Chandra Kumal Patel of Bell labs was the inventor of the Carbon Dioxide laser (CO2 laser) back in 1963. Since it’s creation, the CO2 laser proficiency has been monumentally applied in innumerable fields from industrial cutting to detailed surgery like skin resurfacing. Since it offers meticulous outcome when used, the adoration of CO2 laser is still growing among many users and in this commentary we are going to spotlight some of the perils of this type of laser.
When we look at the use of CO2 laser in the medical domain, we see it’s application in Ablative laser resurfacing. With the advancement in technology, the resurfacing of skin has really caught up in the recent years, but some side effects to this procedure have been linked to conditions known as hyper pigmentation or hypo pigmentation. This is where the skin either becomes too dark in colour or way more lighter than the normal skin colour. This condition can caus the skin to be very sensitive to sunlight that can further lead to scarring if not controlled.
Swelling and Redness
Investigations have also shown that the use of CO2 laser resurfacing from laser agent can leave the skin feeling itchy. This can cause imprudent scratching prompting the skin to become red and swollen in the long run. This condition can induce redness for several days or weeks that lasts in correlation to the intensity of resurfacing done on the skin.
We know that clogged hair follicles will induce acne. The application of skin emollients that aid to healing the skin after resurfacing treatment can jam the hair follicles leaving you to develop pimples, blackheads, and scarring too.
The use of a CO2 laser on the skin can make one susceptible to viral, fungal and bacterial ailments. Viruses like herpes culpable for cold sores are quiescent on the skin, and skin resurfacing can awaken them causing grievous infection to the body.
This is an affliction that can be caused by laser resurfacing, substantially when it’s done under the eyelids. This will cause the eyelids to turn outwards revealing the tender inside parts of the eyes which can be really intolerable. This condition requires corrective surgery to resolve the dilemma.
The dangers of a CO2 laser can also be felt in the cutting industry. Since we all know the accuracy of laser when it comes to cutting and engraving, the use of CO2 laser has been extensively used in this industry as it gives clean cuts that offer a much more refined finish which improves the overall look of the product. But the downside is that during this process, treacherous fumes are always released when the laser beams come into contact with the materials being worked on. The fact that these fumes are detrimental to the health of the people on the worksite, effective air filtration needs to be implemented to improve the ventilation, and air circulation on the work site e.g. the use of HEPA filters will do the trick.
The CO2 laser has helped a lot in the medical and cutting industry in accomplishing quintessential facial surgery to quality finish in cut products. Though these merits might be something to be sought after, the dangers of a CO2 laser should be distinctly understood to forestall any malignant consequences it can cause in the long run.