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Aesthetic Lasers Blog

Imagine the astonishment as Ponce de Leon, the Spanish explorer credited with discovering the legendary Fountain of Youth in 1513, teleports to present time. He would the manifestation of disappearing wrinkles, shaving bumps, spider veins, tattoos, scars, acne, hair removal and the effects of similar aesthetic rejuvenations, not with an elixir but with light.

Nearly 500 years later, people still clamor to be ever-young, ever-beautiful and ever-healthy, and aesthetic and surgical lasers help enhance their appearance, self-esteem, personal comfort and quality of life. And thus, they are willing to pay for the benefits of LASER treatment.

We have over 25,000 medical spas on the U.S., and more physicians are adding aesthetic services to their practice every month. Many surveys indicate that patients prefer a medical rather than a spa environment to receive laser procedures, and therefore doctors of many specialties will offer various  non-invasive light-based treatments to their own patients in years to come. Lasers are main stream of aesthetic medicine.

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  • Filed under: Laser Treatments, Market | businesses, MedSpa
  • Dangers of Spa Hopping

    We stumbled upon an old (March 7, 2007) article in ABC News – Spa Left Woman With Skin ‘Like Raw Meat’ – a story about a 52-year-old stay-at-home mom who saw the ugly side of medical spas. She went to one in Panama City, Fla., for what she thought was a routine procedure – laser treatments to remove sunspots on her back and chest.

    “They put a topical ointment on my skin called Leveline, which intensified the laser,” Miles said. “After it was over, I was already burning. During the treatment, it was very excruciating pain, but I was lead to believe that this was normal.”

    The pain, which she said felt like someone pressing hot curling irons in to her back, was not normal. After leaving the spa, she said that her back was on fire and that she was vomiting from the severe pain. When she finally looked in a mirror, Miles was shocked at what she saw.

    “It looked like raw meat. I had horrendous blisters all over it. It was in a zebra-stripe type pattern. It was scary,” she said.

    See the graphic pictures of what an IPL machine can do in the hands of an untrained medical spa technician.

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  • Filed under: MedSpa, RS | IPL and Lasers
  • Cellulite – the dimpled, uneven skin that mars the backsides and thighs of women everywhere – is a scourge to bikini-wearers and a squelcher of lights-on romps in bed. No wonder the search for a solution has women shelling out millions. Some of the new light was shed recently in a New York Times article by a few cellulite experts.

    Miracle cures advertised on billboards and all over internet are greatly exaggerated. “At this point, there is no outstanding treatment for cellulite,” said Dr. Molly Wanner, an instructor in dermatology at Harvard Medical School and an author of an evidence-based review of existing treatments in 2008. A lasting remedy would have to address the interplay between skin, fat, connective tissue and underlying muscle.

    Still, treatments abound, from contour-refining lotions and liposuction to massage machines with lasers and light sources. And there’s no shortage of takers. The market for cellulite-reduction devices in the United States was more than $47 million in 2008, said Amy Krohn, a spokeswoman for the Millennium Research Group. It is projected to grow to $62 million by 2013.

    But no treatment has emerged as the gold standard. “Most studies show a 25 to 50 percent improvement after multiple treatments,” Dr. Wanner said. “Some patients have even less improvement, and the effects may go away over time so patients may require additional treatments.”

    Cellulite is a telltale sign that life is a crapshoot. Most women get cellulite after puberty. But men usually don’t. That’s because the connective tissue bands under men’s skin are crisscrossed like a net, keeping their fat more evenly restrained. By contrast, women’s tissue bands are organized in vertical columns, so fat may bulge irregularly.

    “At a normal weight your fat cells fall nicely into valleys of connective tissue,” said Dr. Michael D. Jensen, a clinical professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, who has studied fat for 25 years. “When you get too many fat cells or too big of fat cells now they push up on the roof.” Or, your skin.

    What’s more, women don’t have as thick a roof as men, all the better to show dimples. And thanks to estrogen, women have more fatty reserves.

    It doesn’t stop there. As we age, the connective tissue strands between our skin and muscle, which used to stretch to accommodate weight fluctuations, become inflexible. “Some of the bands tighten down and you get pockmarks with bulges next to them,” said Dr. Brian M. Kinney, an assistant professor of plastic surgery at the Keck School of Medicine at University of Southern California. Voilà, cottage cheese.

    Traditional liposuction removes the fat, but it does not do anything to the inflexible connective tissue or too-thin skin. Laser assisted liposuction does a better job by heating and damaging collagen, which in turn causes connective tissue re-growth. New connective tissue is likely to have a much better flexibility and may result in tighter skin.

