Sunday, April 25, 2010

Acne Scar Removal

When acne leaves unsightly and even disfiguring scars behind, acne scar removal can make all the difference. Over time, cosmetic surgeons have used various techniques to tackle ugly acne scars and the science of acne scar removal has evolved considerably. In the past, dermabrasion was a preferred method. This entailed removing the scarred topmost layer of the skin via a sanding procedure. Understandably, this procedure was quite painful and doctors often employed local anesthesia while using it on patients. The skin would look raw and be painfully tender for quite a while after dermabrasion, too. New, unscarred skin often took months to grow back after this procedure.

Many doctors used chemical peels to achieve acne scar removal. This procedure was also quite drastic, because it used chemicals that caused the skin to blister and finally peel off. Other procedures included punch replacement grafting and soft tissue filling.

Because of the radical nature of some of these procedures for acne scar removal, the coming of new laser techniques was a very welcome development. With these laser procedures, the doctor retains complete control over the procedure and no blood loss at all occurs. Surgeons now use laser resurfacing to treat many other kinds of skin flaws such as wrinkles and sunburns, too. In fact, modern laser surgery is so precise that surgeons even use them to correct eye defects.

A very popular version of laser-based skin surgery uses the non-ablative laser. In this procedure, the laser does not burn off the affected surface of the skin. Rather, it works beneath its surface, stimulating collagen production and tightening the overall tissue. However, this procedure is not useful in treating acne scars.

In laser-based acne scar removal, the surgeon uses a wand-like laser hand-piece with which he burns off the scarred skin cells. Fresh skin cells then replace the burned-off cells. Because the procedure is so precise, the surgeon can target only the affected skin tissue, leaving unaffected skin alone. He can judge the depth to which the laser penetrates precisely, enabling him to remove the entire affected area of skin. This is very important while performing any kind of surgery on delicate facial skin.

Skin surgeons employ two kinds of lasers for acne scar removal. The first is the Erbium (Er) or erbium:YAG laser. The energy produced by this laser has a very precise wavelength. The laser penetrates the skin and the moisture content in the skin readily absorbs it. The heat produced by this laser then scatters, leaving normal skin unaffected. The second is the carbon dioxide (CO2) laser, which is a relatively recent development in skin surgery circles. It emits short bursts of extremely high-energy, highly focused laser light that vaporizes the scarred skin tissue a layer at a time, leaving only fresh skin in its wake. Patients have to conform to certain medical parameters if they wish to undergo this procedure. However, those who qualify benefit from the fact that acne scar removal by the above means entails very low risks of further scarring. Medical complications after laser surgery on acne scars are very rare.

Surgeons who perform laser-based acne scar removal are highly qualified in the field and have considerable artistic ability, too. This is significant, since the surgeon must literally re-craft the affected skin tissue using a very precise instrument.


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