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MGH dermatologists first in New England to offer new laser treatment
Laser treats wrinkles and sun damage with fewer sessions, shorter recovery time

BOSTON - May 8, 2008 - Dermatologists at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) are using a powerful new type of laser to evaporate patients' wrinkles and sun damage with fewer treatments. Called Fraxel re:pair™, this novel technology has roots in the Boston area. The concept was originally developed at the MGH and has led to a whole class of lasers in use across the country, including the Fraxel re:store™ and Fraxel re:pair™. The MGH Dermatology Laser and Cosmetic Center is the first dermatology practice in New England to offer this newest technology.

This particular laser targets microscopic pockets of skin with pixilated pulses of laser energy, ablating or evaporating tiny channels of sun-damaged, wrinkled or acne-scarred skin. During each treatment, about 50 to 75 percent of the skin remains untouched by the laser. The surrounding untouched skin is then able to promote healing by generating collagen, thus rejuvenating and reducing the look of wrinkles and sun-damage to the entire area. The aggressive treatment of the area with ablation produces more dramatic results in just one treatment, compared to four or five with traditional laser treatments.

"I always tell my patients that sunblock is the best way to prevent wrinkles. But for people with sun-damaged skin, this laser is a great way to set back their clock," says Mathew Avram, MD, JD, director of the Dermatology Laser and Cosmetic Center at MGH.

Unlike the lengthy healing process of ablative resurfacing, which damages an entire layer of skin, this treatment has proven in clinical studies to be safer and better tolerated. Physicians at the MGH can numb the area of skin prior to treatment, minimizing discomfort during the treatment. While there is swelling and some bleeding afterwards, most patients can begin covering treated skin with makeup about 4 days after the treatment.

Traditional Fractional Photothermolysis - such as the Fraxel re:store™ - has been in use at the Dermatology Laser and Cosmetic Center for the past three and one-half years. It requires four to five treatments, versus a single session with Fraxel re:pair™. The concept for the laser was developed by researchers at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at the MGH. Reliant Technologies supported that research and has licensed the technology to manufacture the Fraxel systems.

"In my mind, this treatment is one of the major innovations in the laser world over the past four years," says Avram. "The MGH Dermatology Laser and Cosmetic Center is again on the forefront of providing the newest and safest technologies for our patients."

Founded in 1811, the MGH is the third oldest general hospital in the United States and the oldest and largest in New England. The 900-bed medical center offers sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic care in virtually every specialty and subspecialty of medicine and surgery. Each year the MGH admits more than 46,000 inpatients and handles nearly 1.5 million outpatient visits at its main campus and health centers. Its Emergency Department records nearly 80,000 visits annually. The surgical staff performs more than 35,000 operations and the MGH Vincent Obstetrics Service delivers more than 3,500 babies each year. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the country, with an annual research budget of more than $500 million. It is the oldest and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, where nearly all MGH staff physicians serve on the faculty. The MGH was the first in the state to achieve Magnet status for nursing, and it is consistently ranked among the nation's top hospitals by US News and World Report..

Media Contacts: Emily Parker , MGH Public Affairs

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