Treating tongue and skin pigmentation with Ruby Laser

Various lasers are used to treat different dermatologic conditions today. These lasers differ from one another according to the nature of the condition that is treated, which may require different wavelengths, pulses, and energy outputs.

The Ruby laser is a solid-state laser, which emits a ruby colored wavelength of light pulses. These pulses target skin pigmentations, such as brown spots, freckles and birthmarks.

The images below show the successful removal of tongue tattoos / pigmentation via Ruby laser resurfacing at Dr. Ron Shelton’s practice at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York in New York City.

In the above case, Ruby laser resurfacing was used to remove the dark colored areas of the tongue. The patient had noticed dark patches on her tongue during her teenage years and was happy to find Dr. Shelton, who specializes in lasers.

How does the Ruby laser work?

The Ruby laser uses the Q-switching technique, which produces high intensity laser beams in very short pulses of high power. These pulses can last for or be even shorter than 20 nanoseconds. This allows the laser to have a photo-mechanical effect, which shatters the skin pigmentation and tattoo inks into small particles. Other lasers are similarly used for this purpose including the newer shorter pulse duration lasers using a picosecond burst. A picosecond is 1/1,000 of a nanosecond. Dr. Shelton has both the PicoSure laser and the PicoPlus lasers in addition to the Ruby laser to choose for his individual patients based on different criteria.

As the pulse targets the affected area only, patients need not worry about the procedure affecting the surrounding areas of the skin.

Dr. Shelton begins by applying a topical anesthetic spray to numb the area. A few minutes later, he performs the laser treatment. Most patients are at ease throughout this painless procedure.

How many laser treatments must one undergo to remove pigmentation?

Usually, a series of treatments are conducted once a month, but this can be extended to two or three times depending on the patient. This is because some patients' pigment is more dense or at a greater depth. The number of treatments often depend on the size and degree of the area which needs to be corrected. However, a significant reduction is often obtained.

While Dr. Shelton says that there is no guarantee of this always happening, as each patient is built differently and responds differently to each treatment, the vast majority of his patients have achieved excellent improvement within short periods of time.

How long does the procedure take?

The duration of the procedure depends on the affected areas, but, in this case, the patient says it took under 5 minutes. The patient was extremely satisfied after the treatment, as the problematic dark area had lightened considerably, becoming barely visible after a week.

It is important that the correct diagnosis is made prior to the treatment. Dr. Shelton says that no pigmentary disorder should be treated with a laser unless it is benign. If anything suspicious is detected, Dr. Shelton will refer the patient to an oral surgeon.

What other areas are treated by the ruby laser?

  • Pigmented lesions, such as age spots, brown spots, birthmarks, sun spots / sun damage
  • Tattoo Removal
  • Melasma

Check the photo gallery of other laser peels here

Are there any side effects from ruby laser treatment? 

The side effects are minimal. Some patients may feel a pinprick-like sensation during the treatment, however, the chances of this happening are slim, because a topical anesthetic is applied before the treatment. One might also experience a slight redness or swelling, which may last for a few days after the treatment.

At the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York, Dr Shelton uses the latest laser technology to perform his procedures. As a highly experienced medical professional, he will take the time to explain both the procedure and the aftercare to you, and he will offer you the best advice pertaining to your treatment. For more information or to set up an appointment with Dr Shelton, please call (212) 593-1818.

Learn more about this procedure by watching the video below: