Fractional lasers - a break-through in skin regeneration

The term fractional comes from the method in which the laser light is transferred. Microscopic points of laser light are used to deliver the laser to the surface of the skin in only a fraction of the area (MTZ - Micro Thermal Zone and MAZ - Micro Ablation Zone). Each spot is surrounded by healthy tissue, which is unexposed to irradiation, which determines the key to success of this method (the skin heals very quickly). The tissue that has not been irradiated enables stimulation of natural reproductive and regenerative processes, which affect larger area than the diameter of a single MTZ or MAZ. This is how the process looks at the cellular level, while on the level of the macro effect we obtain, among others, skin firming and tightening through reconstruction and contraction of collagen fibres.

Non-ablative treatments

They are performed with the lasers, whose beam, concerning its wave length, is able to penetrate the human tissues. Thanks to focusing of the laser beam on the level of the dermis, we obtain a coagulation zone with a diameter of 0,05-0,2 mm and with a depth, depending on the used pulse energy, of 0,05-2,5 mm. Such zone is called with the abbreviation MTZ.

This group of lasers includes, among others, erbium glass laser with a wavelength of 1550 nm - Fraxel

Ablative treatments

They are performed with the lasers, whose beam, concerning its wave length, is unable to penetrate the human tissues. In this case, the whole laser beam energy is used for vaporization and ablation of the tissues, which results in formation of MAZ, as a micro channel or superficial ablation of the epidermis. In consequence of such action on the tissue, micro channels are created, from which their tissue is earlier vaporized. This type of fractional method is very invasive and requires a few weeks for recovery, waiting for healing of the post-treatment effects.

This group of lasers includes, among others, fractional CO2 laser with a wavelength of 10600 nm - Multixel

The ways particular lasers work and their effect on the skin are shown in the table below:

stratum corneum intact broken
dermis heating and denaturation of collagen volumetric skin removal
healing process new collagen fibres are formed micro injuries are contracted
penetration depth 1.4 mm about 2 mm
skin appearance after treatment rash, swelling, darkening of the epidermis rash, micro scabs, peeling
recovery time 3-7 days 7-14 days
main indications 1. rejuvenation of the skin of the face, neck, upper chest, hands, eye area
2. atrophic scars,
3. others: melasma, skin flaccidity, stretch marks
1. atrophic scars: acne scars, post-traumatic and postoperative scars;
2. stretch marks
3. rejuvenation - deep wrinkles, damaged skin
number of required treatments 3-6 2-4
intervals between treatments 3-4 weeks 4-6 weeks

A. Gaczek: Laserowe metody frakcyjne (ang. Fractional laser methods) Nowoczesna Klinika, 2009.