What's the Difference Between Fraxel CO2 Laser and Other CO2 Lasers?

Doctor Answers 6

The Difference Between Reliant's Fraxel CO2 to Other CO2 Technologies

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Hi Gail,

Fraxel is the original fractional non-ablative laser system, and has established a strong track record of solid clinical research, FDA clearances, and proven results. The safety of fractional technology has now been combined with the effectiveness of CO2 lasers.

Fraxel re:pair has earned the endorsement of top aesthetic physicians world-wide and patients ask for it by name. Unfortunately, asking for Fraxel by name, and thinking that you are getting Fraxel treatments do not guarantee that you are getting treated by Fraxel technology. Due to the success of the innovation and excellence of Reliant Technologies Fraxel product, almost every other laser company in the skin resurfacing business is coming out with a "fractionated" product, but they are not the same as Fraxel.

Fractionated CO2 laser treatments are where the future of facial cosmetic surgery is headed in the future as evidenced by the myriad of laser companies introducing their version of the technology. Older traditional CO2 lasers removed about 0.3mm of the entire skin surface, took much longer to heal, had increased risks of complications including infection, post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation (lines of demarcation) and scarring. They could only treat the face alone. Fractionated CO2 lasers can remove skin at deeper levels while leaving a fraction of the surface skin to help heal the treated area much quicker. Areas off of the face can be safely treated.

What distinguishes Reliant's Fraxel re:pair CO2 laser from the other fractional CO2 technologies?

1. More clinical results and patient follow-up than any other fractional CO2 device on the market with no cases of delayed onset hypopigmentation up to 18 months post treatment. 2. Treats up to 4 times faster than any other ablative device on the market. 3. Delivers the broadest range of fractional ablative treatment in a single handpiece- superficial to deep (5-70mJ); mild to aggressive (5-70% coverage). 4. Clinically demonstrated to penetrate beyond 1.5 mm removing up to 6 grams of dermal tissue leading to greater skin tightening (15 to 25 grams are removed in a facelift). 5. Only fractional ablative device with built-in smoke evacuation- greater ease of use; faster treatments, greater patient comfort, and shorter downtimes. 6. Superior access in small areas and around the eyes. 7. Continuous motion scanning technique--affords optimal uniformity of treatment zones resulting in greater efficacy and faster healing. Fraxel is the gold standard of "fractionated" technology.

Just because it is called "fractional”, does not guarantee that it is Reliant's Fraxel. If Fraxel is what you desire, make sure that you are getting Reliant's Fraxel.

Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Fraxel CO2 preserves untreated tissue between treated tissue to decrease downtime

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Fraxel or Fractionated CO2 lasers treat skin in a segmental manner where the laser leaves untreated skin in between treated skin to allow the skin to heal much faster. This leads to less downtime and less risk for complications. But you always have to remember that the more aggressive you are the more results that you are likely to get.

With the less aggressive fractionated laser, you are going to get less results and are likely to need more treatment sessions to give you the same results that you would received with the more aggressive approach. For some people this is a great option to have less down time so they can get back to work earlier. So it depends on your lifestyle.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

The fraxel fractionates the laser into little dots.

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Traditional laser treats the entire surface (kind of like using a large paint brush). Fraxel lasers fractionate or split the laser into very tiny beams (kind of like making a bunch of dots) which cover the surface. With each laser, everywhere the laser hits undergoes thermal damage. The advantage of the fraxel laser is that the spaces in between the "dots" remain healthy which leads to quicker healing.

David Shafer, MD

Pinpoint laser beams

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The older ultrapulsed CO2 (carbon dioxide) laser resurfacing treatments involved removal of the entire surface of the skin creating a wound equivalent to a second degree burn. This took about 12 days to heal and the redness that developed after healing persisted for many months, sometimes up to a year or more. There was a slight risk of scarring from the procedure. The Fraxel Repair, or CO2 laser does not ablate all the skin at one session. Many pinpoint laser beams penetrate the skin but leave normal skin in between these treated areas. These non-affected skin sections, which are very tiny, help speed up the healing compared to the older CO2 laser. Healing occurs in as few as 3 to 4 days or up to 10 or more days, but the healing is more comfortable than with the old CO2 and there is much less redness, and even less risk of scarring. The old CO2 laser had induced lighter skin as a delayed (up to one year after the procedure) reaction which was a negative side effect. This has not been reported with the Fraxel Repair laser at low to moderate energy settings yet. The Fraxel Repair, not to be confused with the Fraxel Restore which is not a CO2 laser, has only been available to physicians for approximately one year. More long term data is needed. The Portrait Plasma device uses the thermal energy of plasma as opposed to laser, to resurface the skin and provides similar results to the Fraxel along with some tightening. Fraxel is possibly safer on darker-skinned individuals than Portrait.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Fraxel co2 and other co2 lasers

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Fraxel is a non-ablative erbium laser which varies from the fractionated CO2 laser in wave length. The fractionated CO2 laser delivers a more aggressive treatment in less treatments at higher strengths. Since less treatments are required, the higher strength results in longer down time period, usually ~4-5 days. Fraxel requires more treatments at a lower strength and a shorter downtime of ~1-2 days. Fraxel is safer in all skin types and the CO2 laser is best for lighter skin types and Asians. Both lasers have shown to beautiful results for wrinkles, acne scarring, and pigmented lesions.

Fraxel CO2 and traditional CO2 lasers

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Fraxel lasers work a bit differently than the traditional CO2 lasers. Fraxel leaves areas of normal skin between the treated areas to allow for a quicker healing time, thus minimizing the redness in patients.

Traditional CO2 removes the superficial layers of the skin throughout the treated area. Both can give equal results. It really depends upon the physician.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.