What does "laser" or "to laser" actually mean?
The term "laser" is a word that is composed of the first letters of those words that describe its effect: light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. This process refers to a boost of light through a previously deliberately stimulated emission of radiation. By attaching different media (e.g., crystal, liquid), different modes of action can be achieved. Different lasers are thus necessary for different medical or cosmetic issues.
What should I do if I want to undergo laser therapy?
Before and after the laser treatment, the following things have to be considered: for most types of treatment the skin should not be pre-tanned too much. Also after the laser treatment too much sunlight (even tanning) is to be avoided. You do, however, not need to hide, nor to lock up yourself in the house - the application of a sun blocker (sunscreen with a very high protection factor) is sufficient. In case of a tendency to cold sores, for certain therapies it might be necessary to make use of herpes prophylaxis (tablets). Whether this applies to you will be discussed with the doctor in the preceding discussion of the treatment. Moreover, for certain forms of therapy an intentional discoloration of the skin can occur, which however, can be covered with makeup before disappearing completely after some time.
Is a laser treatment painful?
Generally, the laser treatment is a painless form of therapy. The feeling during treatment is often described as resembling "pinholes" or a "gnat with a rubber band." This can usually be well tolerated without anesthesia. Sometimes, e.g. in case of a patient´s high pain sensitivity and anxiety in case of young children, a numbing, surface-effective skin cream can be applied before treatment.
How many sessions are needed before I am successfully treated?
This depends on the diagnosis. For many treatment options one session is enough, sometimes you have to be treated a second time. Other forms of therapy - such as the permanent hair removal by laser always require multiple sessions for a successful therapy.
Are the cost of a laser therapy carried by health insurance?
One must distinguish here between private and public health insurance. The private health insurance companies usually carry the cost of laser therapy if there is a medical diagnosis; however, the costs of cosmetic treatments are not covered. On the other hand, the statutory health insurance only carry the cost of laser therapy in exceptional cases. Whether it is worthwhile to get a medical assessment in your case is something the attending dermatologist can inform you about.
Is laser radiation dangerous or harmful?
Laser radiation is no X-ray or UV radiation, but concentrated light. It is not expected to be harmful to human health. However, during treatment, the wearing of laser safety glasses is the only precaution which is absolutely necessary - for both, the attending physician and for you as a patient.
How does a complete treatment proceed?
It all begins with a detailed consultation and examination by the physician. Here you have time to describe your needs, and the expected result of the treatment will be discussed. In addition, an accurate treatment and cost plan is established. All possible risks and the rules of conduct during the laser treatment are pointed out here. This all mainly serves to prepare you for the treatment in the best possible way as well as to define target and success in a way that prevents disappointments after treatment because of e.g. the patient's expectations not being met.