Widely used all across the medical and cosmetic industry, laser therapy has been around for less than a century. In a span of just several decades, this treatment has found its application in everything from surgeries to dental and vision correction to hair loss treatments, with first laser surgery taking place in 1962. Ever since its discovery, the surgical procedures have improved in terms of effectiveness while lessening the overall pain involved.
Whether you are considering undergoing a particular treatment or are simply curious to discover more about this amazing technology, here is what you need to know about laser therapy.
How does it work?
Many people don’t know that LASER is actually an acronym, standing for Laser Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Relying on the process called photobiomodulation, the laser comes into contact with the skin. This allows for the penetration of the photons into the tissue. The photons help the cells repair themselves by providing the much-needed energy. This helps speed up the process that occurs naturally but at a significantly slower rate.
In some cases, the cells are unable to repair themselves effectively. With the application of lasers, these cells can be stimulated to heighten their performance, thus ensuring faster wound/injury healing.
What is it used for?
Laser therapy works to combat inflammation along with chronic and persistent pain. When used for medical purposes, laser therapy can help with anything from sealing nerve endings and blood vessels to shrinking tumors to relieving cancer symptoms. Some professionals such as the reputable dr Krinsky apply this technology to treat an array of conditions, including atrophic vaginitis, dyspareunia, and urinary incontinence. When used cosmetically, laser therapy can help remove everything from tattoos to hair to moles and birthmarks.
Other conditions that are possible to treat using laser therapy include:
- strains and sprains
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- plantar fasciitis
What does it feel like?
The thought of a laser coming in contact with the skin may seem daunting to some patients. However, patients who have undergone laser therapy have reported little to no sensation of heat or tingling. Some of them reported feeling mild warmth that helped soothe them, while others simply felt the pressure of the device on their skin. In cases where a massage ball was used during the treatment, patients described the experience as enjoyable.
For patients dealing with chronic pain, the effectiveness of the procedure was especially pronounced as their pain drastically decreased following laser therapy, especially if the treatment involved the use of particularly powerful lasers.
How to prepare?
Prior to the treatment, your practitioner will take the necessary steps to ensure the maximum level of safety. The two of you will discuss your health condition and history along with your previous surgeries (if any). If you’re dealing with any additional medical problems, be sure to address them.
In the days leading up to the procedure, your treating provider will inform you about any restrictions regarding eating and drinking, along with wearing makeup or perfumes. During the treatment, you will be wearing protective eyewear. After the procedure, you will need someone to drive you home, especially if it involves sedation.
What are the advantages?
What makes this type of therapy so amazing is the wide range of techniques it offers. This means that surgeons can easily adjust it to accommodate the procedure that’s taking place. Depending on the procedure, the surgeon may use a CO2 laser, Argon laser, Nd:YAG laser, or LLLT. The treatments last relatively short, although this depends on the condition that’s being treated as well as its acuteness.
Because the light from the laser focuses into powerful beams, the surgeons are able to operate not only quickly but with extreme precision as well. Compared to traditional surgeries, laser surgeries involve less scarring and swelling, along with minimal damage to the surrounding tissue.
What are the drawbacks?
Generally speaking, laser therapy is quite safe when used in the right way and by qualified professionals. That said, like every procedure, laser therapy comes with a certain number of risks.
Your therapist will inform you about any potential laser treatment risks, along with risks associated with general anesthesia. The former involves risks such as infection, bleeding, and skin color changes, while the latter include confusion, pneumonia, and stroke. The patient’s overall health also plays a role, and the risk of complications increases with poor health. Depending on the type of procedure, you may also need repeated treatments.
From faster wound healing to effective pain relief to vision improvement, the benefits of laser treatments are numerous. As its application continues to expand across different fields, this technology is certain to gain even more popularity. With minimal downtime and good overall patient tolerance, laser therapy could be the ideal solution that you were looking for.