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Laser treatment for the removal of bothersome brown and age spots, Cafe’-au-lait birthmarks, and pigmented scars is very effective and available at Ohio Valley Plastic Surgery.
Brown spots on the skin called lentigines, are small tan to medium brown areas that can arise on any skin surface. They are usually smaller than 1cm but can grow much larger. They typically arise in skin that has received excessive sun exposure and increase in number as a person ages.
Age spots are the accumulated brown spots (described above) which develop during normal aging. Commonly found on the back of the hands, arms, chest, back and face. Cafe’-au-lait spots are flat, light tan to pale brown patches of pigmented skin apparent at birth or in early infancy. Pigmented scars (appearing darker) than the surrounding skin, unresponsive to topical treatment and bleaching creams.
A laser produces a beam of highly concentrated light. Different types of lasers product different colors of light. The color of light produced by a particular laser is the key to the laser’s effect on pigmented (dark) spots, birthmarks, and scars.
The Pulsed Dye Laser produces short, adjustable pulses of laser light to treat these pigmented lesions. The laser’s light energy is absorbed by the melanin (pigment) in the spot, birthmark, or scar effectively removing the pigment from the area.
The length of treatment time will depend on the quantity, size, and depth of the spots, birthmark, or scar.
For brown and age spots, most patients need between 1 to 3 treatments. Sessions are approximately 30 minutes. For larger Cafe’-au-lait birthmarks, patients need to be prepared for as many as 10 to 12 treatments (usually 8 to 9). Pigmented scars need between 1 to 3 treatments. Usually scars will not disappear completely, but will become less noticeable. The sessions are usually spaced 6 to 12 weeks apart and are performed at our offices.
The laser treatment itself feels like numerous little pin-pricks or rubber-band snaps. Most patients do not require anesthesia during the procedure. Topical or local anesthesia is provided for those who do.
Immediately after treatment, there may be swelling, bruising, or crusting and scabbing, which can persist for 1 to 2 weeks.Your doctor will discuss your individual treatment and expected recovery time during your consultation.
The treatment of brown and age spots, Cafe’-au-lait spots, and pigmented scars, are considered to be cosmetic procedures and are not normally covered by health insurance. Some insurance carriers may reimburse patients for treatment of certain skin conditions on a case by case basis.