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Fractional LASER, Fraxel® LASER, Affirm® LASER laser

What is Fractional Laser?fractional laser

A variety of these devices, from Fraxel® to Affirm® lasers, utilize this technology.
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The idea of this type of laser is to create a number of vertical injuries to the patient's skin with non-treated, uninjured skin in between the treated areas. A similar process, on a microscopic scale, is done to the skin with fractional laser treatment. The untreated skin helps the wounds to heal quite quickly, replacing the area with new, healthy and smoother skin.

Fractional laser treatment with the 1,550nm erbium fiber laser (Fraxel® Laser, Reliant Technologies) has bridged the gap between the ablative and non-ablative laser modalities used to treat the epidermal and dermal signs of skin aging.

Of all the methods which can rejuvenate the skin, there is no better treatment than fractional laser skin resurfacing. This latest laser treatment is far more effective than any non-surgical method currently available like chemical peeling and drug therapy.

In addition, the laser fractional therapy is more effective and safer than any of the other surgical procedures like dermabrasion and face-lift. Nowadays, a new surgical skin resurfacing treatment methodology, using a fractionated carbon dioxide laser can offer both improved results with much fewer side effects.

However, a major drawback of the laser therapy is the cost. It is at least twice as costly and like all other treatments is only a temporary solution for the treatment of aging skin.

 For those who are considering Any Laser Treatment, they should consider:
- Who will perform the treatment?
- Which exact device will be used?
- The setting in which they intend to undergo the procedure.
- And, especially, what is the training level of the team that's going to be doing the procedure?


Advantages and Applications of Fractional Laser:

- improve the skin texture                - smoother the skin surface               - increase the skin elasticity

Fractional skin resurfacing has revolutionized skin care and is used to treat a number of skin conditions including:
            - Wrinkles                                                 - Fines lines
            - Sun damaged skin                                   - Skin Discolorations
            - Melasma                                                 - Acne Scars
            - Surgical or traumatic Scars                       - Stretch Marks may be improved

The laser can be applied on most parts of the body including:
                 - the face                                      - around the nose and eye brows
                 - neck                                           - back of the hands
                 - chest                                          - back

Unlike other resurfacing chemical peels that require significant downtime, this latest treatment will leave your face looking smoother, younger and more attractive than ever.

The essence of fractional laser therapy is that only selected areas of the damaged skin are treated.


How do Fractional Lasers Work and is Performed?

Though you always find an individual who has a lower threshold for pain, most of my patients find laser treatment very tolerable. In their opinion, it's not painful at all. Therefore, the procedure is usually performed with local anesthetic creams or even without anesthesia. The treatment session takes about 45 to 90 minutes with 3 to 7 days interval between sessions.

By targeting water as its chromophore, the laser induces a dense array of microscopic, columnar thermal zones of tissue injury that do not perforate or impair the function of the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). The treated skin area rapidly recovers with newer skin and healthy tissue. (Non-Ablative Therapy).

The fractionated carbon dioxide laser beam is broken into numerous microscopically thin beams that strike the skin and vaporize sun damaged or scarred tissue. This causes the skin to tighten, and during healing, produce collagen - the protein responsible for skin structure and appearance. (Ablative Therapy).

mechanism of Fraxiel laser


When therapy is done in fractions, this allows the skin to rapidly recover with little downtime. Further the side effects with this type of therapy are less and complications are very rare. In most cases, the old damaged skin is replaced by the new skin within a few days.


What is the recovery time and the final results?

Recovery from laser treatment is generally not lengthy and usually involves some redness and swelling for several days.
Because fractional laser therapy only treats part of the skin, additional therapy is required to treat the entire skin surface. Most individuals require anywhere from 4 - 6 sessions to treat the damaged skin.

The results of fractional laser skin resurfacing are not immediate but evidence of a smoother and tighter skin will be evident after 2 - 3 sessions. Patients experience an immediate improvement during treatment associated with the laser heating their skin. The collagen contracts making the skin appear immediately tighter. However, the final results related to collagen production which takes several weeks to months to be remodeled (8-12 weeks). Patients will continue to see improvements in their skin for the first three to four months following treatment. However, the results are not permanent.


What are the risks of Fractional Laser Procedures?

Rarely, infection and scarring or discolorations of the skin are certainly theoretical possibilities. However, the strict following the medical instructions will help you to avoid these complications.


What is its Role in Stretch Marks ??

There are treatments available, particularly with lasers, which can help improve stretch marks, however, no treatment can yet make a stretch mark go all the way back to looking like totally normal skin.
So, keep in your mind these three facts:
- Laser and other modalities improve the problem but don't remove it.
- There are no 'perfect' treatments for stretch marks.
- A series of treatment sessions are usually needed to obtain the best results.

Causes and types of Stretch marks:

With expansion of the skin, by pregnancy or morbid obesity... etc., the elastic fibers of the deeper layer of the skin (Dermis) are broken, leaving a Red Stretch Marks or Linea Rubra. After healing of this cracks by fibrosis, they become a whitish in color in what is called White Stretch Marks or Linea Alba.

How to prevent these marks?
One thing you can do during pregnancy or times of weight gain is to apply topical creams like alpha-hydroxy acids or Retin-A medicines. These topical medicines can be helpful in curbing the onset of stretch marks in the first place.

Treatment of Red Stretch Marks:
As these marks look a lot like early scar tissues, lasers can be highly effective at reducing the redness and stopping some of the inflammation. Lasers also induce collagen growth and remodeling, as well as some elastin remodeling which improves the look of the skin. The pulsed-dye laser is the treatment of choice for this.

Treatment of White Stretch Marks:
The latest development in the treatment of stretch marks is fractional laser therapy. There are some risks that some patients may not be responsive to the therapy, as well as some risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in darker individuals that takes some time to fade away.


How Much Do Fractional Laser Treatment Typically Cost?

Although price is a factor when deciding on surgery, the most important factor is that you feel you are getting a good quality, natural-looking result from the procedure.

Fractional Laser Treatment costs are variable according to the indication and the used technique. Usually the cost of session is ranging from 1000 to 1500 U.S. dollars. When dealing with costs, you also need to take into consideration the fact that the procedure will be repeated in sessions. Most medical insurance providers do not cover the procedure.


FAQ from patients when considering undergoing Fractional Laser?

Q - What is the type of anesthesia, and when I can return to normal life?
A - No need for anesthesia, except is some cases a topical anesthetic cream is used and you can practice your normal life 2 hours up to few days.

Q - What are the symptoms that may occur in the first five days after Fractional Laser procedures?
A - Redness, Soreness which could be managed by pain killer’s medications and there may be edema or swelling of the face.

Q - What are the guarantees that the success of the process?
A - There is no doubt that the followers of the medical instructions and close follow up visits are the main factors for the success of any surgical procedure.

Q - When can we get the final results?laser beam
A - The final results is achieved after the first three months.

Q - Is the rejuvenated face seems naturally?
A - Yes and more youthful.

Q - What is ideal age for Fractional Laser?
A - It could be done at any age.

Q - If you are not Egyptian, What is the minimum period for follow up?
A - Five days.

Q - Is Fractional Laser safe for all skin types?
A - Yes, Fractional Laser is safe for every skin type and skin color.

Q - How many treatments are required to attain significant results?
A - It is depends on the skin type of the patient. We will suggest a treatment plan based on the patient’s desired result. But, in general, 4 to 6 treatments are required to attain a desired result.

Q - Is Fractional Laser limited to the face?
A - No, there are several areas of the body that may benefit from Fractional Laser. But the most common are: face, neck, chest and hands.

Q - What is ideal skin type or color for Fractional Laser?
A - It could be done at any skin type.

Q - What are the contraindications of Fractional Laser procedures?
A - Fractional Laser can not treat deep wrinkles, scars that are deep in the skin. This treatment is not recommended for the people who have psoriasis or have taken isotretinoin, since it can cause permanent scarring. Also, it is not recommended as well to go to tanning soon after Fractional Laser treatment.
The patients should inform their surgeons about any allergies, serious medical conditions, and medications they may be taking. Smokers should stop smoking 2 weeks before surgical procedures to promote the healing process.

Q - Where will the Fractional Laser procedures be performed?
A - In outpatient bases (clinic).

Q - How much does Fractional Laser procedure cost and what elements factor into that cost like hospital fees, anesthesia, and so on?
A - Ranging from 1000 to 1500 U.S. dollars. Medical insurance dose not cover facial rejuvenation procedures.

Q - What is the surgeon’s level of experience in performing Fractional Laser procedures?
A - Consultant or Doctoral in Plastic surgery or Dermatology.

Q - What percentage of patients experience complications with Fractional Laser procedures?
A - 5 - 8%


Summary of Fractional Laser (Fraxel Laser) Procedures:

The time of the procedure:
from half to one hour.
Type of anesthesia:
local anesthesia if needed.
Location:
clinic.
Expected Side effects:
Temporary redness, swelling and pain.
Recovery time:
return to work after 2 hours and the final outcome within 3 months.
Cost:
according to area and problem ranging from 1000 to 1500 U.S. dollars per session.
Results: according to procedure ranging from months to years and sometimes permanent results.