There are many lasers in the market. Nd:Yag laser is named after the laser medium, Neodymium:yttrium-aluminium-garnet. It is a non-ablative laser, meaning that there is no break in skin tissue continuity during the treatment. Q-switch means the laser produces a high intensity beam in very short pulses. This allow pigmented cells to be targeted.
When this laser’s wavelength are absorbed preferentially by pigments (melanin), the resultant heat will cause generation and propagation of waves that cause damage to the cells containing pigment. These damaged cells will then be cleared from the site resulting in lightening of the pigmented site.
Q-switched Nd:Yag laser can target both superficial and deeper skin pigmentation. However, not all lesions have good results with Q-switched Nd:Yag laser. Some pigmentary disorders work very well with Nd:Yag laser, e.g. solar lentigo,freckles, lentigines and etc while some produce variable results, i.e. Hori’s nevus and melasma.
Another use of this laser is for tattoo removal, particularly purely black tattoos.
Q-switched Nd:Yag also produces rejuvenation effect and provides lightening of the skin.
You will expect mild discomfort/pain which is usually tolerable. The whole procedure will take about 15-30 minutes. After the procedure, you may experience redness over the treated site which may last few hours. Most of the time, there is no swelling and most patients can return to work immediately.
Immediately post laser, you may or may not see lightening of the pigmentation. In fact, the pigmented spot may even darken for 1-2 weeks before getting lighter. However, the skin lightening and rejuvenation may be seen immediately post-laser. Do not expect dramatic result. Most of the time, one treatment does not yield adequate results. Depending on the diagnosis, the number of treatment needed is variable and can be scheduled every 2-4 weeks.