    Cellulite is an uphill battle and no single treatment or laser modality can offer a complete cure. Cellulite reduction calls for a complex approach involving multiple laser and non-laser treatments and laser modalities. Few doctors can confidently claim that they have completed the puzzle.

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  • Filed under: LT | cellulite, Research
  • Plastic Surgery Is Not Forever

    There is an excellent story with recommendations for a few typical plastic surgeries in Great Britain published today in MailOnline.

    Anastasia Stephens, 37, a writer and holisitic health expert in London, underwent a surgical procedure to remove hereditary eye-bags that made her look haggard, even after a good night’s sleep. After the cosmetic surgeon had scraped out two bags of fat from beneath each eye, she couldn’t have been happier.

    Ten years later, her eyes had prematurely aged. Having the fat removed had loosened the skin under them, and over time, this has wrinkled more than it would have, and in an unnatural way. Lots of lines developed directly under each lower eyelid where the bags used to be.

    She recently discovered that a few affordable laser procedures could tighten the skin under her eyes and reduce the wrinkles. She saw the effect after the third treatment and was relieved completely as she realised that her condition can be safely treated without the knife, and the results would last for many years to come.


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    Aloette is a new anti-aging product that contains natural skin moisturizing agents. Clinical testing has shown that this herbal blend decreased fine lines and wrinkles while increasing skin firmness.

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    More skin care recommendations by LaserOffers.com

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  • Filed under: LT | skin tightening
  • Does God approve of plastic surgery?

    For many contemplating cosmetic surgery, there’s a search for an answer to “Am I doing the right thing?”

    Beyond concerns of being accused of vanity, those with strong religious views may… Read the full story and express your views.

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  • Filed under: Market | consumers
  • Fraxel Re:pair versus Face Lift

    Last week, Solta Medical presented a study by Steve Weiner, MD at the annual American Academy for Dermatology meeting. The presentation sparked a few discussions among doctors who have had some experience with the “new Fraxel”.

    Fraxel Re:pair is a “non-invasive” laser treatment used for the reduction of fine to moderate wrinkles on the face, neck and chest. “As a plastic surgeon I’ve found this to be the best treatment on the market to date and I don’t anticipate anything will replace it for many years,” said Weiner. Some may argue that Dr. Weiner’s opinion is biased since he did the study on the Solta’s buck and featured his patients at several nationwide webinars promoting Solta’s lasers. However, Weiner’s research clearly shows the advantages of his technique, which are very valuable for many physicians.

    How does Fraxel Re:pair compare to a traditional face lift?

    A face-lift is a surgical procedure under general anaesthesia performed by a plastic surgeon, often in a specialized outpatient center or a hospital. The Fraxel Re:pair is considered to be a non-invasive treatment with the use of CO2 laser technology, which can be done by physicians of different specialties and in a doctor’s office. Results are expected to last up to 10 years. For most patients only one treatment is required, for deeper wrinkles two may be necessary, according to Weiner.

    The laser effectively removes portions the epidermis and heats the dermis to tighten the skin and help with collagen elasticity, referred to as resurfacing. As with other laser treatment the new skin is exposed and wound care is necessary. This is the part where one may question the definition of a non-invasive treatment. After the Fraxel treatment the patient goes home with dressings on the face. The dressings need to be changed every 3-4 hours and you have to stay indoors for 5-7 days. Most patients would arguably call this pretty invasive.

    The Fraxel Re:pair seems to work very well on mildly deep wrinkles, acne scars and brown spots, caused by the sun exposure. With some extra skill and experiens a doctor can work with Asians and Hispanics. Smokers and individuals with heavily tanned, pigmented or very dark skin types are not good candidates for this treatment.

    The cost for Fraxel Re:pair ranges from $1,300 to $6,300, approximately 1/3 the cost for a surgical face lift which can cost more than $10,000.

    LaserOffers comment

    Our medical panel agrees that leaving the issue of cost differential aside, for the vast majority of patients the CO2 fractional treatment with Fraxel will work just as well, if not better than the surgical face-lift. The additional benefit is that the laser actually improves the skin texture, whereas the lift merely stretches the skin.

    Actifirm Post Laser Gel combines skin-soothers like Aloe and Chamomile with a Mushroom-derived, exfoliating enzyme, Mucor Miehi Extract, to inhibit pain and inflammation, while helping renew your skin to its freshest form. You’ll be looking your best in no time.


