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Laser Stretch Mark Removal
Removing Stretch Marks with Laser Surgery
Stretch marks have been the bane of many a pregnancy or drastic weight loss effort. There are many creams, oils, and rubs that claim to remove these unsightly lines, but do they really work? While several products can help to reduce the look of stretch marks, none can remove them completely.
Stretch marks occur when the skin is stretched quickly over a period of time, most often during pregnancy or rapid weight gain. The layers of stretched skin are torn, and replaced by scar tissue or collagen. When the weight is lost, the stretch marks remain. They generally appear as light pink or purplish threads, and normally show up on the belly, thighs, upper arms, breasts, and hips. While they aren’t a health hazard, they do pose a cosmetic problem for many people.
One option to remove or greatly lessen the appearance of stretch marks is laser surgery. While the word ‘surgery’ sounds ominous, it’s really a very simple treatment and side effects are rare.
The procedure itself consists of a concentrated beam of light that travels along the stretch marks, removing extraordinarily thin layers of skin. As the layers are removed, the scar tissue that causes the stretch marks is also removed. After treatment, the skin immediately begins to heal itself and new skin is formed over the damaged tissue.
Treatments can last anywhere from ten minutes to an hour, depending on the severity of the stretch marks and the area of skin that is affected. You can expect to return for a series of treatments; from two to six sessions can be required. During the procedure, the only pain you should experience is a pinching or needling sensation, as the light lasers do their work.
Side effects are rare, but can include bruising, scarring, blistering, or swelling of the treated area. These symptoms will normally disappear within a few days or weeks after treatment. Changes in pigment to the area that has been treated can also occur, but again, this is temporary and your skin will return to its normal color within a few weeks.
Stretch marks that are recent, or pink, purple, red, or brown in color are the easiest to treat and have the highest success rate. Older, more mature stretch marks that have turned silver or white in color can be difficult to remove, but laser surgery can still reduce their appearance.
The downside to laser surgery for stretch mark removal is that it can become quite costly. Treatments range from $400 to $1500 or more for each session. Most reputable surgeons have financing plans to help you with payments, but always be aware of the terms and conditions of these arrangements.
There are certainly other methods of removing or reducing the appearance of stretch marks, but laser surgery has been highly effective in achieving this goal. As with any medical procedure, always check with your doctor before deciding on what is best for you.
Article by Carrie Grosvenor.
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