Laser Therapy for Stretch Marks
So you think the light energy of the sun is amazing?
In general, laser surgery involves highly concentrated light to cut, vaporize or resurface human tissue. The process dissolves molecular bonds. It breaks down or accelerates tissue in whatever way is desired. Laser light works with a level of precision that few scalpel methods can match.
How does a laser work on stretch marks?
An almost unimaginably intense ray of light moves up and down on the stretch marks, demolishing scar tissue in its path.
Stretch mark scars are formed in the dermis, which is the middle of the skin’s three layers. When energy from the laser gets absorbed by the dermis, the production of new collagen is stimulated. This protein, which is a major component of skin, subsequently fills in the scarring, causing the skin to return, to some degree, to its original color and texture.
Yellow and green light lasers are used for this procedure, the same as those used to treat vascular problems. Researchers aren’t certain why these lasers work best; they think that it probably has something to do with the ability of collagen or elastin molecules to deeply absorb the light.
What does a patient experience during and immediately after the procedure?
The sensation of a laser is mild pinching or pricking. Healing is almost immediate. Irregardless of how impressively this laser changes tissue, it’s actually a low-level energy version, and is even safe for use on infants. Side effects are rare, but when they do occur, it will be bruising, blistering, swelling, or reddening, which goes away in a few days.
Darker skinned patients may see a temporary alteration in the color of their skin that surrounds the treated area. What’s happened is their skin has absorbed light from the laser. This effect disappears soon.
Appointment terms vary, and so do results.
The location of marks doesn’t matter; the laser can get to them all. Severity and location does make a difference, however, in how long a session will last, and how many treatments are necessary. It tends to be anywhere from ten minutes to sixty, and anywhere from two to six sessions. Accordingly, multiple lasers may be used. These varying conditions will also affect the cost.
A good rule of thumb is to get the procedure done early, when the stretch marks are new. The older the stretch mark, the harder it is to fade it. This is ironic because the new scars are dark and livid. The old ones are pale, a silvery-white. But the fact remains that the recent, dark scars are the easiest to treat.
Accordingly, younger patients fare better. This is not only because their stretch marks are likely to be newer, but also because their youthful skin is better equipped to regenerate, down at the cellular level.
No matter what the prior conditions may have been, the final results may take up to a year to show.
It’s been reported that about half of the people who have had laser treatments feel there has been an improvement. Hard evidence is difficult to come by, because stretch marks are not camera-friendly. They seem more or less pronounced from one angle to another.
Is laser surgery for you?
The cost can be prohibitive, and because the procedure is elective, insurance companies usually won’t cover it.
The sessions tend to run from $400-$1500, and you’re going to need more than one.
And no matter how much you pay, your stretch marks will not be all gone. Depending on their age or severity, they will either be much less apparent, which may be worth it, or you won’t see much difference at all.
Stretch marks from massive weight gain are very deeply furrowed, and don’t respond well to laser surgery. So if you’re on the path to obesity, and you want to avoid permanent damage, then you should immediately make a U-turn in your eating habits.