Lasers and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) - Austin, TX
Lasers and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) can provide excellent results in the treatment of a long list of skin problems.
There are many lasers and IPL choices. A laser is a source of high-intensity light tuned to a specific single wavelength. IPL, on the other hand, delivers a broader spectrum of wavelengths, rather than the single wavelength of a laser. The light energy is preferentially absorbed by target tissue selected for treatment, such as blood vessels, tattooed skin, a brown spot, or hair follicles, for example (see list above). The absorbed energy produces heat in the target tissues.
Optimal treatment requires not only the selection of an appropriate laser or IPL, but also proper settings and technique. Here are 7 factors your doctor should be thinking about carefully when planning your treatment.
1. Are You a Good Candidate?
Your doctor, in consultation with you, must establish that you are likely to benefit from treatment. Then, in addressing your particular requirements, your doctor will customize your procedure.
2. Are We on the Right Wavelength?
Your doctor must choose the correct light device to obtain the best outcome. The optimal wavelength will be well absorbed as it is pulsed over the target. The aim is to destroy the target, but not harm surrounding tissue. Also, as different wavelengths penetrate to different depths, the depth of the target must also be considered.
3. How Much Light Energy?
How much energy to apply to the pulse of light? Too little energy will not adequately destroy the target or deliver long-term success. Too much will cause collateral damage to surrounding tissues. Your optimal energy level should be within the therapeutic window, giving good results but not causing collateral damage.
4. Shorter or Longer Pulse Duration?
The duration of the light pulse should be selected based on what’s being treated, the size of the target, and type of laser.
5. What’s Your Skin Type?
Your skin type is important is determining wavelength, pulse duration, and light energy level. Darker skin colors tend to absorb more light energy. This tendency increases the risk for burns, unless appropriate adjustments are made. This pertains especially to patients with a tan. If you have a tan, you will get better results with less risk of complications if you schedule your treatment after the tan fades.
6. How to Stay Cool?
Cooling techniques are used in most laser and light procedures to reduce discomfort as well as the risk of skin injury. The most common methods of cooling include chilled air, cryogen spray, and contact cooling.
7. What Are Potential Side Effects and Risks?
Your doctor will inform you of potential side effects and the likelihood of their occurrence for your specific situation and procedure. Some possible side effect include:
- Temporary pain, redness, bruising, blistering and/or crusting
- Infection, including reactivation of herpes simplex
- Pigment changes (brown and white marks), which may be permanent
- Scarring, rare when treatment is performed properly
- Eye injury, which is why appropriate goggles must be worn
In expert hands, the risks of a laser and IPL treatments are small. Be sure you are treated by a qualified and experienced practitioner to avoid the more severe risks associated with treatment by untrained, inexperienced, or unethical personnel.
If you’re considering laser treatment, Zimmet Vein & Dermatology can help determine if laser is a good option for you. We have years of training and experience in the use of medical lasers for dermatology and vein conditions. Contact us today to make an appointment.