Sciton ProFractional vs. CO2 - Which Goes Deeper?

Does the Sciton Profractional Laser Go Deeper in Skin Layers As a CO2 Laser Does?

Doctor Answers 6

CO2 vs. Erbium

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I think the more important question is which offers more impressive results and that depends on your cosmetic target or complaint.  Erbium and CO2 lasers both do a great job in peeling the skin and effecting the primary cosmetic endpoints of scarring, dyspigmentation and skin texture.  The CO2 laser causes more thermal/heat damage to the tissue, which causes a greater amount of collagen remodelling and neocollagenesis.  The long-term results of a peel with CO2 laser is more impressive with respect to skin tightening, although both lasers can achieve excellent results.  

The current trend is to do more impressive procedures, such as CO2, but Erbium lasers such as the Sciton Profractional laser definitely offer some nice flexibility with Erbium.  Good luck!

Springfield Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

CO2 versus Erbium:YAG (Sciton)

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Dear cosmetic,

Both go plenty deep, but the Sciton Erbium YAG laser is superior. It has the same target as CO2 (water), but is 12x more efficient. It has a cleaner ablation of tissue without "collateral damage" and therefore the chances of prolonged redness, long-term hypopigmentation, and scarring is significantly less. CO2 technology is older and more outdated than the Sciton.

Michael M. Kim, MD

Michael M. Kim, MD
Portland Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Scition, but depth is not the only factor.

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The answer is Scition, as it can go upto 1.7 mm or 1700 microns. The machines are calibrated to 1500, but recalibration can push it upto 1700 microns. CO2 on the other hand will be 100-200 depending on the brand. What really counts is what are you trying to achieve? You can pulse stack, ie. do more passes with Erbium with safety, but not with CO2 as this has more heating. This heating, as all the doctors have written, remodels collagen and stimulates your cells (fibroblasts) to lay down more collagen- resulting in less wrinkles, tight skin better tone etc. 

The downside is that CO2 has a longer downtime. I approach things by combining both lasers when i resurface- namely full ablative Scition, coupled with CO2 Fractional - this gives excellent results. 

Dr Davin Lim
Laser and Cosmetic Dermatologist

Sciton ProFractional vs CO2

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It really is not a question of which laser goes deeper.  The more important factor is how each of the lasers interacts with your facial skin.  The CO2 laser tends to transfer much more heat to the skin, hence the reason for incresed downtime, redness, etc.  The erbium (ProFractional) tends noto todo that so the healing time and period of redness is usually shorter.

Ultimately, your choice should be based on your surgeon's level of expertise with the device that he/she has recoommended and his/her results and not which specific machine they are using.  I would also recommend that you make sure that the surgeon is doing the treatment and not someone else in the office who may not have the same experience.

Scott Greenberg, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon

How to compare depth of CO2 vs Sciton Profractional

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The difference between fractional erbium and fractional CO2 is not that of depth, but of how the tissue is affected by the laser.  Depth of penetration of the laser is a parameter that can be set according to what needs to be achieved by the treatment.  Sciton's depth is from 25 to 1500 microns.

Comparatively speaking, the thickness of the epidermis on the face is 100 microns.  The thickness of the dermis is from 300 microns on the eyelid to 3000 microns or 3 mm on the back.

Both the CO2 and erbium fractional lasers look for water as the target molecule in the dermis.  Erbium focuses on water better than CO2, therefore CO2 laser creates a zone of coagulation when it vaporizes tissue.  Erbium just vaporizes the targeted tissue at a defined depth.

Interestingly, the Profractional XC has both erbium and a CO2-like coagulation modality that can be used together if needed.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

Microlaser peel and Profractional Resurfacing with the Joule Laser

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Regarding: "Sciton ProFractional vs. CO2 - Which Goes Deeper?
Does the Sciton Profractional Laser Go Deeper in Skin Layers As a CO2 Laser Does?"

The Sciton Joule laser which offers accurate ablation and fractionated Erbium laser resurfacing has the ability to remove skin layers as thin as that of microdermabrasion to layers MUCH deeper than a CO2 laser. It is all up to the doctor operating the laser.

Rather than asking "How deep?" you should be asking "Based on the thickness of my wrinkles, pigmentation etc and the time I can set to be off from work" what is the best laser resurfacing you can suggest?"

Good Luck.

Dr. Peter Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

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.