With the age of technology upon us, many medical procedures are now performed using lasers. Lasers typically result in less pain and eliminate expensive hospital stays. Three Austin Regional Clinic specialties use lasers: Dermatology, Ophthalmology, and Otolaryngology (ENT).
Lasers are very efficient and significant in repairing many scars and imperfections that can change a person's appearance. Our Dermatology Department uses lasers for both cosmetic and medically necessary treatments. The ND-Yag laser is used to remove not only tattoos, but pigmented areas that are often caused by scarring or birthmarks. Tattoo removal usually takes 2-6 treatments (depending on the color of the tattoo) to significantly remove or fade the tattoo.
The Cynosure laser is used to remove spider veins from the body, commonly found on the face, by heating the vessel walls which causes them to dissolve completely.
The third laser used in the Dermatology department is the Ultrapulse CO2 laser that treats wrinkles and scarring. Most wrinkles can be effectively treated with the Ultrapulse CO2, but some of the deeper lines and wrinkles may take more treatments.
Secondary cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachments, and diabetic retinopathy are common eye conditions. Lasers play a big part in lessening the impact of these eye conditions. A Yag laser is used to restore sight by opening the membrane left in the eye to support a cataract implant. Open-angle glaucoma also benefits from the Argon laser. It is used when a patient suffers from pressure build-up, the laser releases the pressure and restores regular vision. One of the most important uses of the Argon laser is to help diabetics maintain good eyesight. Yearly eye exams provide the opportunity to diagnose and treat all of the above vision-threatening disorders.
Our ENT physicians use a procedure called Laser Assisted Uvulo Palatoplasty (LAUP) to help treat patients with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a medical condition in which a person stops breathing for intervals during sleep. People with sleep apnea can snore, but many people who snore do not have sleep apnea. LAUP is used to decrease the size of the large uvula and long soft palate by removing small amount of tissue. LAUP requires 3-5 treatments with 4-6 week intervals. Roughly 85% of patients have near or total elimination of snoring with the remainder usually having signification reduction in snoring.