The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Ablative LASER treatment (Erbium YAG)

Ablative LASERs are absorbed by water in skin structures resulting in 'vapourisation' of the target tissue. This means that treatment with ablative LASERs is a more invasive and 'surgical' based treatment resulting in a break in the skin.

Focal Ablative treatment

This treatment can be used to destroy discrete skin lesions and smooth out textural irregularities, as well as remodelling of larger areas of tissue. Such treatment requires a local anaesthetic injection or a general anaesthetic before the start of treatment.

As the treatment creates an open wound, a dressing will be applied for 24-48 hours and you will be advised to use Mupiricin ointment or similar to keep the area clean and moist for several days. It is not uncommon to see some oozing/bleeding for a few hours after treatment. Frequently, focal ablative treatment results in scar tissue.

Fractional Ablative treatment

This treatment splits the Erbium YAG beam into a series of tiny LASER beams which are equally spaced apart. The laser creates a number of small vapourised channels in the skin which produce a mild heating effect. This has been shown to aid wound healing and the remodelling of scar tissue. Creation of the small channels also allows the delivery of topical treatments (e.g steroid) deeper into the skin. Fractional treatments are most commonly used to treat thickened/inflamed scar tissue.

The treatment is frequently tolerated without anaesthetic but, if necessary, a topical anaesthetic cream (obtained from your GP) can be applied under a dressing for 1 hour before the start of treatment.

There will often be a small degree of oozing of blood from the ablated channels for a few hours after treatment and therefore, a dressing will be required for 24-48 hours after treatment.