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What is PicoSure?

What is PicoSure?

As an aesthetic picosecond laser, PicoSure is actually the first of its kind. It has been adopted widely by medical practices because of its advanced technology and record of results (as indicated by clinical data from various studies). Including capabilities such as 532 nm and 1064 nm wavelengths and adjustable pressure, PicoSure is sophisticated enough to remove full-color tattoos. It is considered safe and effective.

Before we get into this laser and understanding what makes it particularly powerful, let’s look at the picosecond since that time-frame is central to this device.

What is a picosecond?

How remarkable is the picosecond?

A picosecond, or ps, is one-trillionth of a second. Just how tiny of a time period is that? It is one-thousandth of a nanosecond. For all practical purposes, suffice it to say that a picosecond is a tiny, tiny sliver of time. This length of time is sometimes applied to digital processing times, but it is such a fast rate of speed that even the processing time of a supercomputer is typically measured in nanoseconds instead. Keep in mind, even a nanosecond is miniscule. The speed of light covers just 30 centimeters in 1 nanosecond. For that reason, the picosecond is difficult to even consider.

Trying to go smaller than the nanosecond gets challenging as a measuring stick even for computer scientists. Techopedia notes that "some researchers have reported picosecond-range speeds for some types of processors and other emerging technologies" – establishing how impressive this speed is in general. The picosecond is essentially seen as a sort of “holy grail” for technologists. Understanding the picosecond better, you can see how a laser that operates at this level is truly ground-breaking.

What makes a picosecond laser powerful?

What does it mean that PicoSure is an aesthetic laser (and the first picosecond one of its kind, as established above)? It means it is useful for various aesthetic services, including removal of tattoos (including full-color ones) and pigmented lesions, as well as treatment of wrinkles and acne scars. 

The extremely abbreviated pulse duration of the laser allows it to surpass mere photothermal action with a photomechanical effect – a patented process called PressureWave – which simply creates better results faster. You also avoid damage to the nearby skin. Additionally, fluence (the particles per second crossing over a defined area) is lower.

The end result is that this method can work on projects for which other tattoo removal methods have failed. Dark inks such as blue and green, and otherwise difficult and long-established tattoos, can become historical remnants after treatment with the laser.

Study: picosecond laser even effective with wrinkles

We use this device for tattoo removal – but, as indicated above, it is used in other ways. To give you a sense how powerful this laser is, let’s look at another application: wrinkle treatment. A clinical study, published in 2016 in the journal Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, found that the PicoSure laser works in the treatment of periocular (around the eye) and perioral (around the mouth and lips) wrinkles.

Included within the study were 40 female subjects that had wrinkles from sun exposure. All of the subjects were nonsmokers, Caucasian, and in good health. Their average age was 58 years.

Each of the women received laser treatments with PicoSure for four months, one treatment per month. Once these treatments ended, photographs were taken at 1, 3, and 6 months. Doctors, who were blinded, rated the results in terms of general improvement and impact specific to dyschromia, erythema, and wrinkles. PicoSure, an alexandrite laser containing a diffractive array of lenses, was used at its 755-nm setting for treatment of a group of patients.

What are the results of this laser treatment for wrinkles? The study demonstrates a change in the average physician grade from 5.5 to 3.5 after 6 months, an improvement of 2.0 points. That improvement looked substantial to the vast majority of the patients involved, with 9 in 10 of them reporting that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the laser treatment. There were no "unanticipated adverse events" recorded, note the study authors in the abstract. In other words, it is clinically effective, satisfactory to patients, and safe.

Knowing that 90% of patients thought the laser treatment worked is compelling – but what did the physicians think – beyond a rating improvement of 2 full points? Doctors, who again were blinded for research integrity, described the wrinkles as improved or much improved.

The authors of the study noted that part of the reason the laser is so popular for various aesthetic treatments is that it does not have a very strong “thermal effect”; in other words, it does not get too hot. It also means that getting one of the treatments is not likely to lead to side effects; and if any superficial redness does occur, recovery time is quick.

Take action with a picosecond laser

Could a picosecond laser help you remove a tattoo? It certainly can. At Bayview General Medicine, we use PicoSure because we trust it as a fast and effective method to remove unwanted ink with no downtime. Learn more.


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