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PicoWay is a revolutionary picosecond laser tattoo removal treatment. It has also been proven as an effective option for anti-ageing treatments on coloured skin spots known as pigmented lesions.
PicoWay was launched into the UK marketplace in late 2015 by Syneron Candela - a global leader in medical aesthetic devices.
Its use was pioneered in the United States by Dermatologist, Dr. Harold Lancer and is claimed to be the “fastest firing laser currently available in the market”. Firing at over 1,000 times faster than the formerly fastest laser (according to Dr. Lancer), PicoWay is efficient at breaking up particles of tattoo ink and pigmentation into miniscule fragments which the body can then expel, and it also heats within the skin which in turn stimulates the skin to repair itself and produce new collagen.
PicoWay is a dual-wavelength picosecond laser with both fractional and non-fractional capabilities for targeting natural or unnatural (tattoo ink) pigment in the skin.
It consists of a 532nm (doubled Nd:YAG) wavelength and a 1064nm (Nd:YAG) wavelength system.
The device employs a holographic fractionator to deliver precise, consistent and reproducible energy to a treatment area.
Unlike many existing Q-switched tattoo removal lasers which use nanosecond pulses to deliver the laser energy, the PicoWay laser generates “pico”-second pulses. This makes the technology a great advancement for the treatment of tattoos.
Also, after further research, it was discovered that PicoWay could be effective in the treatment of pigmented lesions, such as age/sun spots, freckles or café au lait marks, as well as for general skin rejuvenation to combat ageing symptoms such as wrinkles.
According to the manufacturer, the main advantage of the PicoWay technology is that it delivers the shortest pulse duration and the highest peak-power of any picosecond device in the marketplace. This means that treatment can be performed using lower fluences (actual energy delivered), for safer and more comfortable treatment, with better ink/pigment clearance, in fewer treatments.
PicoWay utilises two laser wavelengths. The first one, a 532nm wavelength enables treatment of shallow lesions and tattoo colours such as red, yellow and orange. The second one, a 1064nm wavelength allows for the treatment of deeper lesions and tattoo inks that are black, brown, green, blue or purple. Treatment is suitable for all skin types with minimal downtime. The option of dual-wavelengths also means that multi-coloured tattoos can be treated, which is not usually the case with traditional tattoo removal lasers.
Removal of tattoos can be difficult for several reasons. Firstly, most tattooing technologies push the ink deep into the skin. In some cases, the ink usually gets through to below the dermis, the deepest layer within the skin, and removing such ink can be very difficult.
The problem can be worsened by large ink particles and colours other than blue and black which are the easiest to treat. Common laser technologies attempt to break these particles into smaller particles that the body can carry away and eradicate, but some inks are just too stubborn, such that even after multiple laser treatments a few ink particles could still be found in the skin. Lastly, darker skins typically make tattoo removal a tougher task due to the pigment also found in the skin.
The PicoWay technology uses laser light targeted at colours attracted by the specific laser wavelength. The ultra-short, picosecond laser pulses (100 times shorter than a Q-switched laser) literally shatter the tattoo ink into very small particles (much smaller than with ordinary tattoo removal lasers) through a photoacoustic impact. The tiny ink particles can thereafter be ejected through the body’s natural metabolism processes. Surrounding, normal skin is not damaged in any way.
The same process happens when treating pigmented lesions, instead of shattering ink particles you are targeting the pigmentation or melanin for destruction.
A test patch may be required to assess the reaction of your skin to treatment. This will also enable precise settings on the laser to be calculated for your specific treatment.
European CE Marked Medical Device.
United States FDA approved in November 2014 for treating all tattoo colours: red, yellow and orange for the 532nm wavelength; black, brown, green, blue and purple for the 1064nm wavelength. Then in April 2015 it was U.S. FDA approved for the treatment of pigmented lesions.
Medical professionals including doctors and nurses, and laser specialists with training in tattoo removal.
PicoWay has three main uses:
PicoWay can treat professional, amateur, traumatic and recalcitrant tattoos – those tattoos which have previously been treated and proved resistant to normal nanosecond tattoo removal lasers.
When it comes to treatment of pigmented lesions and skin rejuvenation, the ultra-short laser pulses are targeted at the unwanted lesions. The pigment is shattered into very tiny particles that are then easily ejected through natural body processes.
Yes. In fact, this is one of the reasons a lot of people are choosing picosecond laser treatment such as PicoWay over other laser treatments for tattoo removal and the treatment of lesions.
Laser treatments are generally considered to be painful. Pain is a subjective thing and the level of tolerance or pain threshold usually depends very much on the person and the targeted area being treated. PicoWay is considered to be much less painful than many other laser treatments. Moreover, given that the treatment time is shorter, the pain will go away quickly. The practitioner performing the treatment may also choose to use a topical anaesthesia to minimise any pain that you may experience, or use a skin cooling device, or simply apply cold compresses once the treatment session is complete.
PicoWay is suitable for all skin types.
As with any procedure, there are a few side effects of using the PicoWay laser procedure for treatment of lesions or for the removal of tattoos. The first main side effect is scarring. Anyone who undergoes the tattoo removal procedure where PicoWay lasers are used should expect at least minimal scarring. PicoWay is considered much safer than older methods of tattoo removal however.
Inks can also react with the laser leading to inflammation in the skin. You may, therefore, experience redness and itchiness of the skin around the treated area during and immediately after the procedure. In rare conditions, some blistering may also occur. However, most of these reactions are only temporary and often disappear within a short while.
When treating pigmented lesions, the lesions usually darken and sluff off after a few days. It is important not to pick at these or scrub the area aggressively with sponges or flannels or use abrasive cleansing products as all of this could lead to additional scarring. You may be told to apply a topical antibiotic skin cream while the area heals.
As long as you are generally healthy, there are few medical reasons why you should not undergo treatment with PicoWay.
There are some conditions that may make a person unsuitable, not just for PicoWay but for any laser treatment. These include:
This often depends on the individual, the part of the body being treated, and the skin type. In general, an individual’s immune system will determine how quickly and effectively that individual’s body reacts to the treatment. The location also matters in that the neck and head are usually the fastest to react to treatment, followed by regions of the upper back. Tattoos/lesions located on the hands and feet take the longest to disappear.
On average, however, you should see significant improvements within 4-6 treatments using the PicoWay Laser System. The treatment interval is 2-4 weeks, and any treatment required after the 6th may be offered free of charge by the clinic.
Conventional tattoo removal lasers usually require on average a dozen treatment sessions, spaced further apart, meaning that tattoo removal treatment can take over a year to complete to satisfaction.
The cost of PicoWay treatment depends on the clinic or practitioner and the location of the lesions or tattoo that you want removing. Also, the more sessions required to treat the lesion or remove the tattoo will mean increased treatment costs, although packages may be available. On average, a single treatment session costs between £200 and £380.
As part of achieving FDA clearance in America, a multicentre study was conducted by Dr. Eric Bernstein, Dr. Arielle Kauvar, and Dr. Tina Alster. This study showed that 86% of participants achieved at least 50% tattoo clearance after only 3 treatments based on a blinded and independent review. The results from the study also proved the PicoWay to be safe with no serious adverse reactions in the participants, and low levels of pain or discomfort throughout the treatment programme.
Syneron Candela note that an additional clinic study treating pigmented lesions showed that 96% of pigmented lesions had good to complete clearance following PicoWay treatment, and 86% of patients were satisfied with their results.