New CO2 laser reduces wrinkles

Cosmetic surgeons are starting to use a new generation of laser that goes deeper into the skin than standard lasers, reducing wrinkles and tightening the skin.

The carbon dioxide-based fractional laser has completed initial testing and can now be used on patients, and cosmetic surgeons are suggesting it could be a major advancement in laser treatment.

According to Dr Jeffrey Kenkel, vice-chairman of plastic surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Centre, the technology causes less skin damage and has a quicker recovery time than standard laser treatment.

"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," he explained.

The system can be used for wrinkle removal, acne scarring and to alleviate dark and patchy pigmentation.

It can be carried out on an out-patient basis - something that Dr Kenkel claims is particularly popular among consumers.

"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," he explained.

"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."

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