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Laser handpiece speeds facial peels.

Swept across the face like a paintbrush across a canvas. a new laser tool removes damaged and wrinkled skin, accomplishing fullface peels faster than other laser devices while avoiding the complications and imprecision of more traditional face-peel methods. notes R. James Koch, assistant professor of surgery facial plastic and reconstructive). Stanford (Calif.) University School of Medicine. The tool is a specially designed handpiece that emits a wide-diameter laser beam. By sweeping the beam across the entire face, the device removes skin 33% faster than other laser handpieces, which resurface the face one section at a time as if filling in a paint-by-number pattern.

In a six-month study of 54 patients, Koch found that a carbon dioxide laser with the new hand attachment gave precise control while rapidly resurfacing the skin. The pen-like handpiece, attached to the laser source by a flexible fiber. can repair sun-damaged skin, remove small growths, and diminish wrinkles. "The results are better than with the traditional chemical peels and dermabrasion [sanding] because the doctor can accurately control the depth of skin removal." While destroying damaged skin, the laser also tightens underlying collagen, producing a "mini-face lift" effect. Collagen is the fibrous protein that gives skin its elasticity.

Face peels -- using various methods including chemical peels, dermabrasion, and laser resurfacing -- are intended to reduce or eliminate wrinkles. acne damage, lesions. and loose or chronically sun-damaged skin, which can be leathery with dark or yellowish patches or pre-cancerous growths. Chemical peels and dermabrasion can be difficult to deliver consistenty, explains Koch, who has experience using each of these techniques. To administer a chemical peel, physicians select one of several types of caustic chemicals. Each kind removes skin to a different. although approximate, depth. "Controlling the depth of skin peeling with chemical applications is difficult." Koch points out. Dermabrasion is like using heavy-duty sandpaper to rub away the rough upper layers on a piece of wood. "Technically, it's very difficult and very bloody. With the laser, there's no bleeding. The control of the laser really beats the two traditional ways of peeling the skin."
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Title Annotation:specially-designed handpiece emits wide-diameter laser beam for better results than other face-peel methods
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Feb 1, 1998
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