Laser Skin Resurfacing: As one of the most exciting and innovative scientific achievements of the decade, Laser technology is being utilized throughout the health care community. Drs. Lohr or Hollabaugh uses one of the newest lasers, fractionated carbon dioxide laser, to treat sun-damaged skin, facial wrinkles and scars in a procedure called laser skin resurfacing. Laser resurfacing also induces collagen formation and causes skin tightening. When combined with fat transfer or facial fillers a dramatic facial rejuvenation can be seen without having to have more advanced surgery like a facelift.
WHAT IS A LASER?
The word “laser” is an acronym, which stands for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A surgical laser, such as the CO2 laser, is a beam of light capable of removing unwanted tissue, such as scarred, lines, wrinkled, and otherwise imperfect skin. The laser vaporizes skin cells by emitting bursts of radiation that are absorbed by water in these cells. Laser light penetrates to a very precise, controlled depth, making the procedure safe and predictable, while reducing the risk of scarring or pigmentation problems. Laser skin resurfacing is bloodless, and is performed right here in our office or in a surgery center. For full face resurfacing, we prefer our patients to be comfortable so these are done with IV sedation or general anesthesia. For less aggressive treatments in small isolated areas we typically use topical or local anesthesia. As a result of this treatment, you are left with more youthful skin texture, quality and firmness.
WHAT AREAS CAN BE TREATED THROUGH LASER RESURFACING?
The laser is used to reduce small to medium wrinkles, acne scars and other minor skin imperfections, especially around the mouth and eyes. It can improve sun-damaged and acne scarred skin, problems that often cause concern to both men and women.
BENEFITS OF TREATMENT
Laser resurfacing can be used as a more advanced alternative to chemical peel and dermabrasion. The benefits of using this technique is that the laser settings can be adjusted for your skin type and the desired result. We see a great degree of skin rejuvenation and more importantly collagen stimulation and skin tightening with the laser as opposed to other more minimally invasive options.
Prior to surgery, Drs. Lohr or Hollabaugh and you will discuss the goals for facial improvement. After determining the appropriate procedure, we will fully describe the procedure, postoperative care, and expected results. The skin is usually pretreated with topical medicated creams prior to surgery to get the skin ready for the procedure and to improve the healing time and final results.
Depending on the type of laser treatment a topical, local, IV or general anesthetic is given to ensure that you are comfortable throughout the procedure. The area is cleansed and draped. Drs. Lohr or Hollabaugh directs the laser beam toward your facial skin imperfections. The first pass is done with a deeper laser that heats underlying collagen that stimulates collagen formation and is what results in skin tightening. The second pass of the laser is to perform the skin resurfacing; this laser removes the most superficial layer of the skin.
WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED?
In most cases, only one treatment is needed. In the first 3-5 days the facial skin will be oozy and begin to slough as the tissue begins to heal. It is important to follow postoperative instructions to keep the skin clean and healthy. Days 5-7 initial redness fades and peeling begins to slow, the next week the face is typically light pink/red similar to a mild sunburn, which can be concealed with makeup. Mild pink discoloration usually disappears in 1-2 months. The goal of laser resurfacing is to resurface the skin, get skin tightening, rejuvenate and improve facial appearance. Skin and facial evaluation, recommendations, postoperative care and expected results will be discussed at consultation. Results of the procedure depend on many factors such as the degree of sun damage, severity of wrinkles, and degree of loose skin. Other factors with any cosmetic procedure are patient’s general skin health and overall health and healing ability. Smoking and diabetes inhibit normal healing and may delay results as with any cosmetic procedures. Initial results are seen in a few weeks post procedure. With these early changes we began to see healthier skin and improved skin quality and texture. The most significant results of skin tightening are seen at 3-6 months as wrinkles and lines begin to improve as skin tightens. It takes 3 months for collagen to start to remodel and tighten the skin. If you are interested in facial laser resurfacing call to set up a consultation with our facial surgeons to discuss the procedure and expected results.