Carbon Dioxide Laser (CO2)

Definition - What does Carbon Dioxide Laser (CO2) mean?

A carbon dioxide laser (CO2) is a tool widely used by dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons for skin resurfacing treatments to provide a more youthful appearance. The device emits a mid-infrared beam of high-energy light with a wavelength of 10,600 nanometers. The CO2 laser is used to treat birthmarks, moles, acne scars, other forms of scarring, pigmentation marks associated with sun damage, and to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

The CO2 laser works by vaporizing the layers of skin, rather than using chemicals or sanding. The effects of the CO2 laser are similar to dermabrasion or the results of a chemical peel.

TheConsultation explains Carbon Dioxide Laser (CO2)

Before laser resurfacing gained popularity, the skin could be resurfaced through abrasion or with chemical peels. However, the CO2 laser can precisely target areas, which allows for greater precision, the treatment of deeper skin layers and a quicker recovery time after the treatment. Like other skin resurfacing methods, CO2 laser resurfacing removes damaged or abnormal skin, triggering the healing response, and resurfacing the treated area with a new layer of skin.

During the CO2 laser procedure, the cosmetic dermatologist sets the carbon dioxide laser to the amount of energy required to be transmitted to the surface of the skin by the laser beam. They also control the depth of the penetration. The laser can be used in multiple ways, like focusing the laser to cut the skin without bleeding, or it may also be unfocused, which removes the superficial layer of skin. When it is ultra-pulsed, the facial skin is resurfaced.

A local anesthetic is applied by injection around the treatment site to reduce discomfort. A general anesthesia may be used if treatment is for the entire face. Recovery time is generally about two weeks with some swelling, redness and mild discomfort to be expected. While the results aren’t technically permanent, the length of time results will last depends on how the patient cares for his or skin. As the skin continues to age, future treatments may be necessary. However, for acne scars, age spots and other pigmentation issues, those same issues will not return.

CO2 laser treatments offer an additional benefit as they stimulate collagen production, which in turn further reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Some patients prefer to use the CO2 laser to tighten sagging skin near their eyes because it offers a refined approach to sensitive areas. One of the most attractive features of CO2 lasers is that this process can discreetly repair target areas without impacting the surrounding skin.

CO2 lasers aren’t only used for cosmetic surgery. They’re also used as cutting tools by dentists and surgeons who need to limit bleeding from an incision. Powerful CO2 lasers are also used in industrial contexts.

Authorities regard CO2 laser treatments as being safe but warn that patients should only allow a trained dermatologist or a doctor to administer the treatment.

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