FRACTIONAL LASER TREATMENT
delivers a laser beam divided into thousands of microscopic treatment zones that target a fraction of the skin at a time; hence fractional laser.
What is it used to treat?
Fractional laser treatment can be used on any part of the body, but is particularly useful on the face, neck, chest and hands when compared to traditional ablative modalities.
Fractional laser treatment may also reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
How does it work?
As the body ages, the appearance and characteristics of the skin alter. The collagen in the dermis (deeper layer of the skin) is gradually lost which contributes to the formation of facial lines, sagging skin and wrinkles. Two types of fractional laser treatment are available: ablative and non-ablative. An ablative fractional laser burns away old damaged skin in the upper and deeper layers of the skin to force new healthy skin to grow, but in fractions, sparing intervening columns of untreated skin to aid and support the healing process. This speeds up the recovery process and reduces downtime. A non-ablative fractional laser bypasses the upper layers of the skin to target the dermis (deeper layers) by heating collagen to stimulate new collagen formation. By treating in fractional zones, the non-ablative laser also targets and treats intensively within the zones whilst surrounding healthy skin remains intact to aid in the healing process. This fractional treatment results in a faster healing process than if all tissue in the treatment area were exposed to the laser. Because ablative lasers are more aggressive, the treatment effect is dramatic, requiring fewer treatment sessions to achieve the desired effect. However, the recovery time is longer. Non-ablative lasers are gentler so that skin recovery time is quikcker, but more treatment sessions are needed to reach the same results as ablative lasers.
Results are fully evident within a few weeks.
After recovery, skin will be smoother and fuller, with less sagging and wrinkles. The effects are cumulative with each treatment session.
- We offer the non-ablative Icon Fractional Laser by Palomar, the company that not only invented the fractional laser technology found in Fraxel but also further developed it with a next generation laser with enhanced treatment and safety features. It is the only fractional laser that has received FDA approval for the treatment of stretch marks.
- We also offer the ablative Ellman Cortex fractional laser for more intense rejuvenation treatments.
Recovery after fractional laser treatment
Fractional laser treatment is well tolerated by most patients. Shaving or application of make-up can be done soon after treatment. In most cases, patients can return to work directly after treatments or the following day, depending upon their skin condition and treatment.
Some of the side effects and complications that may occur after aggressive or high level treatments include:
- Excessive scaling, peeling and some crusting.
- Swelling for up to one week after treatment – this can be helped by applying an ice pack at 10-minute intervals for the first 24 hours.
- Postinflammatory pigmentation – occurs more commonly in patients with a history of melasma or postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (more common in patients of darker skin types or those who tan easily).
Unmanageable pain or any symptoms that are progressive or abnormal should be reported to your treatment clinician immediately. Your clinician will monitor your healing process closely and if necessary administer medical therapies to minimize any possible complications.