Skin laser treatments, our specialty
What are medical lasers
Laser is the acronym for the English term Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Simply explained, it is a very intense light source of a specific wavelength with a very high energy of an orderly formation which can be accurately aimed at a very small spot. Thanks to these properties it has been discovered that provided an appropriate pulse duration and energy flux is used, medical lasers can be precisely aimed and used to consciously influence, damage or destroy certain parts of the skin while the surrounding tissues remain intact. The purpose of a laser treatment is, for example, to reach pigment cells or blood vessels without damaging the normal skin structures, in order to achieve a dermatologic or aesthetic improvement of the skin.
Tried and tested laser equipment with proven effectiveness
Not all skin problems can be treated with one and the same laser. At the Cutaneous Laser Centre, we have several medical lasers, which our dermatologists expertly use in function of the skin disorder so that we can achieve an optimal result.
Laser surgery can be classified under the heading of advanced medicine. During the last few decades, a tremendous evolution in the development of laser equipment has taken place. However, there is a lot of difference in quality among the commercialized medical lasers. The best and most developed lasers are usually the most expensive to purchase. The quality differences are reflected in the effectiveness of the skin treatment, the pain experienced during the treatment and the healing response.
Major developments have occurred in recent years especially in the field of healing. By striving for the same or even better results with less discomfort, patients can now resume their professional and social activities much more quickly after the treatments.
At the Cutaneous Laser Centre, we always strive to work with the latest and best-performing equipment. However, we never perform experimental treatments. We only buy new devices when their effectiveness has been proven and when they present a substantial improvement in relation to the already existing devices.
Even with the best laser devices and physicians, complications cannot be excluded
The first generation of lasers was produced in the '60s. However, the first lasers always had a definite burning effect that usually caused a certain degree of scarring. Only when Anderson and Parrish formulated the theoretical principles of selective photothermolysis, in 1983, were selective lasers developed for different skin disorders.
After years of scientific studies and experience laser devices have now conquered a full-term place in the therapeutic arsenal of dermatologists. When treatments are performed according to the rules of art, you should not fear for complications such as scarring, degeneration risks, etc.
We continue to refine our professional knowledge and do not lose sight of our responsibility. In aesthetic treatments, after all, complications are absolutely undesirable. A single individual reaction during the healing process such as inflammation, an infection, allergy or a reaction due to an unreported prior sun exposure may occur rarely. At that time, it is important that your physician is informed so that the correct diagnosis and prescriptions for specific treatment can be made.
What are the considered risks regarding laser treatment
The necessity of aesthetic treatment
Laser medicine is still a form of medicine. A skin disorder because of a natural evolution, including predisposition or natural skin aging, is not a disease. Unlike traditional medicine where something is cured (curative medicine), an aesthetic treatment is not medically necessary.
It is of the utmost importance that both the patient and the physician remain aware of the fact that a laser treatment is a medical treatment with which we damage small particles of the skin in a controlled way.
For this type of treatment, the physician requires the patient's permission to damage his / her skin temporarily with the aim to achieve aesthetic improvement, without it being a medical necessity. With professional knowledge, the doctors performing treatments at the CLC hereby promise to do their utmost best to achieve the expected results, preferably in as few treatments as possible and with negligible risk.
When in doubt about the nature of a skin lesion
A laser treatment is performed without a histological examination. In a histological examination, a tissue sample is taken (biopsy) which is examined under the microscope. Performing a biopsy will almost always leave a scar.
Dermatologists are well-trained doctors who have the necessary clinical knowledge to assess a skin lesion. When in doubt about the nature of a pigmented lesion, including a starting melanoma for which some medical risk may exist, your doctor at the CLC will never perform laser treatment but insist on a surgical removal of the skin lesion.
One hundred percent infallibility in clinical assessment does not exist. Occasionally, a dermatologist will be surprised by the result of a histological examination. In the vast majority of cases, this would have no medical consequences for the laser treatment. However, this can never be ruled out 100%. If you find this very small risk unacceptable, you can of course voluntarily decide never to have a skin lesion removed with a laser on a scar-free manner. In that case, you can opt to have the skin lesion removed surgically. This method, however, will always result in one or more scars, but a histological examination can be made which will provide 100% certainty about the nature of the lesion.
Anyway, certain skin lesions should be treated to prevent the development of a medical problem.
How much does a laser treatment cost?
- The fees for the treatments at the CLC are fixed. This means that all patients will pay the same fee for a particular type of treatment, with any of the doctors at the CLC.
- These fees are different for each type of laser device and are defined on the basis of the actual costs: the cost and running costs for the laser, nursing expenses, instalment payments for the infrastructure, and fees for the attending physician.
- For some laser treatments, there is a fixed fee per treatment, with other laser types, the price is determined by the number of pulses (depending on the surface to be treated) or by the number of skin lesions to be treated.
- Information on fees can be obtained freely from your physician.
Can a laser treatment be reimbursed by the national health insurance?
With the exception of the removal of congenital naevi in visible places, a RIZIV nomenclature does not exist for the laser treatment of skin disorders, which means that these treatments are not reimbursable through the national health insurance. At best, a small part can be recovered for some indications through a non-specific nomenclature, such as the UltraPulse CO2 laser.
Personalised information provides greater trust than a signed form
Under Belgian law, any patient undergoing an aesthetic treatment has to personally sign a 'form of consent' to prove that relevant and necessary information was communicated by us.
Because practising good medicine is a matter of trust and since it is known that extensive descriptions and small print are rarely read, most of the doctors at CLC do not do this. Each patient is unique. The generalized information described on the forms is rarely adjusted to the patient's specific treatment which often means the patient concerned cannot see the forest for the trees.
In addition, these documents always include in small print the most serious complications that can be devised, thus signing these forms would exempt doctors from any responsibility. In fact, these rare complications should not occur in aesthetic laser treatments. But medicine remains medicine; absolute certainty can never be given.
We always provide the modified general information in writing, on paper, if necessary, but preferably digitally via the website, without the obligation to sign it. Good medicine should remain a matter of trust. We are not responsible for incorrect social evolutions and wrong political decisions. Moreover, we find that having to sign a document and thus increasing the paper mountain, is ecologically irresponsible.