Apparatus and method for adjustable fractional optical dermatological treatment

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In a fractional treatment system, an adjustable mechanism can be used to adjust the beam shape, beam numerical aperture, beam focus depth, and/or beam size to affect the treatment depth and or the character of the resulting lesions. Adjustment of these parameters can improve the efficiency and efficacy of treatment. Illustrative examples of adjustable mechanisms include a set of spacers of different lengths, a rotatable turret with lens elements of different focal distances, an optical zoom lens, and a mechanical adjustment apparatus for adjusting the spacing between two optical lens elements. In one aspect, the fractional treatment is configured with a laser wavelength that is selected such that absorption of the laser wavelength within the tissue decreases as the tissue is heated by the laser (e.g., 1480-1640 nm). Desirably, the laser wavelength is primarily absorbed within a treated region of skin by water and has a thermally adjusted absorption coefficient within the range of about 7 cm.sup.-1 to about 26 cm.sup.-1.

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