YAG Laser Treatment

What is a laser?

The acronym ‘LASER’ stands for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. A laser works by emitting a wavelength of high energy light, which when focused on a certain skin condition creates heat and destroys diseased cells. Wavelength is measured in nanometres (nm).

Various kinds of lasers are available; they are differentiated by the medium that produces the laser beam. Each of the different types of lasers has a specific range of utility, depending on its wavelength and penetration.

What is Nd:YAG laser?

  • Nd:YAG (neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet) is a crystal that is used as a laser medium for solid-state lasers.
  • The triply ionised neodymium [Nd(III)] dopant (ie a substance added in minute amounts to another pure substance to alter its conductivity), typically replaces a small fraction of the yttrium ions in the host crystal structure, since the two ions are of similar size.
  • The neodymium ion provides the laser activity in the crystal.
  • Nd:YAG laser has a wave length of 1064 nm and has the capability to reach deeper layers of skin tissue than other types of lasers.
  • In Q-switched mode, Nd:YAG produces 2 wavelengths, one in the infrared range (1064 nm) and a second beam of 532 nm wavelength which is useful for superficial skin lesions. Q-switching refers to the technique of making the laser produce a high intensity beam in very short pulses.

How does Nd:YAG laser work?

Lasers work by emitting a wavelength of high energy light, which when focused on a certain skin condition will create heat and destroy diseased cells.

What is Nd:YAG laser used for?

The FDA has approved a range of Nd:YAG laser machines for various skin disorders. These include Cutera® Nd:YAG laser (Cutera, California, USA), RevLite® Q-Switched Nd:YAG laser (Cynosure, Massachusetts, USA) and Fotona® Nd:YAG laser (Aesthetic Lasers Inc. MN, USA). Individual machines are designed to treat specific skin problems.

The following skin disorders can be treated with Nd:YAG laser beams.

Vascular lesions

  • ND:YAG can be used to remove spider and thread veins in the face (cheek, temporal region, nasal dorsum, forehead) and legs.
  • Some vascular birthmarks (capillary vascular malformations)
  • Varicose veins in the leg
  • Facial veins (telangiectasis)
  • Haemangiomas (vascular tumours) in the face and around the mouth
  • The laser light pulses target red pigment (haemoglobin). Typical settings employed for the treatment of facial veins include a 50 milliseconds pulse duration, and fluence (ie output energy) of 150¬250 J/cm2 (measured in Joules per centimetre squared).