Standard guidelines of care: CO 2 laser for removal of benign skin lesions and resurfacing|
Resurfacing is a treatment to remove acne and chicken pox scars, and changes in the skin due to ageing.
Machines : Both ablative and nonablative lasers are available for use. CO 2 laser is the gold standard in ablative lasers. Detailed knowledge of the machines is essential.
Indications for CO 2 laser: Therapeutic indications: Actinic and seborrheic keratosis, warts, moles, skin tags, epidermal and dermal nevi, vitiligo blister and punch grafting, rhinophyma, sebaceous hyperplasia, xanthelasma, syringomas, actinic cheilitis angiofibroma, scar treatment, keloid, skin cancer, neurofibroma and diffuse actinic keratoses. CO 2 laser is not recommended for the removal of tattoos.
Aesthetic indications: Resurfacing for acne, chicken pox and surgical scars, periorbital and perioral wrinkles, photo ageing changes, facial resurfacing.
Physicians′ qualifications: Any qualified dermatologist (DVD or MD) may practice CO 2 laser. The dermatologist should possess postgraduate qualification in dermatology and should have had specific hands-on training in lasers either during postgraduation or later at a facility which routinely performs laser procedures under a competent dermatologist/plastic surgeon, who has experience and training in using lasers. For the use of CO 2 lasers for benign growths, a full day workshop is adequate. As parameters may vary in different machines, specific training with the available machine at either the manufacturer′s facility or at another centre using the machine is recommended.
Facility: CO 2 lasers can be used in the dermatologist′s minor procedure room for the above indications. However, when used for full-face resurfacing, the hospital operation theatre or day care facility with immediate access to emergency medical care is essential. Smoke evacuator is mandatory.
Preoperative counseling and Informed consent Detailed counseling with respect to the treatment, desired effects, possible postoperative complications, should be discussed with the patient. The patient should be provided brochures to study and also given adequate opportunity to seek information. Detailed consent forms need to be completed by the patients. Consent forms should include information on the machine used; possible postoperative course expected and postoperative complications. Preoperative photography should be carried out in all cases of resurfacing.
Choice of the machine and the parameters depends on the site, type of lesion, result needed, and the physician′s experience.
Anesthesia: Localized lesions can be treated under eutectic mixture of local anesthesia (EMLA) cream anesthesia or local infiltration anesthesia. Full-face resurfacing can be performed under general anesthesia. Proper postoperative care is important to avoid complications.
Ablative laser, Keratoses, Resurfacing, CO2 laser