Laser resurfacing is a relatively new treatment that has produced astonishing results for reducing facial wrinkles and skin irregularities, such as blemishes, uneven pigmentations (melasma), or scars related to acne and chicken pox.
The technique directs short, concentrated pulsating beams of light at the affected areas of the skin. The laser beam removes skin very precisely, layer by layer, by vaporizing the outer layer of skin. This has led to astonishing laser resurfacing before and after results. This popular procedure is known by several other names, including lasabrasion, laser peel or laser vaporization.
If you are investigating this cosmetic option, then you have come to the right site. We hope that we have provided you with a place where you can access and retrieve all relevant comprehensive information on laser resurfacing and post-laser resurfacing for you to make a more informed decision on whether to pursue this procedure.
The first, and probably the most important, thing to do is to consult a board certified plastic surgeon. Finding a good surgeon can be more difficult than you think. Not everybody has the same skill and experience with laser resurfacing equipment, so it is absolutely paramount that you find a surgeon with proven results and credentials - they will be able provide you with the most optimal results while minimizing any complications or risks.
During the consultation period, your surgeon should explain the factors that influence the procedure and the results - such as any abnormal skin condition which has been diagnosed or previously treated, medications you are taking or have taken in the past, previous skin injuries or previous operations. Depending on your individual needs, your surgeon may recommend that you begin a pre-treatment plan to prepare the skin for resurfacing.
Laser resurfacing is generally considered safe with less risks and complications compared to other resurfacing procedures such as dermabrasion and medium to deep chemical peels.
The procedure will take anywhere from 15 minutes to just over an hour depending on the extent of the work done. The patient will normally be given an anesthetic and sedatives for the procedure.
Because the top, damaged layer of skin is vaporized during the treatment, the new skin that is revealed will feel as if it is enduring a mild sunburn. There will be some itching or stinging for 12 to 72 hours after the procedure, with the skin becoming dry and peeling in five to seven days.
Following the procedure, mild swelling and discomfort is experienced. This can be controlled with ice packs to reduce swelling and prescription medications to ease any pain. If a bandage was applied after your procedure, it can be replaced with a fresh one after a day or two.
After approximately a week, the bandage will be removed and a thin layer of ointment may be applied to the skin. Once this stage is reached, your surgeon will provide instructions on how to gently wash and care for your healing skin.
The final result from laser skin resurfacing may take anywhere from 2-8 months to fully appear. However, once the pinkness fades, patients usually notice a significant improvement in the quality of their skin and a fresher, smoother appearance. During this initial phase of healing, it is very important that you don't pick the scabs off the treated area or scarring may result. Most patients are free of crusts by about 10 days post-operatively. However, Redness may persist for several weeks.
It's important to note that your results will not be permanent, but it will last a long time from 2-10 years. By protecting yourself from the sun and following a skin-care regiment recommended by your plastic surgeon, you can help maintain your rejuvenated look. As with other methods of skin resurfacing, laser treatments can usually be repeated. Post laser resurfacing is highly recommended for those wanting to sustain their youthful appearance.
Laser resurfacing can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence, but it won't completely remove all facial flaws or prevent you from aging. Lines that occur as a result of natural movements of the face (i.e. smiling, squinting, blinking, talking, chewing) will inevitably recur. Before you decide to have laser resurfacing, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.
The length of recovery after laser skin resurfacing depends on the extent and depth of the procedure. The greater the area receiving the treatment, the longer the recovery, although all laser resurfacing involves some degree of discomfort swelling, and redness.
In addition to receiving instructions on proper care, your surgeon will prescribe antibiotics and pain medications. This will not only ease discomfort and promote healing, but will also lessen the chances of secondary bacterial infections. Patients must take their temperature regularly. A fever could mean an infection is developing that might require stronger prescriptions.
Moisturizer should be applied liberally to keep the skin hydrated. (Patients may resume the application of Retin-A and/or glycolic acid products around six weeks after laser resurfacing or as directed by their physician). Smokers should not use tobacco products during their recovery, as this will harm the healing process.
In some cases, patients may find that their healing skin is unusually sensitive to their regular makeup. If this is the case, discontinue the use of the irritating products until substitutes can be found or until the healing progresses sufficiently for the negative reaction to resolve on its own.
In the months following the treatment, it is important to protect the newly laser-resurfaced skin from the sun until the skin color has completely returned to normal. Using sun protection regularly will help to maintain the results of the procedure and to reduce the chance of new sun damage to the skin.
If you must be in the sun, apply a strong, broad-spectrum sun block rated at SPF 15 or higher to shield against both UVA and UVB rays. Shade your face with a hat or visor. If resurfacing was performed around the eyes, it's best to also wear good-quality sunglasses with UVA and UVB 100% filters.
When the treated area peels, new skin forms. It will be pink at first, and will then gradually lighten for up to a year after the initial treatment. Additional corrective measures and treatment may be required if healing seems delayed, or if there is any evidence of abnormal pigmentation or scarring. Your doctor will not consider retreating the area until the original area is completely healed.
Laser skin resurfacing is currently generating a lot of buzz in the plastic surgery industry. With results that are superior to other skin resurfacing procedures, many people - both surgeons and patients alike, are excited by its potential.
However, it is important for patients to realize that the resurfacing laser is not a magic wand. Although it is generally considered a very safe procedure, with less risks and complications compared with other resurfacing procedures like medium and deep chemical peels and dermabrasion, risks for laser resurfacing is present just like any other cosmetic plastic surgery procedure.
Laser skin resurfacing emits a laser targeted at areas of damaged skin - wrinkles, spots, scars, and uneven pigmentation. The laser essentially produces a precisely-controlled "sunburn" that causes the destruction of the outer damaged layer to expose the underlying undamaged skin layer. Because of this, there are going to be some accompanying tissue damage.
Any time there is tissue damaged, there will be some risks, which includes:
Patients with darker skin - olive, brown, or black skin - may be at increased risk for pigmentation changes no matter what type of resurfacing method is recommended. Your plastic surgeon should evaluate your skin characteristics and make recommendations accordingly.
It is of upmost importance that the laser skin resurfacing procedure is conducted by a qualified, experienced surgeon, since they will have an intimate knowledge of the equipment and procedure, which will significantly minimize complications.
Finding the most qualified surgeon is of utmost importance in order to minimize or eliminate the risks associated with the procedure. To get in contact with a Board Certified Surgeon use the contact form on the right hand side of this page.
Not every practitioner who offers laser surgery has the same level of experience and skill with laser use. That is why it is especially important that you find a certified cosmetic plastic surgeon who is adequately trained and board certified in the procedure and who is experienced enough to make appropriate changes in the procedure to comply with your individual anatomy and physical reactions.
Perhaps the most pervasive risk is not achieving the patient's expected result. It is important for the surgeon to counsel the patient that absolute 100% correction is probably not a realistic expectation. It is always better to achieve some degree of correction and repeat the procedure at a later time, since over-application of laser resurfacing to perfect everything in one go can lead to permanent scarring.
To learn more about before and after Laser Skin Resurfacing please complete the contact form below, or call us today at the number found in the upper right corner of this page. You will then get the option to schedule a free consultation with a Board Certified Surgeon in your local area. The majority of surgeons have financing plans available to offer their customers.