi, skin tags, actinic chelitis, warts, deep dermal wrinkles and solar lentigo’s. We are also able to offer light to deep peels or full ablative procedures.

About

At Body Recon we offer only medical grade laser treatments for our clients using the best laser systems available. Body Recon has two of the highest performing laser systems in the world, the state of the art Fotona SP Dynamis (Nd:YAG 1064nm and Er:YAG 2940nm) and our Fotona QX MAX (Q-switch Nd:YAG 1064nm.) These systems have amazing flexibility to treat various conditions and our highly trained laser technicians will be able to devise a personalised treatment plan for you.

Our staff are highly experienced in laser therapies. They have completed their laser safety courses and have had experience and extensive practical training with the best in the industry.

Our Fotona lasers incorporate the most modern cutting edge technology to make your laser treatment as comfortable and effective as possible. The sensation felt with laser is generally heat accumulation rather than pain and at Body Recon we counteract this with Zimmer cooling devices that blow refrigerated air onto the treatment area, making our treatments as comfortable as possible. Where possible we also use specially formulated numbing cream to increase your comfort.

In short, we provide safe medical laser treatments under correct medical supervision to ensure you receive the best results possible.

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