My First Laser way back then….
This is the kind of machine that started me on the road to laser treatments in 1996. I was working in the surgery center for a GP group in downtown Singapore. And the first laser that I handled was the old fashioned sharplan ultrapulsed CO2 laser. Good for ablative destruction of corms and warts but not very refined for skin re-surfacing. Left quite a few patients with Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation in those days.
It wasn’t specific for pigments so it could not selectively destroy pigment enough to treat freckles or sun-damage. It just vaporises everything at a thousand degree Celsius.
Nowadays of course hardly anyone uses this kind of laser for Aesthetic treatments. There are the no-downtime non-invasive types of lasers and IPLs. Or there are the Ulthera and Thermage which in just one treatment will result in months of continuing collagen regeneration. And even when CO2 laser is used, it is used fractionally. Which means that the laser is computer controlled to fire in a pixelated fashion over an area of skin. This significantly reduces recovery time to less that 3-4 days. And because skin ablation occurs in columns within the skin, when it all heals, skin gets a slight tightening effect.
Others have also used Platelet Rich Plasma (applied onto the wounds) to further accelerate healing. Resurfacing laser is now just a week end of recovery time.
How times have changed!!
Dr David Loh