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Pain Relief for Laser Treatments

Author: Dr Naomi / 27 Oct 2015

There are many options for pain relief for laser treatments. Different options for pain relief are suitable for each laser.

The general options for pain relief for laser are:

* Topical anaesthetic (eg EMLA / LMX etc ):

These are creams /ointments which are applied to the skin. The work best if applied for 45 minutes with clingwrap placed over the anaesthetic on the skin.

* Injection of local anaesthetic (ie lignocaine /xylocaine)

Local anaethetic may be injected directly into the skin or injected in the area of  a nerve to create a nerve block (eg dental block)

* Happy Gas (Entonox):

Entonox is a combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen, which can be inhaled by the patient 2 minutes before and during a procedure, to reduce the pain and anxiety related to a procedure.

* Penthrox

Penthrox is another inhaled substance, which is inhaled prior to and during a procedure, providing pain and anxiety relief.

Anxiety Relief during laser procedure

For those patients who are feeling very anxious about the procedure or are very anxious about the potential pain of a procedure may be given a Valium (diazepam) 30 minutes prior to the procedure. If patients are going to use this option, they may not drive after the procedure


Laser/ IPL Freckle removal pain relief:

With freckle removal, it is preferred that no pain relief is used (unless the patient has had multiple test patches or treatments prior, and the powers to be used are standard) The reason that in the initial stages pain relief is avoided is because with freckle, it is necessary to gauge the patients’ pain response to the treatment, as this is important as a guide for avoiding using too high powers which will burn the skin.

If the doctor is satisfied that the powers are very safe for that patient (test patching or previous treatments) then the patient may be offered happy gas only. No topical anaesthetics are to be used

Laser mole/lump and bump removal pain relief:

The pain level of the single spot Erbium laser, which is used to remove raised lesions such as moles, warts, seb K’s and skin tags, is quite low. Man patients judge it as a pain level of about 3/10.

For small lesions like small epidermal cysts or small skin tags, I would advise to have no pain relief as it is not necessary.

For other larger lesions, local anaesthetic will be injected into the skin underneath the lesion. When lasering this lesion after injection of local aneasthetic, the patient will feel no pain at all. A local anaesthetic with adrenaline is usually used in this circumstance, and the benefit of this is that it shuts down the blood vessels in the area and so there will be less bleeding with laser removal of the lump, bump, mole.

Laser / IPL  capillary removal pain relief:

No topical anaethetics will be use as they reduce the size of the capillaries, which makes them more difficult to laser. Again, it is also important for the patient to give the doctor a guide as to how painful the treatment is to avoid side effects such as burning/blistering the skin.

Fractional laser / microlaser peel pain relief for face:

Valium is offered to the patient as an option, 30 minutes prior to the procedure.

Topical anaesthetic is applied to the skin 1 hour prior to procedure.

Happy Gas /Penthrox is optional (not to be used if Valium has already been taken)

Dental Blocks (injection of local anaesthetic into the nerves which supply the mouth and chin area) will be given.

Injection of local anaesthetic may be given for other areas of the face

For lighter depth fractional laser or microlaser peel, no anaesthetics are required

Fractional laser pain relief for body treatments

No anaesthetic required, as the treatment itself is not very painful. After the treatment, the pain will increase and oral pain medications may be taken for this eg Panadol, Panadeine. It does not last very long (several hours after the procedure)


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