Cosmetic Surgery Procedures
Laser technology is playing an increasing role in medical and cosmetic treatment today. A laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) is a high-energy light source that is effective in correcting a wide range of skin conditions including:
- Wrinkles and sun-damaged skin
- Age spots
- Café-au-lait maculae (benign, congenital, pigmented skin lesions)
- Brown spots, freckles and birth marks
- Acne scars and other types of scars
- Keratoses (excessive growth of the top layer of skin cells)
- Enlarged pores
- Poikiloderma (extra pigmentation of the skin)
- Burn erythema (redness resulting from inflammation such as sunburn)
- Unwanted hair
- Epidermal nevi (lesions)
Lasers are also effective in treating a variety of vascular problems such as flushing/redness, spider veins, red spots (hemangiomas), unsightly broken or dilated blood vessels, rosacea, port wine stains, and telangiectasia (facial veins).
Lasers emit an intense beam of light or energy with a specific wavelength, which is targeted at a type of tissue in the part of the body being treated. For example:
- For hair removal, the laser targets the melanin (dark pigment) in the hair follicle.
- For wrinkle reduction and treatment of acne scars, the laser targets and damages cells near the skin surface.
- To treat vascular lesions, including spider veins, the laser is directed at the blood vessels.
When the beam of energy reaches its target, it is absorbed and converted into heat. The heat inactivates or destroys cells in the target area without affecting other cells around it.
The effectiveness of cosmetic laser procedures depends on choosing the right wavelength of laser energy for the targeted tissue, the training and skill of the physician, and the skin and/or hair color of the person being treated. Other factors include the laser power settings used, the duration of each laser pulse, the amount of time between pulses, the number of pulses per treatment, and the number of treatments performed.
Two types of lasers are used for cosmetic skin treatment:
- An ablative laser is used to remove aged, damaged skin while tightening and refreshing healthy skin. Medical College of Wisconsin plastic surgeon John Hijjawi, MD, is certified in using this type of laser.
- A non-ablative laser is used to heat a certain color area of the skin. Our physicians, nurses, and aestheticians are certified in using this type of laser.
Cosmetic laser procedures are performed at Cascadia MediSpa, a service of the Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin Plastic Surgery Center. Your physician will discuss your desired results with you, the type of laser treatment that can be used, the risks involved, care after your laser procedure, and the number of treatments you may need.
For information or to schedule an appointment, contact us via our online form, or call 414-805-3666 or 800-272-3666.
Last Review Date: Oct. 3, 2012
Online Editor(s): Richard Petre