Stretch Marks occur as a result of the stretching of the skin ( the dermis layer) due to sudden increase in weight and is seen in women during their puberty in some people (due to the sudden increase in weight) and mostly during the time of pregnancy and in males due to excessive workouts, obesity, consumption of steroids and very rarely due to stress.
A misconception about stretch marks that it is with regard to weight alone.
But stretch marks; more than the above reason, is predominantly due to hormonal changes during puberty and pregnancy.
Stretch marks occur initially as a purple line and they later go about becoming silver-ish.
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What is KTP Laser Therapy?
It is an advanced laser technology and it uses a KTP crystal - (Potassium-titanyl Phosphate) to increase the frequency of a normal Nd-YAG – (Neodymium Yttrium Aluminum Garnet) to a 532 nm wavelength.
The light produced by this laser lies in the visible region – Green region.
The non- invasive treatment involves using pulsed mode of laser therapy to treat these stretch marks.
This method does not work on the superficial layer of the skin, instead, it works on the internal layers and helps to correct the chromosomes and chromophores (colored compounds) associated with the dermis layer of the skin.
This method works best predominantly for freshly formed or new stretch marks.
How Does KTP Laser Treatment Work?
The type of the laser used depends on the type of discoloration.
There are various types of discoloration – Purple, red, white/silver. In the case of purple/ red stretch marks, this pulsed KTP laser is used.
The methodology is such that, this laser beam is concentration on the area of interest.
As the laser impinges the surface, it destroys the damaged blood vessels in that particular site of incidence and it does not damage the surrounding regions.
Patients are usually advised to take a minimum of 3 sessions and a maximum of 5 (spaced four to six weeks apart) depending on the intensity of the stretch marks.
Generally, the first 2 sessions involve microdermabrasion and laser treatment and then follow up sessions after 3 months to ensure whether the treatment has brought about a successful cure.
The treatment starts with microdermabrasion which is done to remove the superficial dead skin cells in the epidermis.
This facilitates the penetration of the laser and improves the treatment due to greater levels of penetration at minimum time.
The KTP laser is introduced at the point of interest. As the laser penetrates into the skin, light is converted to heat and is absorbed by the hemoglobin of the blood and it ruptures the blood vessels.
Mild heat sensations can be felt for the next 48 hrs and reduction in the vesicle size can be prominently seen.
After the treatment, purple patches can be seen in the treated area and these are called pupura and they start to heal after 48 hrs.
Precautions: It is advised to refrain from using prescription creams, lotions or products containing Retin-A derivatives and Alpha Hydroxy acids for 5 to 10 days pre and post-treatment. It is also advised to be away from direct sunlight for 24 hrs after the treatment.
Benefits of KTP Laser Treatment
Some of the key advantages are:
- Non – invasive method of treatment.
- Reduced risk of skin infections.
- Lesser risk compared to other conservative surgical methods.
- Improves the overall texture of the skin.
- Depth and intensity of the treatment can be monitored by controlling the intensity and time of exposure of the laser.
- Improves the smoothness of the skin.
- Also works on Acne, Scars, and wrinkles.
- Reduces the discolorations of the skin thereby making it flawless!
- Minimal side effects.
- Erases spider veins.
- Flattens scars and sometimes can even remove them totally.
- Provides comfortable treatment and involves no or lesser pain.
Limitations of the Treatment
No treatment is without some limitations. Here are some of the limitations of KTP laser treatment:
- People may experience mild swelling for the next 2 weeks (max) after the treatment.
- Initial Crusting of the skin can happen.
- Red or brown discolorations can be predominant for the next few weeks.
- Skin may exfoliate to replace the dead skin cells and tissues.
- Blistering of the skin may happen, leading to the steam formation in the upper and inner layers of the skin and it may fade off in 2 days.
- Pigmentation can occur during the initial days of the treatment.
- Sometimes scars can occur and can be persistent depending on the sensitivity levels of a person’s skin.
- Bronzing of the skin may occur due to the treatment and may remain for 10-14 days depending on the intensity levels of the treatment.
- A scab can be present after blister forms.
Possible Side Effects
Side effects like skin discoloration and prolonged pain can be seen.
Sometimes if the body has to take up greater amounts of the laser due to more number of sittings, then it can affect the internal glands of the skin and can lead to plump formation.
The excessive subjection of the laser on the skin can sometimes cause fading. Hence utmost care is to be taken during the treatment.
Cost of KTP Laser Treatment
This method of treatment is highly superior in terms of its effectiveness and the recovery time.
Apart from that, it is highly superior in terms of the equipment used like laser and crystals. So it is highly expensive than the other methods.
Each visit to the doctor may cost around $ 400 to $1500 depending on the severity of the problem.
And the number of sittings again depends on the severity and may vary from person to person. Hence overall would cost from $5000 - $10000 for the treatment which is highly expensive.