Laser is an intense beam of light with special properties. Technically, it is a light beam which has one specific wavelength, with all waves in strict coherence and phase, with concentrated brilliance [power].
Because of these properties, it reacts with human tissue and materials in special ways. Modern medicine has harvested these properties and put them to good use. Basically laser energy has to be absorbed by the tissue to produce its specific [usually destructive] effect. By varying the different parameters, we can produce specific effects on specific tissues while protecting nearby areas.
The following lasers are commonly used in aesthetic practice:
- Carbondioxide laser: It can destroy surface tissues but also transmits some heat to the surroundings. This heat transmission may be good or bad based on the context.
- Erbium-Yag: Similar to the above but with very little heat transmission.
- Nd-Yag: This one has effects on skin pigment, hair and vessels such as veins. It is used for hair removal, vein treatment, and vascular blemishes. It can also be modified to be used for fat lysis.
- Q-Switched Nd-Yag: This has an extremely short pulse measured in nanoseconds. Hence it is able to concentrate explosive power in a very small time. This is useful to target unwanted pigment and tattoos.
- Diode lasers: A sort of jack of all trades and master of none, it is able to do a wide variety of stuff.
- Alexandrite: Specific for hair removal in fair skin individuals only.
- Pulse Dye lasers: Specific for vascular lesions such as hemangiomas, vascular birthmarks (port-wine stain) and pigmented lesions.
Intense Pulse light (IPL): This is non-laser but still intense pulsed light beam which has been filtered to give out only some wave lengths (colors) while holding back other wavelengths. It is able to produce effects on hairs, pigments, some vascular marks and some forms of acne or rosacea. Its main advantage is that larger spots can be treated with each pulse [lasers generally have smaller spot sizes].
Dr. Mohan Rangaswamy is laser trained. Currently he offers Erbium-Yag laser and IPL. Other lasers are expected to be introduced in time. The applications of Erbium-Yag lasers include the following:
- Removal of small skin lesions, skin tags, warts, blemishes and sun spots
- Reduction of acne marks and depressed scars
- Reduction of superficial pigmented problems
- Laser peels for superficially wrinkled skin, dull skin and skin with unhealthy irregularly pigmented or sun-damaged surface
- Skin tightening for sagging skin by Fractional laser sessions [Similar to Fraxel]
- Improvement of stretch marks.
- Removal of superficial skin cancer
- Removal of Molluscum viral lesions
- Treatment of non-healing wounds with dead tissues.
- Improvement of scars and Keloids
- Skin tightening by deep heating of the skin without damaging the surface [similar to Thermage or Titan but milder]
- Treatment of stretch marks [combined with ablative as above]
IPL is used for
- Face and body hair removals
- Treatment of ingrowing hairs especially i persons of African origin in beard region
- Treatment of hairs causing pilonidal sinus
- Treatment of pigmented lesions on skin
- Treatment of freckles
- Treatment of inflamed or red scars and keloids.
Radio-Frequency Device: This is an advanced energy delivery device that uses Radiowaves to send energy to the target. It is non-specific [unlike lasers] but can be very precise with minimal heat transmission to surrounding tissues. It offers precision, less bleeding and quick healing with little pain in post-operative period. Dr. Mohan uses the RF for a variety of applications. Collectively, this form of surgery is called Radiosurgery. Some examples are:
- Skin lesions which need to be removed: tags, warts, tumors
- For biopsies of skin tumors and excisions
- For removal of Cholesterol deposits on eyelids [called Xanthelasma]
- Reduction of under-arm sweat/odor by reducing the glands under the skin
- Genital warts
- Blepharoplasty: see under cosmetic-face-blepharoplasty
- Lip reductions
- Vulvo-vaginoplasty [vaginal cosmetic surgery]
- Adult circumcisions
- Rhinphyma etc.