I'm considering SmartXide Dot Therapy which sounds like a Fractional Laser from what from what I've picked up from this site. What are the possible hazards of undergoing this procedure? Will one treatment be sufficient? I'm a lot more hesitant after reading about all the problems people have had.
Possible Dot Therapy Hazards?
Doctor Answers 2
There is a lot of hype from laser manufacturers that goes into marketing lasers. The laser is just a tool in the hands of hopefully an experienced physician. How that laser is used by the physician is most critical in treating problems and avoiding complications. There are risks with any procedure and any technology and only an experienced physician can evalute you problem and present alternatives. Remember that lasers can be sold to any doctor (MD, DO) without any verification of credentials or training. It is up to you to ask the critical questions of your physician - what is your background training in medicine and especially surgery and cosmetic surgery? Are you board certified and if so in what field? How many of these procedures have you done and can I see pictures of patients you have done the procedure on and possibly talk with one or two? What are the potential risks and complications and can you treat them if they occur? What are the alternatives of laser treatment? If all the physician has is a laser, then he/she will use that regardless of what alternatives, which may be better in your case, may be. Remember also to ask how many treatments may be needed? Can they be repeated and if so how often and what are the subsequent costs? Lots of homework for you to do.
There are many different forms of fractional CO2 lasers. SmartXide is one of the brands, but there is also Active/Deep FX, Fraxel, etc. They all pretty much work the same way (but there are difference between each machine). They all fractionate the CO2 beam into smaller beams. By doing so, only a certain percentage of skin gets treated. There are less side effects and complication associated with the fractional co2 than the traditional fully ablative one. The most common side effects are pigmentation changes, particularly in darker skin individuals. This is for the most part temporary and will resolve with the use of hydroquinone. Other side effects do include redness (temporary), scarring, blistering etc. The most common complaint is that the redness persists, which can happen in light colored individuals when the laser is used at a high setting (which is appropriate in some patients). The redness is not a real complication, it is expected after the procedure. How long it lasts typically varies between individuals depending upon how sensitive they are, the energy levels used etc. In addition, the side effects also depend on the practitioner. You want to make sure that the physician doing the procedure has been trained appropriately and has enough experience. Although complications can happen in anyone, it is less likely in the hands of an experienced laser surgeon.