This allows this laser to have a photo-mechanical effect on skin pigmentation and tattoo inks or pigments, literally shattering these small particles. The remnants are then removed by the body’s immune system.
The laser light emitted also operates by the principle of selective photothermolysis, which is the attraction of particular wavelengths of the laser to be attracted to certain colours, allowing for the specific heating and targeting of a coloured target. For example, the 532nm wavelength is highly attracted to red tattoo inks. Therefore, by using the 532nm wavelength, red tattoo ink can be specifically targeted over normal skin and other colours in the skin. This helps reduce the impact of the laser on normal skin, instead letting it focus on a particular problem.
Also important, is the depth of penetration of the laser. The longer the wavelength, the deeper the penetration. Therefore the 1064nm wavelength penetrates much deeper than the 532nm wavelength. This is important for deeper problems such as deep pigmentation removal.
The treatable problems with the Medlite laser include:
Tattoo removal – tattoo removal is best treated with Medilite lasers. The tiny and insoluble tattoo pigments attract the laser light, and selectively fragments the tattoo ink/pigment.
Medilite lasers are effective on tattoos because they have a very high power and short pulse duration that shatters the pigment. Different wavelengths are also used to target different tattoo ink colours. For example, the 532nm wavelength is attracted mostly to red/orange tattoo pigment, whilst the 1064nm wavelength is most suited to darker blue/black/green pigments.
Generally several treatments are required for tattoo removal. Multi-coloured and professional tattoos are generally harder to remove than single coloured or amateur tattoos and require more treatments. 100% removal of the tattoo pigment is not always possible.
Deep and superficial skin pigmentation
Medilite lasers are the treatment of choice for pigmentation problems of the skin. They are in most cases superior than other long pulsed lasers, and IPL systems. Again it is the extremely short pulse duration of these lasers that allows them to shatter pigment particles very effectively. The depth of the pigmentation will determine the laser wavelength used. For more superficial pigmentation problems such as sunspots, solar lentigos, cafe-au-lait spots, freckles it may require the 532nm q-switched KTP.
Non-ablative skin rejuvenation including treatment of melasma .
This treatment is usually performed with low energy level settings on the Medlite laser using both its wavelengths. The q-switched Nd:YAG at 1064nm has a deep penetration into the skin and causes deep dermal heating. This leads to the formation of new collagen and elastin. Several sessions are required to maximise the effect. In studies of this treatment, 3D surface topography of skin showed an improvement in skin texture, wrinkles, and acne scarring. This treatment is also helpful in the treatment of melasma (pigmentation caused by hormones). Minimal downtime is required for this treatment. The 532nm frequency is also used to help remove superficial pigmentation.
The Revlite version of the Medlite laser (Templestowe clinic only) has a PTP mode, or Photoacoustic Thermal Pulse mode, that changes the nature of the pulse delivered by the laser. It allows more heat energy to enter the skin by slightly prolonging the pulse duration of the laser. This is more effective for those who wish to achieve a degree of skin tightening with this procedure.
The price for a full face treatment per session for non-ablative skin rejuvenation with the Medlite laser can range from US$300.00 and above.
Hair removal – although this laser is not proven to cause permanent hair reduction, it can retard hair growth. It can work on finer hairs that other laser hair removal systems may not work on. It does not work on grey hairs.
What will my skin look like after treatment?
This will depend on the strength of the treatment;
For non-ablative skin rejuvenation, the skin may appear mildly sun burnt for 24 to 48 hours, and can sometimes flake a little.
For pigmentation/freckle removal, the skin may crust and appear darkened for approximately one week, and there may be significant swelling in the area treated.
After tattoo removal, the skin may have some small pinpoint bleeding and appear white in colour. The recovery can take some time (usually 1 to 4 weeks) depending on the aggressiveness of the treatment. Dressings and antibiotic ointment may be required for a few days.
Will it hurt?
Appropriate anaesthesia can be used to numb the area prior to laser treatments only when higher energies are used, such as with tattoo removal or pigment removal. Without this anaesthesia, laser tattoo removal is said by some to be more painful than the initial tattoo application itself. If appropriate, an injection can be given to numb the area for treatment or anaesthetic creams can be used. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is also a good method of helping to reduce any discomfort from these procedures.
For lower energy treatments, anaesthesia may not be required.
What are the possible adverse outcomes of treatment?
Adverse outcome with laser treatments are undesired outcomes that occur in a small percentage of patients treated. These include;
post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation – a brown mark left on the skin after treatment that usually takes some months to fade with the assistance of lightening agents.
Hypopigmentation – loss of pigmentation in the treated area that can be permanent (rare). Prolonged redness – sometimes the redness of the skin can take a longer time to fade than expected.
Bacterial or viral infection – laser treatments can sometimes trigger herpes simplex outbreaks. Any viral or bacterial infection in a wound created by a laser has the potential for scarring.
Scarring – a very rare possibility, usually associated with darker skin types, over-zealous energy settings, and bacterial or viral infection.