Lasers and Laser Treatments
Lasers and laser treatments are not the same at every location, research the laser to be used and the users experience. In some states anyone can perform laser treatments and treatment providers do not have to be certified, know how is performing your procedure. When you are looking at potential laser treatment centers compare the technology of the lasers and the experience and training of the people operating the laser. Below is some information on laser and laser treatments to help demystify the process. These are important decisions, make them wisely. We feel it is in your best interest to have the tools to make an informed decision. Many times my patients ask what is the difference, a laser is a laser, I have to inform them there are many different wavelengths of laser, there are many different designs and setting within one wavelength of laser. Some lasers are able to utilize more than on wavelength.
The Nd:YAG 1064 nm laser we use is FDA cleared for the treatment of onychomycosis, warts, scar reduction, skin rejuvenation, tattoo removal, and spider veins. We perform all of these procedures.
Understanding Lasers and Laser Treatments
There are many important factors when it comes to selecting the right lasers for realistic outcomes of various treatments. NOT all lasers are created equally. There are 4 main characteristics of a laser that need to be assessed to establish the efficacy for a particular type of treatment.
1. Fluence– Power over a set time to a set amount of area. Measured in Joules/cm2; Joules = Watts x Time
2. Pulse Width– Measures the length of time a laser is exposing the target tissue. This with the fluence, spot size, and wavelength determine how much energy is delivered to the targets.
3. Spot Size– Refers to the diameter of the laser beam and helps control the depth the laser will travel through the tissues
4. Wavelength- is generated by the materials used to generate the laser beam. This is one of the most important characteristics of the laser because it determines how much energy is absorbed by particular targets in the tissue and how deep the laser will travel through the tissues.
Many companies will claim a high maximum amount of power without stating a spot size or pulse width. Potential patients should make sure they select the right doctor for their treatment. A spot size and wavelength are the most important factors in determining the penetration of the laser in to the tissues. The 1064nm wavelength has one of the best penetrations of any laser on the market, making it very versatile and the choice of many. If the laser is capable of meeting the effective parameters, it can be used to treat hair removal, onychomycosis, spider veins, reticular veins, erythema, skin rejuvenation, scar reduction, and many other conditions.