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About Laser Surgery

  • Introduction
    What is a laser? 'Laser' is an acronym for 'Light Amplification by Stimulated Emissions of Radiation.' In brief, it is a type of high energy device with a long history of safety in medicine when used appropriately by experts. Lasers are a form of High Energy Device, or Energy Based Device (EBD). Depending on the settings and qualities of these devices, we may use them to cut, heal, tighten, slacken the target tissue, lighten, darken, reduce, or even increase the amount of tissue in question. The great advantage of lasers is that they are ultraspecific to one target tissue, and this means that they can spare a lot of the surrounding structures from injury, when used correctly.
  • How do lasers work?
    Three distinguishing features of laser light make all the difference from other forms of energy and devices. The light is linear, meaning that as the laser travels, it doesn't lose energy. The light is monochromatic, one single wavelength, which means the light is one single color. It is parallel light, which means we can use it to target very precisely because the light rays run parallel to each other. They deliver an incredible amount of energy with each discharge. Thiis means that laser surgery has the potential to be precise, effective, highly accurate. In experienced hands, these features also mean that laser can reduce the incidence of certain complications when compared to traditional surgery.
  • What makes laser treatment successful?
    There are four principal determinants of a successful laser procedure. The skilled operator: the most important determinant of success is the skilled operator who is experienced in the procedure being proposed. At consultant level, expertise is determined by fellowship and highly specialized training, where hundreds if not thousands of procedures are performed, usually at arms' length under supervision of a leading authority in the field. Appropriate equipment. The world of Laser and High Energy Devices is sadly often pushed by manufacturer advertising. It is therefore very important to have a reputabel manufacturer that is both FDA and CE marked. Providers that only market "brand" probably have no skill to sell! The appropriate indication: remember that whether lasers, the surgical knife, or any other device is used, a medical procedure is still one which is protected by the Medical Act (1983) law, which means that only a registered, licensed medcial practitioner, skilled in his Art should diagnose your condition and perform treatment. Such examples are the treatment of pigmented lesions, which should NOT be managed by anyone other than licensed skin specialists, as they have the obligation to correctly diagnose, and institute treatment, including for skin cancer. The appropriate setting. Although legislation differs in various countries, laser procedures should be done in appropriate laser suites, where the correct ancillary kit and assistance is available.
  • What should I ask the treatment provider to make sure they are safe?
    Here are a few tips and tricks based on experience. Patients often come to us after suffering complications elsewhere. Unfortunately it is a fact of life that lasers are powerful devices that are poorly regulated in the European Union and the UK. It pays to to do your homework You may ask the following 4 simple questions. Q1. What is your background qualification and your laser qualification? Correct answer: Skin specialist (plastic surgeon or dermatologist) with ratified fellowships in the specialist use of laser Q2. What is your specific experience, success and complication rate with this particular procedure? Correct answer: your provider should be able to provide their personal experience, incidence of complications and success Q3: Is the device FDA and CE certified? Correct Answer: Yes the device is certified by the FDA and CE for this purpose. Beware imitation machines and fakes
  • How do I prepare my skin for laser treatment?
    Preparation for your laser treatment is a very important step. Please make sure that on the day of your treatment you do not apply anything but a thin layer of moisturiser on, and a mild layer of sunblock if it is sunny, and your journey to clinic is >15 min. Please ensure you check your routine skin care products for the presence of retinoids. Unless specifically agreed, please inform your physician if you are on any products that contain retinoids, and we would advise you to stop these at least 6 weeks before treatment. If you are on oral retinoid tablets you must inform us. Although the evidence is somewhat contentious, it would be a good idea to postpone treatment till such time as you are 6 months post retinoid treatment. If in doubt, take a photo of your meds to avoid having to carry them around, and pop us your photo in an email. Please avoid any facial manipulation with peels, facials, application of aromatic oils etc both before and up to 6 weeks after, as these chemicals may interact. Please let us know if you have any infection in the facial areas including sinuses, ears, eyes, nose and mouth. You must inform us if you have recently had cold sores, or have had them in the past.
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