At the UT Southwestern Medical Center, dermatologists are employing a new carbon dioxide-based fractional laser for procedures like skin tightening, tattoo removal, and evening out differences in skin pigmentation.
“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.