Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing is the latest advancement in the removal of facial lines,
refining scars and rejuvenating aging skin. This procedure utilizes a CO² (carbon
dioxide) laser that is able to vaporize the superficial layers of tissue on your
face revealing smooth new skin that offers an invigorating appearance. For many
people, this procedure has become the treatment of choice for the management
of facial wrinkles, lip lines, crow's feet, scars and pigmentation abnormalities.
This procedure is preferred because it is a safe and reliable method with little
risk of scarring and no bleeding.
is facial laser skin resurfacing performed?
a CO² laser, you surgeon will direct a beam of concentrated
light on the facial lines, scars and/or wrinkles you're having
treated. As your surgeon moves the laser back and forth, its
pulse gently vaporizes the upper layers of your skin and effectively
wipes them away. The laser is absorbed by the water present in
human skin, and essentially produces a mild, controlled burn.
As new skin cells develop during the healing process, a smooth,
fresh layer of skin slowly emerges. With a CO² laser, surgeons
can be very precise in terms of the laser strength and exposure
time given to the treated areas. Although laser skin resurfacing
is still a new procedure, it has shown to result in less bleeding,
bruising and short-term discomfort than other skin resurfacing
long does facial laser skin resurfacing take?
time required for laser skin resurfacing varies a great deal.
For minimal resurfacing the procedure may take as little as a
few minutes. For more involved procedures where a larger area
of skin is being treated, the procedure may take up to one and
a half hour. If the skin imperfections being treated are exceptionally
deep, your surgeon may recommend that your resurfacing be performed
in two or more sessions.
type of anesthesia is used?
most cases, laser skin resurfacing procedures are performed using
local anesthesia and a sedative. This means you will be awake
during your procedure, but very relaxed. Any discomfort you may
feel will be very minimal. For more extensive and lengthy procedures,
your surgeon may choose to use general anesthesia, which means
you'll be asleep during the entire procedure.
is the procedure performed?
resurfacing may be performed in a hospital, an outpatient surgery
center or a surgeon's office-based facility. For cost containment
and convenience, laser resurfacing is usually done on an outpatient
basis. For the more extensive resurfacing procedures or for resurfacing
combined with other surgical procedures, you may be admitted
to a hospital or a recovery center.
can I return home and resume normal activities?
skin resurfacing procedures are typically done on an outpatient
basis, which means there is no overnight hospital stay required
and you can return home after your procedure. Be sure to make
arrangements for someone to drive to you home after your procedure,
because you will be recovering from the effects of local or general
anesthesia and any sedatives your surgeon may have given you.
On some occasions, your surgeon may recommend an overnight hospital
stay if you have had a very extensive procedure, or combined
your laser skin resurfacing with other procedures.
should allow yourself seven to ten days before returning to normal
physical activity. During this period you may have facial bandages
and be required to apply ice packs or ointments to your treated
areas. Any scabbing or flaking of the skin is usually present
during this ten-day period; so many patients choose to stay home.
After this ten-day period most patients are able to return to
their normal activities. However, your surgeon will recommend
that you avoid exposure to the sun for some time after this period.
If you must be outside for prolonged periods of time, it is recommended
that you wear hats that shade your face and wear sunscreen lotions
with an SBF of 15 or higher.
do I prepare for facial laser skin resurfacing?
your initial consultation, your surgeon will discuss the changes
that you would like to make to your appearance. Since the appearance
of your face is a matter of personal perception and preference,
you will need to discuss your concerns in detail so your surgeon
can determine the appropriate alternatives. A complete health
history will be discussed with your surgeon at this time. Specifically,
the surgeon may want to know if you have ever taken Accutane,
birth control pills, or if you have ever had blotchy pigmentation
with pregnancy or sun exposure. Knowledge of any history of cold
sores, bleeding problems, infectious diseases and a tendency
towards scarring should be brought to the surgeon's attention
at this time.
Once your health history is reviewed, your surgeon will assess and evaluate
your skin. Specific instructions to assist you in preparing for this procedure
will be given to you after the health history and physical is complete. Your
experience will be much smoother if you remain compliant with your surgeon's
precautions are necessary during recovery?
most cases you will experience some mild swelling and discomfort
immediately following your procedure. The use of ice packs and
medication will minimize the feeling of discomfort. When your
laser skin resurfacing procedure is complete, your surgeon may
apply creams or ointments to your skin until it is healed. Some
surgeons will choose to place a bandage over the treated areas
to protect them during the five to ten days of your recovery.
After this period your surgeon will remove the bandage and may
apply a thin layer of ointment to your skin. At this time your
surgeon will provide you with specific instructions about how
to wash and care for your treated skin. In the days immediately
following your procedure, you may notice that some small crusts
or flakes have developed on your treated area. It's important
not to pick these flakes off because it may leave scars. They
normally will disappear by themselves after about 10 days.
are the possible complications after facial laser skin resurfacing?
with any surgical procedure, laser skin resurfacing has some
potential risks and complications that you should be aware of.
Complications tend to be minimal and infrequent when this procedure
is performed by an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.
Potential risks associated with this procedure include burns,
scarring and noticeable lightening or darkening of the skin.
Laser resurfacing also has the potential to activate herpes infections
and, in rare cases, other types of infections. If your healing
is abnormal or very slow, or you show greater than usual scarring,
additional corrective treatments may be required. It is always
important to be informed about the possible complications before
any surgery. Be sure to discuss any concerns you may have with
results can I expect after facial laser skin resurfacing?
the weeks immediately following laser skin resurfacing, your
skin will normally remain bright pink or red. Your surgeon may
prescribe medication so this color will subside more quickly.
The pinkness in your skin color can last to some degree for up
to six months. However, most women are able to apply makeup after
two weeks so the pinkness is less noticeable. In rare cases,
your skin may be too sensitive to wear makeup. If this happens,
ask your surgeon if he or she can recommend an alternative type
of makeup that may not cause your skin to react. You will want
to protect your skin's treated areas from the sun for several
months following your procedure until your skin color has returned
to normal. Using sun protection lotions will help you maintain
the positive results you have achieved with laser skin resurfacing,
and help you avoid any new damage to your skin.
you must be in the sun, wear hats that will shade your face and
use sun block lotions with an SBF of 15 or higher. If laser skin
resurfacing was performed in the areas around your eyes, wear
high-quality sunglasses with UVA and 100% UVB filters. Final
results from laser skin resurfacing treatments may take several
months. However, once the pinkness fades away, most women notice
dramatic improvements in the smoothness and fresh feel of their
skin. Though your results will be long lasting, they may not
be permanent. In the years following your treatment, you may
still develop the lines and wrinkles that result from aging and
natural facial movements. Laser skin resurfacing treatments can
usually be repeated throughout your lifetime. However, by taking
basic measures to protect your skin, you should be able to make
the results you achieve through your initial treatment last for