What's the difference between Laser and Intense Pulse Light or IPL when it comes to laser removal services?
LASER (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) is made up of light beams that are all the same size, a specific wavelength, and are focused together in a narrow channel.
Fuel Ghoul wrote about how lasers are used in dentistry when we profiled the Markham dentist with a powerful Biolase laser. A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation. This pictures shows a very simple schematic outlining the basic concept.
But this is hard to do.. And because its such a complex achievement, there is some dispute about when Lasers were actually invented, but the Laserfest website says Theodore Maiman invented the world's first ruby laser in 1960.
Comprehending the Ruby Laser
Ruby crystal can be grown artificially. The gem is composed of aluminum oxide, where some of the aluminum atoms have been replaced with chromium atoms. So.. if I understand this correctly, regarding the picture on the right, in a ruby laser, the Gain Medium would be a ruby - grown artificially in a cylindrical tube. That cylindrical and hopefully mathematically perfect ruby is then wrapped in a light source which pumps massive amounts of light radiation into the crystal matrix.
Only a fraction of this energy escapes through the Gain Medium to the Output Coupler, which joins the light streams together into a single 'beam'. In early demonstrations of the ruby laser, the output is a single pulse because it takes so much energy to make the light required around the Gain Medium and its hot. Some sophisticated cooling apparatus around the crystal array is required esp for contiguous beam lasers.
Ruby lasers were among the first instruments developed, and publicly tested, and are used today in many applications including healthcare. Over the years, many thousands of scientists in various advanced nations have been working on improving the technology, and have improved the Gain Mediums. Lasers can now be divided into three categories: gas lasers, solid lasers and molecular lasers.
All three types of Lasers are frequently used in healthcare today.
Modern medical science uses lasers to diagnose disease and make precise incisions in human flesh. Eye surgeons harness lasers to correct vision. Dentists use lasers to do soft tissue oral surgery, and teeth whitening. Many other medical practitioners use some sort of photon scalpel to deliver light energy somewhere in the human body, and by using different wavelengths they can achieve different results. Most medical laser beams are so small, and so precise they allow doctors to safely treat diseased tissue without injuring the surrounding area.
Laser vein removal often uses radio frequency or laser energy to cauterize veins from the inside out..
Endovenous Ablation - Varicose Vein Treatment
Endovenous ablation is a treatment that uses radio frequency or laser energy to cauterize (burn) and close abnormally enlarged veins in the legs, a condition called varicose veins.
Normally, blood circulates from the heart to the legs via arteries and back to the heart through veins. Veins contain one-way valves which allow blood to return from the legs against gravity. If the valves leak, blood pools in leg veins which can become enlarged or varicose.
Endovenous ablation is an image-guided procedure that uses heat generated by radio frequency or laser energy to seal off these faulty vessels, diverting blood flow immediately to nearby healthy veins.
The heat kills the walls of the veins and the body then naturally absorbs the dead tissue and the abnormal veins are destroyed. It can be carried out in a simple treatment room rather than in the operating theatre.
Intense Pulse Light Therapy is not a Laser Therapy
Intense Pulse Light (IPL) systems work on the same principles as lasers in that light energy is absorbed into particular target cells with colour (chromophores) in the skin. The light energy is converted to heat energy, which causes damage to the specific target area. IPL systems are different to lasers in that they deliver many wavelengths (or colours) in each pulse of light instead of just one wavelength. Most IPL systems use filters to refine the energy output for the treatment of certain areas. This enhances penetration without using excessive energy levels and enables targeting of specific chromophores (these are skin components that absorb light).
IPL therapy is considered a non-ablative resurfacing technique, which means that it targets the lower layers of skin (dermis) without affecting the top layers of skin (epidermis). The results are not as dramatic as ablative resurfacing where both the dermis and epidermis are injured to produce a much more noticeable overall outcome. The advantage of IPL therapy is its minimal downtime – a patient can often have the procedure done in their lunch break and return to work immediately afterwards.
Lumecca IPL for Skin Rejuvenation
InMode Lumecca uses intense pulsed light to carefully target and treat skin conditions through selective photothermolysis. The Lumecca program improves the appearance of age spots, sun damage, vascular lesions, rosacea, and freckles. An improved skin appearance can be seen after the first session and multiple sessions deliver even better results. A strong sapphire-cooling tip provides a safe and painless procedure for clients. Lumecca can be combined with Fractora for a full-face treatment regime.
Selective photothermolysis is an optical technique used to ablate tissue in targeted regions. The objective is to heat targeted tissue with a laser and destroy it without damaging surrounding tissue. Targeted cells are damaged mainly through the absorption of light and the subsequent heating of tissue due to energy transfer. Heating of the tissue denatures proteins and halts major cell survival processes.
Skin tightening at Numi spa in Brampton shows the patient lying flat, protected with goggles and numbing gel, getting an IPL treatment at the hands of a skilled technician.
The clinic uses the InMode Lumecca machine which produces a high-output flash to produce a broad wavelength output of non coherent light between 500 to 1200nm. Light pulses generated by this device and others on the market are produced by bursts of electrical current passing through a xenon gas-filled chamber. Xenon is the new ruby. The lamp output is then directed toward the distal end of the hand piece which releases the energy pulse onto the surface of the skin via a sapphire block. So you see the elements of a laser are still present - a light source connected to a gain medium and then some manner of output synchronicity device. You can read more about Numi Spa Laser Removal in this Brampton magazine.
IPL is now among the most commonly used treatments for spider and thread veins, and some vascular birthmarks. Light pulses are targeted at the red-pigment (haemoglobin) in the blood which heats and destroys the pigment without affecting the skin or other tissues.