UT Southwestern plastic surgeons deploy new carbon dioxide-based fractional laser

February 13, 2008
UT Southwestern plastic surgeons deploy new carbon dioxide-based fractional laser
Dr. Jeffrey Kenkel. Credit: UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern Medical Center plastic surgeons are among a handful in the nation deploying a new type of laser that goes deeper into the skin to help reduce wrinkles, tighten surface structures and treat pigmentation differences.

UT Southwestern was one of only two U.S. centers to receive the Food and Drug Administration-approved laser for initial testing before making it available for patients. Plastic surgeons at UT Southwestern have completed testing and are now starting to use the new carbon dioxide-based fractional laser, which combines minute focused columns of laser-induced injury with heat deposition for less skin damage and quicker recovery time.

“Fractional lasers are like aerating your lawn, where you have a bunch of holes in your lawn, but you have normal lawn in between. This allows for more rapid healing because intact, normal skin bridges the gap between the laser-induced injured skin,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kenkel, vice chairman of plastic surgery whose research involves the effects of lasers on tissue. “We can vary the distance between the holes, which has an effect on how much tissue we choose to treat. The treatment parameters are determined by what we are trying to accomplish for each of our patients.”

Dr. Kenkel, director of the Clinical Center for Cosmetic Laser Treatment and chief of plastic surgery at the Veterans Administration Medical Center at Dallas, said the technology potentially could be one of the last decade’s biggest advancements in the laser world.

“What’s appealing about carbon dioxide lasers is that not only can you get surface and deeper skin changes, but you get heat that’s deposited into the skin resulting in improvement in wrinkles and skin tightening,” said Dr. Kenkel.

“There are lots of new lasers that come out on the market. We take a scientific approach when investigating new laser devices. We evaluate the laser on tissue that has either been removed from patients or that we plan on removing so we can determine what effect it’s going to have before we start treating patients clinically.”

With more than 200 lasers on hand for various procedures, UT Southwestern is one of the world’s leaders in providing patients with laser treatment options. This latest model, made by California-based Lumenous Device Technologies, has a large arm and two heads and can be used on a variety of conditions, including wrinkle removal, acne scarring, alleviating dark pigmentation, and other conditions that the plastic surgery group is investigating.

Early carbon dioxide-based lasers were popular in the early 1990s, but faded from favor due to long recovery periods – sometimes spanning several months – and pigmentation inequities that resulted in loss of pigmentation in the patient’s skin after treatment.

The new laser treatments are office-based procedures done on an out-patient basis, but may require some local or regional anesthetic, with recovery time related to the type of procedure. In most instances recovery is between three and five days. Depending on what’s required, procedure costs can range from $500 to $3,000 and are usually considered cosmetic.

The popularity of out-patient, office-based laser procedures has been rising as lasers have improved.

“There are a lot of patients who would rather not have surgery and who are looking for things to improve their appearance without surgical down time,” Dr. Kenkel said. “In addition, there’s a whole group of younger patients who are looking for improvement who are not necessarily in need of surgery but perhaps would benefit from some of the lesser invasive procedures that we have to offer.”

Americans spent more than $12 billion last year on cosmetic procedures, involving 11.5 million surgical and nonsurgical procedures, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Nonsurgical procedures, which include laser treatments, accounted for about 83 percent of those procedures.

Source: UT Southwestern Medical Center

Explore further: Immediate wound closure after laser improves skin tightening

Related Stories

Immediate wound closure after laser improves skin tightening

November 1, 2017
(HealthDay)—Significant skin tightening can be achieved by immediate temporary noninvasive wound closure after short pulse Erbium (Er):YAG fractional ablative laser treatment or after mechanically removing skin with a coring ...

Laser alone or with peel effective for mixed melasma

November 1, 2017
(HealthDay)—Low-fluence Q-switched Nd-YAG laser alone or with modified Jessner's peel are equally effective regimens for mixed melasma hyperpigmentation, according to a study published online Oct. 22 in the Journal of Cosmetic ...

How to treat sunspots

October 3, 2017
Dear Mayo Clinic: How effective is laser resurfacing for removing sunspots? Are there creams or other products that work to treat sun-damaged skin?

Remora robot able to adhere quickly and strongly to underwater objects

September 21, 2017
(Tech Xplore)—A team of researchers from China and the U.S. has created a robot that is able to mimic a remora fish by adhering quickly and strongly to underwater objects. In their paper published in the journal Science ...

Skin lightening: the dangerous obsession that's worth billions

September 4, 2017
Millions of people across the world want to make their skin lighter – but the treatments they use can be dangerous. Mary-Rose Abraham meets beauticians, dermatologists and their clients to walk the line between aesthetic ...

Good cosmetic outcomes for super pulse CO2 laser therapy

August 24, 2017
(HealthDay)—Super pulse carbon dioxide (CO2) laser is associated with good cosmetic outcomes for benign eyelid lesions, according to a study published online Aug. 17 in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

Recommended for you

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

jburchel
not rated yet Feb 13, 2008
Doesn't cite any evidence that this laser is better, just goes on about how it is new and slightly different. Sounds like a press release turned article... like most of what is printed in science media unfortunately.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.