What is the Combined CO2 and Erbium Yag Laser?
A combined, dual-wavelength CO2/Er:YAG laser system has the ability to deliver both clean ablation of skin with the erbium wavelength and a simultaneous deeper penetrating subablative thermal pulse of CO2 for full-face resurfacing.
What happens during the CO2 and Erbium Yag laser?
In this treatment, the Er:YAG laser is first used to remove the epidermis, followed by use of the CO2 laser to achieve contraction of underlying collagen. This produces the collagen-tightening benefits of CO2 therapy but with minimal damage to surrounding tissues.
Combination laser therapy is a relatively recent addition to lasers. Traditionally, laser therapy has focused on using a single modality to treat the face. While this still has some merit, Dr. Shah has focused on using combination laser therapy to help enhance the benefits of laser therapy while minimizing the risks. In particular, C02 laser therapy and erbium laser therapy can be combined together to create a more robust result.
What are the advantages of the combined laser?
C02 laser therapy has the main advantage of being directly more responsible for tightening and collagen deposition in the skin. One of the main weaknesses of C02 laser therapy is that it can create a longer downtime period for patients than they may want. In addition, patients would experience pigmentation issues when using prolonged laser therapy. Fractionated C02 became popular as a means of limiting downtime but the results in many instances did not recreate results that patients had with isolated C02 laser therapy. Erbium laser has an advantage of having less risk than C02 therapy but one of the main drawbacks with erbium laser is that results can be sometimes timid.
How does Dr. Shah combine the CO2 and Erbium Yag laser?
Dr. Shah combines both modalities to create a “best of both worlds” scenario. He utilizes a fractionated C02 laser protocol in combination with an Erbium laser. Both of these lasers can offer synergistic qualities and can create a more robust result while minimizing the risk of full facial C02 laser. He will uses these lasers in a variety of combinations to help resurface the skin effectively.
One such protocol involves doing a light to medium Erbium facial peel to help remove the superficial layer of the skin. A fractionated C02 will then penetrate the skin more potently to help create a more youthful result. In another protocol Dr. Shah has developed, he uses a deeper fractionated C02 laser followed by an Erbium peel to help blend the skin into a smoother appearance.
Combination laser therapy can be a powerful means to create a safer longer lasting result than using either C02 laser or Erbium laser in isolation.
How long does the combined laser treatment take?
Before the laser, one of our medical assistants will apply a numbing cream on the specific areas getting treated. The actual laser takes only 15-20 minutes itself.