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

Feb 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: Amgen misses 1Q views as higher costs cut profit

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The science of anatomy is undergoing a revival

Apr 10, 2014

Only two decades ago, when I was starting my PhD studies at the University of California in Berkeley, there was talk about the death of anatomy as a research subject. That hasn't happened. Instead the science ...

Optical components made of multiresponsive microgels

Mar 31, 2014

"Intelligent" materials that can respond to external stimuli are high on the wish lists of many scientists because of their possible usefulness in various applications from sensors to microrobotics. Canadian ...

Video of virus-sized particle trying to enter cell

Feb 25, 2014

Tiny and swift, viruses are hard to capture on video. Now researchers at Princeton University have achieved an unprecedented look at a virus-like particle as it tries to break into and infect a cell. The technique they developed ...

Recommended for you

Amgen misses 1Q views as higher costs cut profit

18 hours ago

Despite higher sales, biotech drugmaker Amgen's first-quarter profit fell 25 percent as production and research costs rose sharply, while the year-ago quarter enjoyed a tax benefit. The company badly missed ...

Valeant, Ackman make $45.6B Allergan bid

Apr 22, 2014

Valeant Pharmaceuticals and activist investor Bill Ackman have unveiled details of their offer to buy Botox maker Allergan, proposing a cash-and-stock deal that could be worth about $45.6 billion.

User comments : 1

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.

More news stories

High-calorie and low-nutrient foods in kids' TV

Fruits and vegetables are often displayed in the popular Swedish children's TV show Bolibompa, but there are also plenty of high-sugar foods. A new study from the University of Gothenburg explores how food is portrayed in ...

Male-biased tweeting

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...