A New Solution to an Old Problem…Aging.
North Idaho Business Journal. Oct 2005.
by Kevin M. Johnson
For centuries people have attempted to look younger using a variety of mostly medicinal, topical skin lotions and potions. Plastic surgery has been a fairly recent modern-day approach to looking younger. Although the newest surgical techniques are becoming less invasive, these procedures still carry the risks that accompany skin operations; namely bleeding, infection, pain, occasional numbness, recovery, and healing time.
While the technology in virtually all surgical specialties is moving toward minimally invasive surgical techniques, many patients are looking for alternatives to surgical procedures with lasting results. Lasers were introduced into medicine more than 20 years ago and have been used in medicine in various specialties for years, but have only recently become a part of mainstream society due to the popularity of Lasik® eye surgery.
In the last five years aesthetic laser technology has exploded. The industry has evolved from the more invasive ablative CO2 lasers for resurfacing, to longer wavelength adjustable fluence (or energy delivered to an area) lasers that have multiple capabilities. These new lasers are safer, more predictable, and more effective than ever before. More and more patients are seeking aesthetic improvements that are non-invasive, non-ablative, and require no down time or “period of cosmetic disability.”
American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery statistics show that more than 11.8 million cosmetic procedures were performed in 2004, up 44 percent from 2003. According to the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, non-ablative skin rejuvenation is the fastest growing aesthetic procedure with 60 percent growth from 2001 to 2003. The latest in the comprehensive approach to aesthetic laser enhancement of one’s aging appearance is 3-D Photorejuvenation.
Simply put, the skin consists of multiple layers – each affected differently by aging and sun damage. Each layer of skin houses a different set of complexion flaws. Additionally, each and every person acquires different complexion flaws. The 60-year-old smoking construction worker who has constantly been in the sun for years has a different set of problems with his skin and complexion than the 30-year-old post-partum woman with a history of acne with resulting scarring. Not all skin has the same appearance and challenges, so not all aesthetic skin rejuvenation treatments should be the same. 3-D Photorejuvenation targets these specific areas using different laser modalities and tailoring rejuvenation to the individual.
Layer 1 – the most superficial – is responsible for dyschromias or uneven skin coloring. This can be manifested in generalized redness or brown spots. These areas of discoloration are treated with specific wavelengths of light called IPL, or intelligent pulsed light, designed to lift the pigment out of the skin leaving the surrounding skin unharmed.
Layer 2 – the intermediate skin levels are responsible for some scarring, texture and pore size, and fine lines and wrinkles. These changes are treated with a long wavelength laser designed to penetrate to the appropriate level gently warming the target area, creating new collagen deposition. The treatment is called laser genesis.
Layer 3 – the deepest levels are responsible for skin laxity due to the loss of collagen as we age. It happens to all of us. Titan is the treatment that creates deep dermal heating using infrared light energy resulting in collagen contraction and new collagen deposition over time. More collagen equals less tissue laxity and a healthier, younger appearance.
These three treatments used alone or in combination provide the full spectrum of interventions required to reverse damage created by sun exposure and the loss of collagen due to aging.
3-D Photorejuvenation provides multiple options for multiple targets since not all skin is created (or treated) equally as we age and are exposed to the elements. Patients are increasingly shying away from surgery. Now that a safe, technologically advanced, non-ablative intervention with no down time is available to them, we can only expect the current trends in laser aesthetic treatments will continue.
– Kevin M. Johnson, M.D., F.A.C.S., is a general and vascular surgeon who practices at Lake City Surgeons PLLC in Coeur d’Alene and is a co-founder of Reflections Med Spas also in Coeur d’Alene. Dr. Johnson earned his bachelor’s degree from Pacific Lutheran University and then graduated from the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is a board certified Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Johnson practiced for eight years in Moscow and Pullman before founding Reflections Med Spas. He can be reached at (509) 209-2171 .