Cosmetic Surgery - Laser Cosmetic Surgery
Laser is an acronym for "Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation." A laser is a source of a narrow beam of monochromatic (same wavelength or color), coherent (waves all in phase) light that is collimated (does not converge or diverge). With these properties, laser can be a very useful tool to deliver energy to tissue in a well-focused, powerful beam that has uniform and predictable light tissue interactions for the purpose of surgery.
Different laser mediums can generate laser light of different wave lengths and with different light tissue interactions. For example, using carbon dioxide (CO2) as the laser medium, the wavelength of the laser generated is 10.6 µm, and the tissue effect is mostly vaporization, that is heating up the water content inside the cells to explode the cells.
The Nd-YAG laser has a wavelength of 1.06 µm and the tissue effect is photocoagulation that is turning the protein in the cells into a more solid form. The different wave lengths of laser light also determine how deep the laser can penetrate. For example, the CO2 laser has a very superficial effect, affecting only the first few cell layers, while the Nd-YAG laser penetrates deeper into the tissue layer.
Using the appropriate laser energy, the desired tissue effect can be achieved. Using the same example again, the CO2 laser can vaporize off superficial layers of tissue such as removing endometriosis in gynecologic surgery or in facial skin resurfacing in cosmetic application, while the Nd-YAG laser can do deeper tissue coagulation to treat deeper skin tissue, such as tissue tightening.
Laser energy can be applied to improve the look of the skin and the contour of the underlying tissue by remodeling the collagen fibers. Also, the new technology of radio frequency treatment can tighten the tissue, while the ablative laser, such as CO2 and Er:YAG systems can produce good skin resurfacing results. Other forms of non-ablative laser systems can give similar improvements with much less post-operative recovery requirement.
The solution of the appropriate laser or radio frequency energy depends on the desired aesthetic effect and an understanding of the different photon-tissue interaction and the optimal delivery mode. The goal is to resurface skin damaged by the sunlight, other environmental factors, and by the aging process, and to minimize the appearance of wrinkles. Botox injection is an effective adjunct to improving the appearance of an aging face. Laser treatment can be used to treat unsightly leg veins in conjunction with injection therapy.