Fresh Meadows Doctor Develops Laser System for Stretch Marks
A Fresh Meadows doctor is doing pioneer work in the field of laser treatment for stretch marks.
Dr. Joshua Fox, a dermatology laser surgeon who also is affiliated with New York Medical Center of Queens (NYHQ), reported his findings recently at the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery’s annual meeting in Boston and to the American Society of Laser Surgery in Phoenix. Based on a two-year study, Dr. Fox has found a 65 percent improvement in the elasticity and depression of the stretch marks following treatment. “It’s never all better but the results are still very good, a lot better than before,” he said.By utilizing techniques he has developed in conjunction with the laser, Dr. Fox says those ugly purple marks are the first to go. “The pink-purple stretch marks are actually the early signs of stretch marks and I can get rid of them in one visit,” he said. “It’s the white ones that are older and there to stay,” he added.Depending on the patient, it usually takes two to three treatments in 10-15 minutes sessions to complete.
Whereas previously there would be pain and bruising between visits, now he says there is minimal damage and less pain. He uses a test site of skin to minimize the dangers of blistering, discoloration or scarring. To lessen pain and enhance results, Dr. Fox uses ice, creams and other skin care treatment.
“It’s a non-invasive procedure so there is no breaking of the skin as there is for wrinkle removal and other laser procedures,” Dr. Fox said. Part of his refinements are based on using different laser strengths depending on the patient’s type of skin.
“You have to evaluate each patient and base the treatment on various things,” he said. “You just don’t use the same dosage on everyone.” Although nine out of ten patients are women, Dr. Fox is seeing an increase in the amount of male patients who come to him. “Women stretch marks are primarily on the abdomen, thighs, buttocks and breasts,” he said, “while men have them on the biceps and triceps area from weightlifting.”
Stretch marks, he noted are usually the result of fibers fraying that give the skin its elasticity. This can be a result of weight gain, pregnancy, muscle building, major growth spurts and other medical conditions. For women in particular, the minor bruising between sessions can be covered up by make up and usually are in areas hidden by clothing. The cost is about $350 per treatment and is not covered by insurance. This new technique has only been in existence three years and Dr. Fox sees many other avenues for the future.
“I am also working on removing certain types of scars, such as keloids, with the laser,” he said.
In addition, he is developing skin creams for collagen growth. “It would stimulate the whole process of skin rejuvenation,” he added. Dr. Fox’s findings on his stretch mark removal procedures are based on over 100 cases of men and women ranging from 19 to 64, all races and skin colors. He does not recommend the procedure for teenagers or children. “It’s hard to believe, but until the last two to three years, there was no treatment for this problem,” he said. “Now the laser can provide a major improvement in someone’s life.”