The word LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Medical lasers use an intense beam of light to gently remove unwanted, damaged, or diseased cells without harming the surrounding healthy cells. The laser’s energy may be delivered as a continuous wave of light or in pulses, depending on the treatment and the type of laser used.
Skin blemishes due to abnormal blood vessels located directly under your skin’s surface that give the skin a red color are called vascular lesions. Port Wine stains, strawberry hemangiomas and spider veins (telangiectasias) are all forms of vascular lesions.
Pigmented lesions are caused by a proliferation of melanocytes in the skin. Melanocytes are the cells that manufacture melanin, which is the dark pigment in skin. Most of us have some form of pigmented lesion. They include brown age spots (lentigines), freckles (ephileds), and moles (nevi).
Lasers have been used successfully in hundreds of thousands of treatments. Laser treatments performed properly, by a trained physician, are safe and effective. There are many benefits to laser surgery including little if any pain, no needles for most patients, less bruising and swelling and once removed, lesions do not return.
Some patients say they feel a slight sting, like the snap of a rubber band on the skin, followed by the feeling of sunburn. Many treatments do not require anesthetics. However, some patients feel more comfortable with a local numbing agent like ice or an anesthetic cream. For others, a local anesthetic injection may be beneficial.
This depends on the size, location, depth and color of your lesion. Spider veins on the face and age spots generally do well with 1 – 2 treatments, while darker or deeper birthmarks may require additional treatments. Port Wine stains and hemangiomas usually experience satisfactory results from laser treatments, however as many as 6 – 8 treatment sessions may be required. Treatments should be placed 4 – 8 weeks apart to allow your body to remove the maximum amount of pigment cells. You will continue to see a lightening of your lesion after each treatment as your body disposes of the pigment cells.
After we perform aesthetic laser treatments, most patients will see improvement in their vascular and pigmented lesions. The improvement can be quite dramatic. However, as with any surgical procedure, there is always a possibility that only minor changes will occur and in rare cases there is no response.