Non ablative laser surgery - laser skin resurfacing results - risks and benefits

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Non-ablative Laser Surgery

Non-Ablative Laser Surgery

What is Non-Ablative Laser Surgery?

Not all lasers are the same. They fall into two categories; ablative and non-ablative. Traditionally, a laser works by vaporizing the top layer of the skin to remove blemishes, scars and wrinkles. Lasers that remove the top layer of the skin are called ablative lasers and include erbium and CO2 lasers. Lasers that are capable of removing tissue beneath the first layer of skin (in the epidermis) are called non-ablative lasers. Non-ablative lasers are also called “wounding lasers” as they cause a more extensive and deeper “controlled injury” to the skin.

All lasers work by producing a single wavelength (color) of light. In essence the laser produces a controlled injury to the skin that causes just the right amount of damage to promote new cell growth. The ablative laser affects only top layers of the skin and allows for healing of superficial problems due to photo aging (sun damage) or chronological aging. The non-ablative laser surgery removes skin damage that is much more severe and the recovery time with a non-ablative laser is much swifter than it is when conventional ablative lasers (such as the CO2 and erbium type) are used. It is a sophisticated laser skin rejuvenation procedure.

Non-ablative lasers are the newer technology. Instead removing the top layer skin tissue, non-ablative lasers work beneath the surface skin layer to improve skin tone and texture and get rid of wrinkles. During the procedure, a computer is used to control different colors of laser light to correct all kinds of different problems.

In non ablative laser skin resurfacing, for instance, a yellow pulsed light is used to correct such conditions as red or wine colored birthmarks, enlarged blood vessels, scars from acne rosacea or any reddened area of the face (such as a red nose caused by alcoholism.) It can also be used to treat stretch marks.

The green colored ablative laser light is used to correct scars and marks that have a brownish hue to them such as freckles and age spots.

The ruby red laser is used for tattoo removal, age spots, freckles and for general facial rejuvenation.

Ablative lasers remove fine wrinkles from the face. Non-ablative lasers can do that as well as remove lesions, deep scars, deep wrinkles, deadened leg veins and facial hair. Usually your doctor will select the most appropriate type of treatment for you.

Applications of Non Ablative Laser Skin Surgery

The applications of the three types of non-ablative laser skin treatments are effective at:
  • Eliminating fine lines on the upper lip, cheeks, and forehead
  • Smoothing and tightening upper and lower eyelid skin
  • Removing crow's feet around the eyes
  • Softening frown lines
  • Removing freckles and brown spots
  • Removing age spots
  • Removing tattoos
  • Removing stretch marks
  • Removing burst blood vessels
  • Reducing redness in the skin
  • Flattening scars
  • Repairing smoker's lines
  • Smoothing and polishing the complexion in general for a more youthful appearance

The Benefits of Non Ablative Laser Skin Surgery

The benefits of non ablative laser skin surgery are reduced healing time, less risk of infection and less time spent in the doctor’s office. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis and can take anywhere from two minutes to two hours to complete.

If you are light skinned then non ablative laser skincare will work for you. If you have dark skin then ablative erbium laser resurfacing might be preferable as it is less likely to cause hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin).

Another use of the non-ablative laser is for long lasting permanent hair removal. This is because the laser is able to reach below the first layer of skin and kill the root of the hair in the hair follicle. The only drawback of non-ablative hair removal is that it does not work with light hair on light skin and it cause depigmentation in dark skin. It works best on people who have dark hair on white skin.

Non Ablative Skin Surgery - Recommendations

As the non-ablative technology is newer technology it is not always offered by all plastic surgeons. If your plastic surgeon does not offer non-ablative laser treatments it may be simply because he does not own the equipment or have the training. Laser and skin surgery centers are numerous, so it is recommended that you consult with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in order to find a plastic surgeon that is trained in non-ablative laser surgery that is located nearest you.