Laser stands for light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Because they work by converting electrical energy into a parallel beam of intense bright light, lasers can cut, seal or vaporize tissue and blood vessels. The laser’s advantages come from its ability to produce a specific and powerful wavelength of light with a wide variety of intensities. This pure beam of light is utilized by directing it at a tissue, which absorbs the light. For light energy to be absorbed, it is necessary to have some absorbing molecule in the tissue. In the field of skin surgery, there are several types of laser systems currently available for important clinical applications. However, no single laser is capable of treating all skin conditions. Rather, the type of laser used determines the kind of light emitted from it, and the kind of light, in turn, determines what skin problems can be treated. Following is an overview of lasers most commonly used and their applications.
The use of laser can offer the following general benefits:
Skin/Laser Surgery refers to the treatment of certain skin disorders by surgical means. It also includes the surgical treatment of certain conditions of the scalp and nails.
There are various methods employed in Skin/Laser Surgery. Besides removing skin lesions by cutting with a surgical knife, other methods used include: cryosurgery,electrosurgery and laser surgery. In cryosurgery, a cold substance (usually liquid nitrogen) is used to destroy the skin growth by a freezing process.
In electrosurgery, various forms of controlled electric currents are employed to destroy tissue.
In laser surgery, a precise and intense light beam is used to burn and destroy tissue. All of the above methods are usually performed under local anaesthesia, in some cases, no anaesthesia is required at all. Usually such surgical procedure will take less than 30 minutes to perform. The patient will usually be able to return home immediately after surgery and often, be able to resume work in a day or two.
Certain lesions on the skin or just beneath it can be treated by Skin/Laser Surgery. These include:
Patients for skin / laser surgery should be referred to the NSC general clinics (private and subsidised) in the usual way. After review in our general clinic, patients suitable for surgery will be referred to our skin / laser service for surgery.
You can have certain minor skin surgeries e.g. removal of skin growths, treatment of birthmarks, etc done and then recover, and go home all on the same day. This Day Skin & Laser Surgery service is provided at the National Skin Centre, at a reasonable cost.
After your skin surgery your nurse will give you instructions on your medications and any activity restrictions to follow at home, as specified by your doctor. It is very important that you follow these instructions closely. For your protection, don’t take alcoholic drinks within 24 hours after surgery and for as long as you are taking medications. Here are some of the procedures that can be performed on a day surgery basis: