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Are all fractional CO2 lasers and their results the same?

The short answer is no, and there are significant differences.

When looking for a fractional CO2 laser treatment to improve brown spots, uneven skin tones, roughened texture, acne scarring, and those troublesome etched lines and wrinkles the search can be confusing.  In Orange County, the search is made even more difficult because of the range of options marketed on the internet, in mailings, and even on Groupon.  But, there are significant differences in the results provided by different fractional CO2 laser systems and with the physicians who perform the treatments.  The following are some helpful guidelines when researching fractional CO2 laser treatments.

One of the most important questions to ask when consulting on a fractional CO2 laser treatment, or any laser treatment for that matter is . . . does the physician or office own the laser?  Many physicians, offices, and med-spas rent or share their fractional CO2 lasers and will schedule a day of the week or month when all treatments are done.  Unfortunately, lasers have delicate and intricate optics and other precisely calibrated electrical elements that are not designed to travel from office to office and consistently maintain their calibrations within safe parameters.  So my advice is to make sure the office or physician owns the laser and it does not travel from office to office or city to city.

Second, high quality fractional CO2 lasers are expensive, and many cheaper fractional CO2 lasers are being marketed and bought in the United States from factories in China and elsewhere that may not meet necessary safety requirements set forth by the FDA or had their laser’s technology inspected and cleared by the FDA.  So make sure the office’s laser is from a reputable company you can call or a website you can visit.

Next, for a fractional CO2 laser to be safe and effective, the fractional CO2 laser beam must reach specific energy levels AND the laser’s beam interaction with the skin must be exceptionally quick (Note: laser beam quickness and treatment quickness are NOT the same thing.)

Why is this important?  The energy level delivered by the laser and the quickness of the laser beam determines the quality of the result; that is, these two factors are required and determine the optimal improvement in the look of your skin, as evidenced by the production of collagen, wrinkle elimination, and skin tightening.  Unfortunately, many lower priced fractional CO2 laser systems in Orange County will either reach the proper energy levels but NOT have the required quickness of the laser beam or they may have a quick laser beam but the energy level of the laser is NOT sufficient, leading to less than satisfactory results, limited and disorganized collagen production with less or no wrinkle elimination, and greater risks of complications.

Our Fractional CO2 laser is made by Lumenis, the established leader in laser technology for more than 40 years, and is considered the unrivaled global leader in dermatological, ophthalmic, and surgical lasers.  Quality counts at Refreshed Aesthetic Surgery.

Unlike discounted and less advanced lasers, the Lumenis fractional CO2 laser uses Ultrapulse laser technology which provides unsurpassed results for every unique patient.  Moreover, the Lumenis fractional CO2 laser has the technology to deliver the appropriate laser energy and quickness to instantly and precisely treat skin and wrinkles “at optimum levels for impressive results, more quickly, and with less pain than other CO2 systems,” which has been proven in peer reviewed and published studies.  The laser is considered to have 6 times more energy and be twice as quick when compared to most CO2 lasers on the market.

In closing, the importance of which laser system to treat your skin is just as important as the facial plastic surgeon doing the treatment.  That is why when researching and deciding on which fractional CO2 laser treatment to have it is prudent and wise to consider more than just price.

Timothy R. Miller, M.D.

4 Responses to Are all fractional CO2 lasers and their results the same?

    • The fractional CO2 laser is not the best treatment for redness, so I do not recommend it for general redness. Poikiloderma does have redness and pigmentation components. The fractional CO2 laser will generally improve the overall appearance of poikiloderma in some patients; however it is not a “cure”. I hope this helps.

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