Q: How does Erbium Yag skin resurfacing work?
A: The Erbium Yag laser is designed to offer the versatility of both deep and superficial, skin resurfacing. The wavelength of light emitted by the Erbium Yag is very well absorbed by water in the skin. Pulses of the laser vaporize lines, wrinkles, scars, dark spots and other irregularities, layer by layer. This process also stimulates the formation over time of new, underlying collagen to provide better elasticity and support for the skin.
Q: Can Erbium Yag technology be used less invasively for treating milder indications?
A: Erbium:YAG laser is indicated for mildly photodamaged skin lesions (eg, solar keratoses); mildly atrophic facial scars (eg, from acne or varicella); dyschromias (eg, melasma, lentigines); and mild-to-moderate facial wrinkles in the perioral, periocular, and cheek areas. Using longer and variable pulses even patients with deeper wrinkles and scars can be successfully treated.
Q: What are the advantages of using Erbium Yag vs. CO2 laser for skin resurfacing?
A: The carbon dioxide laser quickly became the workhorse of the cosmetic laser surgeon, and its advantages and limitations are well documented. Although long-term skin tightening and improvement of facial rhytides is unparalleled, marked erythema persists for several weeks or months and permanent hypopigmentation occurs at a rate that is unacceptable to many patients. Even without complications, the early period of recovery until full reepithelialization can leave the patient housebound for up to 2 weeks. With erbium:YAG, more precise light energy can be applied to the skin, resulting in less intense adverse effects from collateral damage. The cutaneous absorption of the Er:YAG laser energy by water is 10-fold more efficient than that of the carbon dioxide laser, allowing for more superficial tissue ablation and finer control.