What is Nd:YAG laser?
Nd:YAG (neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet) is a crystal that is used as a laser medium for solid-state lasers.
The triply ionised neodymium [Nd(III)] dopant (ie a substance added in minute amounts to another pure substance to alter its conductivity), typically replaces a small fraction of the yttrium ions in the host crystal structure, since the two ions are of similar size.
The neodymium ion provides the laser activity in the crystal.
Nd:YAG laser has a wavelength of 1064 nm and has the capability to reach deeper layers of skin tissue than other types of lasers.
In Q-switched mode, Nd:YAG produces 2 wavelengths, one in the infrared range (1064 nm) and a second beam of 532 nm wavelength which is useful for superficial skin lesions. Q-switching refers to the technique of making the laser produce a high intensity beam in very short pulses
How does Nd:YAG laser work?
Lasers work by emitting a wavelength of high energy light, which when focused on a certain skin condition will create heat and destroy diseased cells.
What is Nd:YAG laser used for?
The FDA has approved a range of Nd:YAG laser machines for various skin disorders. These include Cutera Nd:YAG laser (Cutera, California, USA), RevLite Q-Switched Nd:YAG laser (Cynosure, Massachusetts, USA) and Fotona Nd:YAG laser (Aesthetic Lasers Inc. MN, USA). Individual machines are designed to treat specific skin problems.
The following skin disorders can be treated with Nd:YAG laser beams.
1. Hair removal
Nd:YAG laser may be used for hair removal in any location including underarms, bikini line, face, neck, back, chest and legs.
Nd:YAG laser is generally ineffective for light-coloured (blonde/grey) hair, but effective for treating dark (brown/black) hair in patients of Fitzpatrick types I to III, and perhaps light-coloured type IV skin.
Extreme caution is recommended in tanned or darker-skinned patients, as the laser can also destroy melanin, resulting in white patches of skin (leukoderma).
The longer-pulse (millisecond) 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser system has been shown to be more effective in safely removing hair than has the Q-switched (nanosecond) Nd:YAG system.Light pulses target the hair follicle, which causes the hair to fall out and minimises further growth. Typical settings employed include pulse durations of 2 to 20 milliseconds and fluences of 10-40 J/cm2.