UltraPulse CO2 laser ablation skin lesions

Treatment with the UltraPulse CO2 laser

The UltraPulse CO2 laser produces a very powerful light wave that is able to heat and evaporate tissues immediately. That is why the UltraPulse CO2 laser is sometimes called the evaporating laser. With the UltraPulse CO2 laser, it is possible to evaporate the superficial cells of elevated or wart-like skin lesions, layer by layer. We do this with such precision that there is hardly any thermal damage to the underlying tissues. This way, superficial skin lesions can be completely removed without scarring, lightening of the texture or pigment damage.

We can beautifully level deeper skin lesions with a natural skin texture after recovery. Sometimes after the treatment of a deeper skin lesion, using the evaporating laser, there is some lightening of the texture. However, this is less disruptive than a surgical scar.

Which forms of skin lesions can we treat using the UltraPulse CO2 laser?

The UltraPulse CO2 laser or evaporating laser offers many possibilities and can be used for the removal (ablation) of various types of skin lesions. That is why we also call this type of treatment, an UltraPulse CO2 laser ablation.

  • Removal of birthmarks
    Birthmarks (intradermal naevi) are a benign accumulation of pigment-forming cells in the skin. Some birthmarks are congenital, others arise later in life. Almost everyone, both male and female, gets birthmarks. In exceptional cases, birthmarks or moles can develop into melanoma, malignant pigment cell cancer. Therefore, it is advisable to have birthmarks and moles assessed by an experienced dermatologist. 
  • Removal of warts
    Warts (verrucae) are cauliflower-like or solid-feeling growths on the skin. Common warts are caused by the human papillomavirus and are contagious. Warts are a common abnormality. Although they can also crop up in adults, they are more often seen in children.
  • Removal of cholesterol spots or plaques
    Yellow-brown velvety papules (xanthelasmata) on both the lower and upper eyelids. The spots consist of an accumulation of cholesterol and, therefore, are also called cholesterol spots. In some patients, a disturbed lipid metabolism is found, while this is not the case in others. They are more common in women than in men and usually do not develop until middle age. 
  • Treatment of deep scars caused through acne
    Acne is caused by an accumulation of sebum and a blockage of the outlet (pore) of the sebaceous glands so that these eventually become infected. In severe acne, hundreds of festering pimples and abscesses can burst open and disfigure the face, back or other areas of the body, including the arms, shoulders and the neck. Acne usually occurs around puberty and women can suffer from it in the days before their period. Although acne is not dangerous, it is often perceived as cosmetically distressing.
  • Removal of deep wrinkles in the face, around the eyes and mouth
  • Removal of age spots
  • Removal of severe sun damage in the face
  • Removal of various types of scars caused by an accident, an operation, burns, etc.
  • Rejuvenation of the face

The results expected from an UltraPulse CO2 laser treatment

Although an UltraPulse CO2 laser treatment is effective in the majority of cases, we can never guarantee that the desired level of improvement is achieved in each individual patient after one treatment. Sometimes more than one treatment is necessary to achieve an acceptable result.

Is an UltraPulse CO2 laser ablation painful?

  • An UltraPulse CO2 laser ablation is painful. Therefore, we usually apply a local anaesthetic.
  • With extensive treatments, we can consider opting for a general anaesthetic.
  • During the first few days after treatment, depending on the depth of the treatment (especially in the case of plantar warts), further pain relief is still needed. Simple painkillers such as Dafalgan or Perdolan usually suffice here.

How healing progresses after laser treatment with the UltraPulse CO2 laser?

  • The UltraPulse CO2 laser causes a superficial injury (erosion) of the skin, which can be compared with a wet abrasion. Normally, this wound heals in about two weeks.
  • After a couple of days, a white-yellow fibrinous deposit develops that dries out into a sort of scab. It is important that the fibrinous deposits and the crusts which form come loose by themselves.
  • Rubbing or manipulation can cause a deeper injury and contain a risk of scarring. 
  • After 5 to 10 days, the scabs and flakes will come loose gradually. At which time, the skin will have reformed an epidermis (epithelium).
  • Temporarily, you will still clearly see redness (erythema), which will disappear after anything from a few weeks up to 3 months (individual times differ considerably). If desired, this redness can be perfectly camouflaged. 

Possible complications

Complications with an UltraPulse CO2 laser ablation are rare, but can never be ruled out 100%. Possible complications can include:

  • Infection
    An intact skin protects infection naturally. After the treatment, this protection is temporarily lost. To limit the risk of infection, we propose preventative antiseptic (bacteriostatic) aftercare with an antiseptic ointment such as Flamigel, Flammazine or Terramycine, or with an antiseptic powder such as Sterilon. 
  • Lightening texture, scarring
    The risk of scarring is minimal, but we can never rule this out 100%. Proud flesh (keloids) or scars with a tissue overgrowth (hypertrophic scar) are among the possibilities. To limit the risk of scarring, it is important the post-operative instructions are followed closely. It is also important that the history of each acute wound healing is reported. The risk also increases in people who have taken the drug Roaccutane up until a couple of months before laser treatment for acne
  • Pigment modifications
    The treated zone can heal with some darkening (hyperpigmentation) or lightening (hypopigmentation) of the skin. Persons with a more pigmented skin (of southern origin, for example) and those who have been exposed to the sun a lot, are the most sensitive. We always recommend applying maximum sun protection during the first few weeks after the treatment. If some darkening or hyperpigmentation should arise in the treated zone, it will disappear spontaneously or with a local treatment after 3 to 6 months. 
  • Eye damage
    Lasers can damage the eyes. Keeping the eyes closed during treatment is sufficient for protection. In addition, appropriate measures are taken. For extra safety, we encourage you to wear protective glasses, we put wet compresses on your eyes or we place metallic eyecups on your eyelids during treatment.

If you should suffer from an unexpected complication, it is very important that you contact us as soon as possible so that we can take the appropriate measures.

Personalised information during a consultation

The above information regarding the UltraPulse CO2 laser treatment and the few examples of skin lesions that can be treated by it is very general since this technique is used for a wide variety of applications. During the preliminary laser consultation, we discuss in-depth the anticipated results and possible inconveniences depending on the specific application we anticipate using. The pros and cons of possible alternatives, such as a surgical treatment, can also be discussed during the consultation.