I have just returned from a flying visit to London where I had lazer treatment. I flew over on Wednesday afternoon for treatment on Thursday then flew home on Friday morning. I usually spend a few days there but I am broke at the moment so felt that the less time I spend in London the less money I would spend 🙂
I met Dr Tapan Patel, the owner of the PHI clinic on Harley Street, about 5 years ago at a Katie Piper Foundation event in London. He told me about a new lazer he had started using and asked if I wanted to try it as he thought it could really help my scars. I of course said yes definitely, thank you; I am willing to give any treatment a try and he seemed like a very nice, genuine person so I trusted him.
I have had lazer many, many times before in the hospital which treats the pigmentation / colour of the scars but this lazer is different it helps to improve the appearance, pliability and texture of the scars; burn scars shrink, they look bad and restrict movement.
I returned to London a few months later for a consultation with Dr Patel (who is so lovely); he told me he had started using the new Lumenis Ultra Pulse CO2 Lazer on burn scars and had seen great results in other patients. I have had hundreds of skin grafts and z plasties to release my skin and improve my range of movement and appearance; skin grafts especially are literally torture so any new treatment that could possibly have a similar effect was very exciting.
I had never heard of this lazer before as it was initially developed for cosmetic purposes, to improve wrinkles, (the lazer for burns would be much stronger though) so is of course not available through the heath service and is not covered by health insurance. A lot of new treatments are not available as they are classed as cosmetic not reconstructive but they are actually both, depending on the patient, for example hair transplants, microdermabrasion & semi permanent tattooing. This is another topic that I could argue for days but basically a lot of cosmetic treatments can be used for reconstructive purposes but are not available to burns survivors due to the cost. 😦 It is only due to nice doctors like Dr Patel that very lucky patients get to avail of these amazing treatments!!
Now I will not lie this lazer is sore, my skin bleeds for a few minutes & is pretty much raw after treatment, it is more painful than other lazer treatments I have had because it goes deeper into the skin but it works so I don’t care about the pain. Basically the lazer breaks up the scars by making (burning) little holes in the skin which encourages the collagen production to heal these little holes leading to new skin. I am not a doctor so probably dont explain it very well. These holes are tiny, like millimetres, so the difference can be tiny but any improvement no matter how small makes a huge difference. I feel a difference straight away even during the treatment it is amazing. I have had a few treatments now, I can’t remember exactly how many, maybe 5 or 6 and I have noticed a huge difference in my face, neck, chest and arms. This lazer is amazing and Dr Patel said he will carry on as many treatments as I need (he is so nice) which may take a while!! The lazer is also meant to work wonders on acne scars.
My appointment on Thursday was at 10.30am, I left my hotel at 9:30 to look for a book shop, so I would have something to read during my appointment, then walked to the PHI Clinic on Harley Street, the clinic is gorgeous. The nurse, Jude (who is Irish so we automatically like her 🙂 ) covered me in numbing cream and wrapped me up in cling film (not attractive) it takes about an hour for the cream to work so I had a chat with Jude, read my book and ate Malteesers. You really need this cream with the CO2 lazer believe me! Then Dr Patel’s colleague, Dr Benji Dhillon (who is also lovely) explained everything to me again and with Jude started the treatment. He lazered my face, neck, chest and arms while Jude used a machine to blow cold air on the treatment area to help the pain. For some reason it actually wasn’t as sore this time as it has been previously and only took about 30 minutes.
Afterwards I walked back to my hotel but I was still numb from the cream and full of beans from the adrenalin so I went for a walk around the shops for a few hours. After a while the cream started to wear off, ouch, 😦 and I felt exhausted so I went back to the hotel, ordered room service and slept until the next morning.
I am home now (2 days later) and am still a bit sore and red but I definitely notice a difference in the areas treated, they are much softer and looser something I could never have imagined a few years ago. 🙂