When in need of laser dermatology treatments, denizens of the Denver area turn to Dr. Stephen Eubanks, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of the Dermatology & Laser Center at Harvard Park. With 12 laser and energy devices in his practice, he is able to address both medical and cosmetic issues including acne, skin discolorations and even abnormal leg veins and stretch marks. He also specializes in skin cancer surgery and standard dermatology care.
Dr. Eubanks received his medical degree from the University of Oklahoma and his dermatology training from Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Denver. In addition to treating patients at his private practice, Dr. Eubanks is an assistant clinical professor at the University of Colorado Health Science Center. He also lectures and teaches laser-related courses throughout the country and has consulted for a prominent international laser corporation for more than a dozen years.
Tell us a little bit about your history – how did you choose dermatology as a specialty?
I went to medical school at the University of Oklahoma and did my internship at Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii. During my internship, I was looking into different residencies and was told by the hospital dermatologists that a dermatology residency would be the best three years of training in my life. I took their advice and they were correct, dermatology has been a great specialty for me. It works very well with my personality. I usually know very quickly what I need to do for any patient, I love the technology demands of the lasers, I really like the short surgeries we perform in dermatology and I really enjoy looking at pathologic specimens under the microscope.
What areas of dermatology do you specialize in?
My practice is 70% general dermatology and 30% cosmetic dermatology. I do a lot of skin cancer surgery but also basic dermatology. My cosmetic practice centers on lasers and radio-frequency devices.
How do you think the science and practice of dermatology has changed during your time in the field?
The science and practice of dermatology has dramatically changed during my 28 years of private practice. Interestingly, the medical and clinical side of dermatology has only slightly changed. There are more drugs and techniques available but the art of clinical dermatology has changed little. The immense changes have been in the cosmetic arena. There were no fillers or botulinum toxins during my training. These have added large cosmetic changes to our specialty. However, the real change in the science has been in the fields of laser, light and radio-frequency. There was none of this in my training. In early years, I would lecture on what is new in lasers; this has become too great a change every year to possibly explain it in a one hour lecture. I really enjoy learning about new devices and incorporating them into my practice. I have always thought it important to understand the physics behind all of the devices I use. This may not necessarily change my clinical approach but I feel very comfortable when I understand what is behind each device.
How do you use different lasers to treat different skin and medical conditions?
We have twelve different lasers, IPL and radio-frequency devices that allow me to have a wide variety of treatment options. There are lasers such as pulsed dye and long-pulsed alexandrite lasers that are used to treat medical conditions such as port-wine stains and rosacea. I have a wide spectrum of devices for treating sun damage. This ranges from Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) to Sublative (eMatrix) to fractional ablative devices such as our fractional CO2 laser (CO2RE).
We use the light devices, lasers and radio-frequency devices to treat active acne, sebaceous hyperplasia, which is a benign oil gland growth on the face, scars, especially acne scars, warts, stretch marks, wrinkles, brown age spots, hair removal in light and dark skin, rosacea and blood vessels on the face and general sun damage.
What cosmetic procedures are most requested during the summer? During the winter?
During the winter we tend to do more of our treatments that are associated with downtime such as CO2 lasers. I also do most of my leg vein treatments either with laser or sclerotherapy during the winter months. My less invasive devices such as the eMatrix and ePrime evolastin can be performed all year round. The new evolastin device is an energy based micro-needle insertion dermal remodeling procedure that delivers measured radio frequency energy directly into the deep dermis.
Are there any new or forthcoming dermatological advances that you are especially excited about?
I feel the addition of radio-frequency devices to my practice is very promising. Combining radio-frequency with other energy sources such as light and laser adds a new dimension to the efficacy of these devices. I think we are just beginning to see the many uses for the fractional radio-frequency device (eMatrix). I have found this to be the best device by far for treating acne scars. The evolastin procedure using tiny needles to deliver high energy to a specified level in the dermis is also a very unique delivery system that we are beginning to find many uses for. These are examples of how we will find new and exciting uses for many new devices.