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What is the YAG Laser?
YAG Laser, or nd: YAG Laser is a non-ablative laser that primarily targets unwanted blood vessels and capillaries. YAG lasers emit near-infrared light and can perform in two different settings: pulsed or continuous. Our system, the Lumenis Long Pulsed nd: YAG Laser, delivers long pulses that selectively target the deeper layers of the dermis, and heat these tissues and underlying vascular networks without interfering with the surface of the skin (hence, being “non-ablative”). Targeting unwanted vasculatures with this treatment provides beautiful cosmetic results. These areas can have a wide array of effects on the vasculatures, which make for great cosmetic treatments.
One common use for the YAG laser is for the treatment of spider veins. The surfacing of these dilated veins can be seen under the skin as bluish hue and can be cosmetically bothersome.
The YAG laser can penetrate through the deeper layers of the skin and into the unwanted veins. The heat produced by the laser causes coagulation of the blood inside these vessels, therefore triggering the body’s natural cleanup process to occur. These unwanted vessels are then removed and results can be seen within several days to weeks. Several treatments may be needed depending on multiple factors such as hormones, genetics, age, lifestyle, or severity of the veins, but results should be noticeable after a single treatment in most cases.
YAG laser treatment of existing unwanted veins is a powerful way to restore the youthful appearance of the affected skin areas.
YAG laser can also be used to cosmetically treat rosacea and/or facial flushing. In these conditions, superficial blood vessels become more visible under the skin resulting in a red, flushed appearance of the affected area. Similar to YAG laser vein treatment, the YAG laser targets these blood vessels, providing heat and causing them to collapse. As the body begins to heal these areas, the blood vessels degrade and are removed, alleviating the flushed appearance. This helps to restore the skin’s normal pigmentation with less redness and flushing. Multiple treatments may be needed depending on multiple factors such as hormones, genetics, age, and severity of the rosacea.
YAG lasers can also be used to treat red or blue birthmarks. Various types of birthmarks are categorized as vascular birthmarks, which tend to appear red or blue in their coloration. Vascular birthmarks are due to abnormalities in vascular arrangements just beneath the skin – quite different from pigmented birthmarks, which tend to appear in shades of brown due to significant build-up of melanin (pigmentation molecules produced by the skin). The vascular birthmarks are treatable by the nd: YAG laser since it can penetrate the deeper skin layers where these vessels exist. As discussed in previous sections of this page, the laser’s ability to heat and destroy these surface blood vessels allows it to treat these red and blue vascular birthmarks in the same way.
Once the unwanted blood vessels are effectively treated and cleaned up by our natural protective system, those vessels are permanently removed. Blood vessels can reappear elsewhere or in the same locations depending on multiple factors such as hormones, genetics, age, and lifestyle (ie. smoking, alcohol, etc.) and may require maintenance treatments.
To start, you and Dr. Brandish will develop an individualized treatment plan to determine if the YAG laser is the best tool for the desired result.
At the session, the patient will rest with eyes protected from the laser, skin prepped and cleaned for treatment. The laser handpiece will be placed against the desired area of treatment and laser pulses will be initiated as needed. The sensation tends to be mild to moderate discomfort, but the potential use of topical anesthetics and the YAG laser’s cooling tip can help cool these areas to make treatment much more comfortable.
Sun exposure should be limited for several days after treatment and skin should be protected with sunscreen to maintain laser results.
Side effects with the YAG laser may vary slightly depending on what treatment it’s being used for, but generally, side effects include:
– Mild to moderate discomfort with laser pulsed during treatment
– Redness and swelling may occur after treatment
– More rarely: changes in skin pigmentation, bruising, blistering and risk of infection
These side effects are generally mild and dissipate within a few hours to days following treatment.
The nd:YAG laser is a powerful cosmetic tool that can operate on surface-level vascular abnormalities beneath the skin without ever disrupting the integrity of the skin’s surface. Because of its ability to penetrate the deeper skin layers and heat the underlying tissues/vascular networks, it has many facets of treatment potential. By heating and collapsing surface-level, dilated veins, nd: YAG laser can help reduce the cosmetic effects of unwanted veins, rosacea/facial flushing and redness as well as vascular birthmarks. The YAG laser provides a safe and effective treatment for many bothersome cosmetic vascular conditions that are both immediate and long-lasting.
If you’re interested in hearing more or in scheduling an appointment, contact our office at
and we’ll take care of you. We offer free consultation appointments as well if you’d like to simply go over any problem areas and see if the YAG laser or other treatment options may be the most effective solution.