Hi, it’s Ella. This past weekend I went to a Fraxel repair seminar at Reliant Technologies. The repair is a CO2 laser that uses Reliant’s patented scanning technology to lay down a precise pattern of laser pulses on the skin. There us no doubt, in my view, that Fraxel has the most sophisticated technology in the field. The scanner is fast and precise, and the relatively high power of the laser allows deeper penetration than competing lasers.
Reliant Technologies has been unique in that they have performed a large number of clinical studies before releasing the laser. The general rule is that most lasers are released with very little clinical data to back up their effectiveness. The purchasing physician and his patients become the beta testers to find out what the machine can and cannot accomplish.
The founders of Reliant Technologies are veterans of Coherent Inc., the manufacturer of the Ultrapulse laser which was the premier CO2 laser in its time. It was only after the Ultrapulse laser was released, that its benefits and drawbacks were fully understood. The founders of Relaint determined that they were going to do things differently this time. Prior to the release of this laser it was used to treat over 500 patients . Over 100 of them have been treated 18 or more months ago. This is important, because some of the side effects of the original CO2 laser, particularly the loss of skin pigmentation, did not appear until 12 months or later after treatment. Reliant technologies is to be commended for doing such a thorough job. To the best of my knowledge, they have done significantly more than any other laser company.
There is still more work to be done, however. All the published studies about this laser have related to wrinkle reduction and skin tightening. Dr. Christopher Zachary, Chief of Dermatology at UC Irvine, and one of the principal investigators using the machine, is very excited about this benefit and thinks that the use of the Re:pair will reduce the need for facelifts (Video of Dr. Zachary being interviewed on the Today Show). This may be a somewhat exaggerated expectation, but the treatment results are quite impressive.
Acne scarring is another important use for this type of device. Reliant has not yet released information about the effectiveness of the Re:pair in acne scarring, although I have had verbal communication with one of the investigators who said it appears to be about 30% more effective than the Fraxel Re:store, which has been widely regarded as the treatment of choice for acne scarring. The original version of the CO2 laser was well established as an effective treatment for acne scarring. Nevertheless, when we recently had a patient with acne scarring who was interested in the Re:pair treatment, I felt obligated to tell her that the expected results for this problem have still not been fully clarified.
Overall it appears that we may have in hand a new tool that will significantly expand our skin rejuvenation capabilities with a much better risk/benefit ratio than older modalities.
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