Benefits of Laser Hair Removal
Electrolysis has been used as a permanent hair removal procedure. During electrolysis, a very fine probe is inserted into each unwanted hair follicle. Then an electrical impulse cauterizes the blood vessels and destroys the hair's ability to grow. The hair is released from its follicle and permanently removed, but other options are available. Lasers, used in many other cosmetic procedures, are now also being used to help permanently remove hair from unwanted areas.
"Laser hair removal
provides a quick, virtually painless solution to removing unwanted hair."
Laser hair removal is a much shorter procedure than electrolysis. Lasers target hair follicles and eliminate or significantly impede hair from growing back. This is a quick, virtually painless procedure, and the patients are able to return to their normal activities soon after treatment.
Laser hair removal has become very popular. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, over 1,078,612 patients underwent laser hair removal in 2011 in the United States alone. This is a 15% increase from the previous year.
With the increasing popularity of various cosmetic surgery procedures, including laser hair removal, it is important that the prospective patient research and understand different issues like what the procedure can and cannot treat, inherent risks, costs, and other factors. Keep in mind, cosmetic surgery is just that – a surgical procedure whose results cannot simply be erased. While the information contained in this website will provide you with a good introduction to laser hair removal, when considering this or any other cosmetic procedure, we recommend that you consult a qualified provider with significant experience. Some important elements you should understand regarding laser hair removal include the following:
Who would best Represent an Ideal Candidate for Laser Hair Removal?
Any person looking to remove unwanted body hair would represent an ideal candidate for laser hair removal. There are many reasons why a person wants to undergo this procedure. Even though reasons vary from person to person, the more common include:
- Enhancing appearance and boosting self-confidence
- Becoming less self-conscious about their appearance
- Achieving smoother looking skin
- Saving time and money on temporary hair removal practices (i.e. shaving, cutting, waxing)
However, the prospective patient must also be aware that cosmetic surgery is designed for improvement not perfection. Patients should have realistic goals and expectations for their laser hair removal treatment. Be sure to discuss your reasons for wanting hair removal with the doctor during your consultation visit. This will also help determine your candidacy for the procedure.
Where do I begin?
Those considering laser hair removal should first find a qualified cosmetic surgeon to perform their procedures. CosmeticSurgery.com has created an easy and effective way for patients to find a cosmetic surgeon online. For more information please CLICK HERE
After finding a qualified practitioner, it is important to meet with the doctor for a consultation visit. This gives the doctor a chance to view the area needed for treatment, explain the procedure in detail, including risks, benefits, costs, and other related material.
How is Laser Hair Removal Performed?
The length of the procedure can be a few minutes, or an hour, depending on the size of the area.
A laser produces a beam of highly concentrated light. Different types of lasers produce different colors of light. The color of light produced by a particular laser is the key to its effect on hair follicles.
During the laser hair removal procedure, the light emitted by the laser passes through the skin and gets absorbed by the pigment located in the hair follicles. The laser pulses long enough to vaporize the pigment, disabling several follicles at a time. This results in eliminating or significantly hindering any hair growth in the treated area.
For most patients, multiple sessions are usually needed to optimize results. Typically three or four treatments, six to eight weeks apart, may be needed. However, some patients find significant improvement after one visit, enough to be satisfied with their appearance.
Patients need to wait about a year to see the full effect of the laser hair removal. This is due to the fact that hair growth cycles are about six months. Waiting through two growth cycles would be best in order to see the final results.
How Much Pain is Associated with Laser Hair Removal?
Patients and surgeons report the pain level associated with laser hair removal is usually about like a rubber band snapping on the skin. However, if the procedure is not done correctly, burns can happen and cause more serious pain. For those who are sensitive to pain, topical anesthetics will make the procedure more comfortable.
What are The Long-Term Effects of Laser Hair Removal?
The effects of laser hair removal can be permanent, but there is no guarantee. The result of the treatment does not necessarily mean the area will be completely devoid of hair. While permanent hair removal can occur, the procedure may simply result in reducing the amount of hair in the treated area, or it can lighten the color of the hair and decrease its thickness. Results vary from patient to patient, so please check with your doctor.
What Are the Risks and Limitations of Laser Hair Removal?
While laser hair removal is a minimally invasive procedure, the procedure is not totally free from risks. Patients may experience some short-term side effects, which are usually minor. These conditions may include slight reddening of the skin or local swelling that goes away within a few days.
While laser hair removal offers many benefits, it may not be for everyone. The procedure may not work on certain hair colors. The procedure doesn't seem to work very well on light-haired people, whose hair contains little melanin. Skin may also be a factor in this treatment. If you're tan or have a darker skin tone, the laser gets absorbed by the pigment in the skin and doesn't reach the hair follicle, limiting the effect of the treatment and potentially damaging the skin. Again, please check with your doctor during your consultation to see if you can benefit from laser hair removal treatment.
Activity limitations, are not a factor with laser hair removal. Patients can go back to work and return to normal activities soon after treatment. Limited sun exposure is recommended for a few days because the treated area will likely be sensitive.
What Are The Typical Costs Associated With Laser Hair Removal?
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the national average surgeon fee for laser hair removal is $383. Fees within various regions may vary depending on whether the doctor’s practice is in an urban, suburban or rural area. This fee only covers the physician’s costs, and does not include other miscellaneous costs. Plus this fee is only for one treatment session and multiple sessions may be needed for optimal results. A comprehensive cost figure may be obtained while consulting with the physician. Make sure this figure includes any and all associated costs.
Unfortunately most medical insurance providers do not cover cosmetic surgery procedures. However, most surgeons do offer multiple financing options. CosmeticSurgery.com has created an easy and effective way for patients to finance their laser hair removal online. For more information please CLICK HERE
Ten Questions Laser Hair Removal Patients Should Ask Their Surgeon
To better educate the patient about laser hair removal, as well as assisting in formulating realistic expectations, it is recommended that the patient look at before and after photographs, speak with previous laser hair removal patients, (you are always welcome to ask your doctor for referrals to previous patients and where to contact them) and get answers to the following questions:
- Are the desired results I described realistic?
- Are lasers my best option for hair removal?
- Where is the laser hair removal performed and how long will it take?
- What type of laser do you use for your procedure?
- How much does laser hair removal cost and what other elements factor into that cost (i.e., hospital fee, anesthesia, etc)?
- What is the surgeon’s level of experience in performing laser hair removal?
- What percentage of patients experience complications with laser hair removal?
- What is the surgeon’s policy in regards to correcting or repeating the procedure if the laser hair removal does not meet agreed upon goals?
- What should I expect, post-operatively, in terms of soreness, scaring, activity level and so on?
- Have you ever had your malpractice insurance coverage denied, revoked or suspended?
In addition to the previously mentioned questions, it is important that patients undergoing laser hair removal relay to their surgeon information regarding any allergies and serious medical conditions they may have. Furthermore, patients should inform the surgeon of any medications they are taking.
This site provides information about plastic/cosmetic surgery and is designed to help users make decisions regarding their own treatment options. But medical information is not the same as medical advice--the application of medical treatment to a person's specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a qualified medical practitioner if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.