    More skin care recommendations by LaserOffers.com

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  • Filed under: Laser Clinics, LT | fractional, New Lasers, Research
  • Laser skin resurfacing

    In laser resurfacing, sometimes called “laser peel,” a carbon dioxide (CO2) or and Erbium (Er:YAG) laser is used to remove areas of damaged or wrinkled skin, layer by layer. The procedure is most commonly used to minimize the appearance of fine lines, especially around the mouth and the eyes. However, it is also effective in treating facial scars or areas of uneven pigmentation. Laser resurfacing may be performed on the whole face or in specific regions. Often, the procedure is done in conjunction with another cosmetic operation, such as a facelift or eyelid surgery.

    Laser resurfacing is still a very new procedure. However, it has been shown that in some cases, this surgical method produces less bleeding, bruising and post-operative discomfort than is typically seen with other resurfacing methods.

    About the laser

    Laser resurfacing is performed using a beam of laser energy which vaporizes the upper layers of damaged skin at specific and controlled levels of penetration.

    It’s clear that laser resurfacing may offer a number of advantages over other resurfacing methods: precision, little (if any) bleeding and less post-operative discomfort. However, laser resurfacing isn’t for everyone. In some cases, an alternative skin resurfacing treatment, such as dermabrasion or chemical peel, may still be a better choice.

    All resurfacing treatments work essentially the same way. First, the outer layers of damaged skin are stripped away. Then, as new cells form during the healing process, a smoother, tighter, younger-looking skin surface appears. Laser resurfacing is a new method being used by plastic surgeons to remove damaged skin. Because it is new, there are no long-term data on this technique. However, a number of studies using microscopic examination have shown that the physical changes that occur to laser-treated skin are essentially identical to those that occur with either dermabrasion or chemical peel. Ask your plastic surgeon about the latest facts concerning long-term follow-up.

    For superficial or medium resurfacing, the laser can be limited to the epidermis and papillary dermis. For deeper resurfacing, the upper levels of the reticulas dermis can also be removed. Varied penetration allows treatment of specific spots or wrinkles.

    It’s also important to consider the length of recovery when choosing among the skin-resurfacing alternatives. In general, the more aggressive the resurfacing procedure is, the more prolonged the recovery is likely to be. “Light” resurfacing procedures, such as superficial chemical peels or superficial laser resurfacing, offer shorter recovery times. However, these lighter procedures may need to be repeated multiple times to achieve results comparable to those achieved with more aggressive techniques.

    The best candidates for laser resurfacing

    Men and women of all ages can benefit from laser resurfacing. The ideal patient for laser resurfacing has fair, healthy, non-oily skin.
    In many cases, facial wrinkles form in localized areas, such as near the eyes or around the mouth. The laser can be precisely controlled so that only these specific areas are targeted.

    Patients with olive skin, brown skin or black skin may be at increased risk for pigmentation changes no matter what type of resurfacing method is recommended. Your plastic surgeon will evaluate your skin characteristics and make recommendations accordingly.

    Also, individuals who have taken accutane in the past 12-18 months or are prone to abnormal (keloid-like) scarring or those with active skin infections on the treatment area may not be appropriate candidates for this procedure.

    When healing is complete, the face has a more youthful appearance.

    Remember, having laser resurfacing can help enhance your appearance and your self-confidence, but it won’t completely remove all facial flaws or prevent you from aging. Lines that occur as a result of natural movements of the face – smiling, squinting, blinking, talking, chewing – will inevitably recur. Your plastic surgeon can suggest ways to help you preserve your results by protecting yourself from sun exposure or using maintenance treatments, such as light chemical peels or medicated facial creams. Before you decide to have laser resurfacing, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.

    All surgery carries some uncertainty and risk

    When laser resurfacing is performed by a qualified, experienced surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. However, because individuals vary greatly in their anatomy, their physical reactions and their healing abilities, the outcome is never completely predictable.

    Risks associated with laser resurfacing include: burns or other injuries from the heat of the laser energy, scarring, and obvious lightening or darkening of the treated skin. Also, laser resurfacing can activate herpes virus infections (“cold sores”) and, rarely, other types of infection.

    Additional corrective measures and treatment may be required if healing seems abnormal or delayed or if there is any evidence of abnormal pigmentation or scarring.

    You can reduce your risks by choosing a qualified plastic surgeon who has received special training in laser surgery.

    Planning your surgery

    Not every practitioner who offers laser surgery has the same level of experience and skill with laser use. That is why it is especially important that you find a plastic surgeon who is adequately trained in the procedure.

    One safety measure is to find out whether your surgeon has privileges to perform laser resurfacing with a CO2 laser at an accredited hospital. Even if the operation is to be conducted in your doctor’s private facility, the fact that he or she has privileges to use that same laser in a hospital ensures that the doctor has been reviewed by the institution’s experts.

    In your initial consultation, be frank in discussing your expectations with the surgeon and don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have. Your surgeon should be equally frank with you, explaining the factors that could influence the procedure and the results – such as any abnormal skin condition which has been diagnosed or previously treated, medications you are taking or have taken in the past, previous skin injuries or previous operations.

    Your surgeon will discuss your medical history, perform a routine examination and photograph the area to be treated. He or she should explain the procedure in detail, along with its risks and benefits, the recovery period and the costs.

    Remember, cosmetic laser treatments can be expensive and are usually not covered by medical insurance. On rare occasions, the procedure can be used for modification of scars or the removal of pre-cancerous skin growths. These conditions could meet the criteria for “medical necessity,” usually required by insurance companies before coverage will be provided. Your plastic surgeon can advise you how to contact your insurance carrier to determine whether benefits will be allowed in such instances.

    Preparing for the laser procedure

    Fine, vertical creases or “lipstick lines” are commonly treated with laser resurfacing.
    Depending on your individual needs, your surgeon may recommend that you begin a pre-treatment plan to prepare the skin for resurfacing.

    At the time of the procedure, you will be given specific instructions on how to care for your skin immediately following your laser treatment. Your surgeon may also instruct you to follow a specific maintenance regimen for long-term care of the skin to maximize the benefits of the procedure.

    Within about five weeks after treatment, the upper lip is noticeably smoother.
    While you are making plans, be sure to make arrangements for someone to drive you home if you will be given tranquilizers or sedation for your laser treatment.

    Types of anesthesia

    Laser resurfacing is most commonly performed under local anesthesia with sedation, especially when it’s used to treat localized areas of the face. You’ll be awake but relaxed, and will feel minimal discomfort. For more extensive resurfacing, your surgeon may prefer to use general anesthesia, in which case you’ll sleep through the procedure.

    The procedure

    Laser resurfacing is a relatively quick procedure. It usually takes anywhere from a few minutes to 1 1/2 hours, depending on how large of an area is involved.

    When the imperfections are especially deep, your surgeon may recommend that the resurfacing be performed in two or more stages.

    During the procedure, the activated laser is carefully passed back and forth over the skin until the surgeon reaches the level that will make the wrinkle or scar less visible.

    When the procedure is over, your surgeon may choose to treat the resurfaced skin with applications of protective creams or ointments until healing is complete. Some surgeons choose to apply a bandage over the treated areas which will cover and protect the healing skin for the first five to ten days.

    After your treatment

    You are likely to experience some mild swelling and discomfort after laser resurfacing. However, this can be controlled with ice packs and medications prescribed by your surgeon.

    If a bandage was applied after your procedure, it may be replaced with a fresh one after a day or two. After about a week or so, your bandage will be removed and a thin layer of ointment may be applied to the skin. Once this stage is reached, your surgeon will provide instructions on how to gently wash and care for your healing skin.

    During this phase of healing, it is very important that you not pick the crusts off the treated area or scarring may result. Most patients are free of crusts by about 10 days post-operatively. Redness may persist for several weeks.

    Getting back to normal

    Your new skin will usually remain bright pink to red in the weeks following the procedure. Your surgeon may prescribe medications to make this color subside more rapidly. After about two weeks or so, most patients can safely apply makeup to conceal this temporary color change. However, some pinkness may remain for up to six months.

    It is rare, some patients may find that their healing skin is unusually sensitive to the makeup that was regularly used prior to treatment. In such instances, makeup should be avoided until a substitute can be found or until the healing progresses to a point at which the makeup no longer causes a reaction.

    Above all, in the months following treatment, it’s important to protect the treated area from the sun until all the color has returned to normal. Using sun protection regularly will help to maintain your results and reduce the chance of any new sun damage to your skin.

    If you must be in the sun, apply a strong sun block with an SPF of 15 or higher and shade your face with a hat or visor. If resurfacing was performed around the eyes, it’s best to also wear good quality sunglasses with UVA and UVB 100 percent filters.

    Your new look

    The final result from laser resurfacing may take several months to fully appear. However, once the pinkness fades, patients usually notice a significant improvement in the quality of their skin and a fresher, smoother appearance.

    It’s important to understand that your results will be long-lasting, but not permanent. Remember, your new skin is not immune to the effects of aging. In the months and years following your laser treatment, your natural facial movements will eventually cause any “expression” lines to recur.

    As with other methods of skin rejuvenation, laser treatments can usually be repeated. However, by protecting yourself from the sun and following a skin-care regimen recommended by your plastic surgeon, you can help maintain your rejuvenated look.

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  • Filed under: Laser Treatments, LT | skin resurfacing
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