Fractional lasers in dermatology - Current status and recommendations|
Goel, Apratim; Krupashankar, D.S.; Aurangabadkar, Sanjeev; Nischal, K.C.; Omprakash, H.M. & Mysore, Venkataram
Introduction: Fractional laser technology is a new emerging technology to improve scars, fine lines, dyspigmentation, striae and wrinkles. The technique is easy, safe to use and has been used effectively for several clinical and cosmetic indications in Indian skin.
Devices: Different fractional laser machines, with different wavelengths, both ablative and non-ablative, are now available in India. A detailed understanding of the device being used is recommended.
Indications: Common indications include resurfacing for acne, chickenpox and surgical scars, periorbital and perioral wrinkles, photoageing changes, facial dyschromias. The use of fractional lasers in stretch marks, melasma and other pigmentary conditions, dermatological conditions such as granuloma annulare has been reported. But further data are needed before adopting them for routine use in such conditions.
Physician qualification: Any qualified dermatologist may administer fractional laser treatment. He/ she should possess a Master′s degree or diploma 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 or plastic surgeon with experience and training in using lasers. Since parameters may vary with different systems, specific training tailored towards the concerned device at either the manufacturer′s facility or at another center using the machine is recommended.
Facility: Fractional lasers can be used in the dermatologist′s minor procedure room for the above indications.
Preoperative counseling and Informed consent: Detailed counseling with respect to the treatment, desired effects and possible postoperative complications should be provided to the patient. The patient should be provided brochures to study and also adequate opportunity to seek information. A detailed consent form needs to be completed by the patient. Consent form should include information on the machine, possible postoperative course expected and postoperative complications. Preoperative photography should be carried out in all cases of resurfacing. A close-up front and 45-degree lateral photographs of both sides must be taken.
Laser parameters: There are different machines based on different technologies available. Choice parameters depend on the type of machine, location and type of lesion, and skin color. Physician needs to be familiar with these requirements before using the machine.
Anesthesia: Fractional laser treatment can be carried out under topical anesthesia with eutectic mixture of lidocaine and prilocaine. Some machines can be used without any anesthesia or only with topical cooling or cryospray. But for maximal patient comfort, a topical anesthetic prior to the procedure is recommended.
Postoperative care: Proper postoperative care is important in avoiding complications. Post-treatment edema and redness settle in a few hours to a few days. A sunscreen is mandatory, and emollients may be prescribed for the dryness and peeling that could occur.
Acne scars, fractional photothermolysis, lasers, photoageing