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MGH Dermatologists Offer Laser Skin Treatment

Armen Hareyan's picture

Dermatologists at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) are using a powerful new type of laser to evaporate patients' wrinkles and sun damage with fewer treatments. Called Fraxel re:pair, this novel technology has roots in the Boston area. The concept was originally developed at the MGH and has led to a whole class of lasers in use across the country, including the Fraxel re:store and Fraxel re:pair. The MGH Dermatology Laser and Cosmetic Center is the first dermatology practice in New England to offer this newest technology.

This particular laser targets microscopic pockets of skin with pixilated pulses of laser energy, ablating or evaporating tiny channels of sun-damaged, wrinkled or acne-scarred skin. During each treatment, about 50 to 75 percent of the skin remains untouched by the laser. The surrounding untouched skin is then able to promote healing by generating collagen, thus rejuvenating and reducing the look of wrinkles and sun-damage to the entire area. The aggressive treatment of the area with ablation produces more dramatic results in just one treatment, compared to four or five with traditional laser treatments.

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"I always tell my patients that sunblock is the best way to prevent wrinkles. But for people with sun-damaged skin, this laser is a great way to set back their clock," says Mathew Avram, MD, JD, director of the Dermatology Laser and Cosmetic Center at MGH.

Unlike the lengthy healing process of ablative resurfacing, which damages an entire layer of skin, this treatment has proven in clinical studies to be safer and better tolerated. Physicians at the MGH can numb the area of skin prior to treatment, minimizing discomfort during the treatment. While there is swelling and some bleeding afterwards, most patients can begin covering treated skin with makeup about 4 days after the treatment.

Traditional Fractional Photothermolysis - such as the Fraxel re:store - has been in use at the Dermatology Laser and Cosmetic Center for the past three and one-half years. It requires four to five treatments, versus a single session with Fraxel re:pair. The concept for the laser was developed by researchers at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at the MGH. Reliant Technologies supported that research and has licensed the technology to manufacture the Fraxel systems.

"In my mind, this treatment is one of the major innovations in the laser world over the past four years," says Avram. "The MGH Dermatology Laser and Cosmetic Center is again on the forefront of providing the newest and safest technologies for our patients."