What is Fractional Laser?
Fractional laser is a quick and comfortable laser procedure with little to no down time, used for improving the overall appearance of your skin. ProFractional uses a laser beam to treat thousands of pinpoint areas of your skin. Only a fraction of the skin is directly treated with the laser so healing time is quick and down time is short.
What conditions can be treated with Fractional?
Fractional laser can be used to improve a wide variety of skin conditions but it is mostly used for:
- wrinkles and fine lines
- post-traumatic scars
- acne scars
- sun-induced damage and aged skin
How does the Fractional laser work?
Fractional laser uses light energy to create thousands of microscopic channels in the skin which are surrounded by areas of healthy, untreated skin. The zones of untreated skin allow for faster healing and make it more suitable for patients of darker skin type (in contrast to older resurfacing technologies that treated one hundred percent of the skin’s surface.) The treated areas stimulate production of new collagen, plumping up the skin and smoothing out wrinkles, lines, scars and other irregularities.
Who should consider Fractional treatment?
If you are looking for younger-looking skin, or to improve scars, wrinkles or sun damage with a reasonably comfortable treatment and with fast recovery, you may be a candidate for ProFractional laser. ProFractional laser is suitable for scar correction in patients of darker skin type.
What areas can be treated?
Most skin areas can be treated. The face is the commonest area. The face has a large recovery reservoir and can be treated more aggressively than other areas, such as the back of the hands.
What is Fractional laser therapy like?
Fractional laser is fast, comfortable, and typically is performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure normally takes 15 – 30 minutes, depending upon the condition and size of the area being treated. It is possible to treat just the scarred areas. Typically, the whole face does not need Fractional treatment, making it suitable for correction of focal zones of scarring or other maladies.
Fractional laser does require some anaesthesia. Topical numbing creams are commonly applied in advance (up to two hours or so) to produce anaesthesia. This allows for a very comfortable procedure. Smaller areas can be treated with local anaesthetic injections. Similarly, numbing creams can be supplemented with injection anaesthesia if there is still discomfort.
How many Fractional treatments will I need?
ProFractional laser is typically done in a series of 1 – 4 treatments, usually spaced a month or two apart, depending upon your needs. ProFractional laser can be combined with other procedures, such as a laser peel or skin-tightening procedures, to further enhance the treatment result.
What should I expect after treatment?
Immediately following the procedure, there is redness resembling sunburn. The treated areas are usually oozy and may be slightly bloody. Dressings are usually applied for 24 – 48 hours and then can be removed in the shower. Complete healing is dependent upon the channel depth and also upon the density (numbers) of the channels. Usually, healing takes about three days and most patients can return to work and apply make-up within a day or two of treatment. Redness will settle over five days or so.
What special aftercare treatment will I need?
It is important to follow your dermatologist’s instructions, which may include some skincare products and instructions on how to use them. These may include topical vitamin A products and pigment stabilisers. Your skin will be more sensitive to ultraviolet light after the procedure. Consequently, you must avoid direct sun exposure until redness has faded. You should always use some level of sun protection to avoid sun damage and premature ageing of your skin.
Is Fractional laser treatment covered by insurance?
Medicare does not provide coverage for Fractional laser therapy. Therefore, insurance companies typically do not offer reimbursement for the procedure. However, coverage may be available for traditional resurfacing procedures, which can be combined with ProFractional laser.
How much does Fractional laser treatment cost?
The cost depends upon the size of the area being treated, as well as the condition being treated. Your dermatologist will discuss costs with you.
What are the side-effects of Fractional laser treatment?
It is normal for there to be slight crusting of the skin surface on dressings. This will typically clear with the use of moisturiser or Vaseline.
As with any therapy, scarring is possible but is a rare side-effect of Fractional treatment.
Redness is normal following treatment and usually fades over five days or so, dependent on the depth and density of the micro-injuries.
Faint patterning is possible as a side-effect but usually fades back to normal over several months.
As per any injury, infection is possible but is unusual following treatment.
Finally, whilst not a side-effect, response to treatment is often partial. For example, acne scarring will usually improve by 50% or so with a number of Fractional treatments. It is often difficult to obtain a greater response.