Laser Fractional Resurfacing

 
What is Ablative Laser Resurfacing?

Ablative laser resurfacing removes the top layer of the skin in a very precise manner, leading to improvement in skin texture, tone, sun damage and wrinkles. It is also used to smooth out unwanted bumps. For patients with extensive sun damage, laser resurfacing can be an effective method to "reset" the skin to a healthier state.

What does "Fractional" Laser Resurfacing mean?

Fractional resurfacing lasers treat a fraction of the skin with each pulse. By having treated next to untreated skin (microscopically), the wound heals faster and has fewer side effects. By treating a smaller percentage of the skin at deeper levels, ablative fractional lasers offer significant improvement with less risk and downtime relative to older technologies.

Who is a candidate for Ablative Laser Resurfacing?

Patients with fair complexions who desire improvement in sun damage, fine lines, and/or wrinkles are candidates for laser resurfacing.

What are some reasons a patient is NOT a candidate for Ablative Laser Resurfacing?

Isotretinoin or Accutane use within the past 12 months, active or chronic infection, history of abnormal wound healing, prior radiation or intense electrolysis to the site being treated, pregnancy/nursing/trying to conceive, having a darker skin complexion (as this treatment can disrupt pigmentation).

What to expect during the treatment?

Topical numbing cream will be applied to your skin for 30-60 minutes prior to the procedure. Your eyes will be protected with goggles during the procedure. You will be fully awake. Each pulse is stingy but should not be painful. The laser makes a loud noise when it is in use. A loud vacuum will also be turned on during your procedure. The duration of the treatment depends on the size of the area treated. Small areas (such as the eyelids) take 20 minutes, while full face treatments require around 90 minutes. Following the procedure, cool ointment will be applied to soothe the stinging sensation. We will go over the wound care instructions with you, and give you skin care products to care for your skin while healing.

What can I expect post-treatment?

For the first 6-8 hours after the procedure, the treated skin will feel like an intense sunburn. It is useful to have a fan at home to blow on the skin during this time. Cold compresses are helpful and may also be applied. The following chart summarizes the healing process, though this varies with each patient and the size of the area treated.

How do I prepare for a treatment?

The skin will be raw then pink a week. When treating small areas (such as the cheeks), bandages may be worn while healing. When treating the entire face, most patients plan on staying close to home for 1 week. While the skin is not usually painful during this time, it is unsightly and requires ointment application. One the day of the procedure, come to the office without any makeup or other products on the areas to be treated. Avoid using hairsprays or anything flammable near the area being treated. If the eyelid skin is being treated, you will need to wear your glasses to the appointment. Avoid sun exposure 4 weeks before and 4 weeks after the treatment. If you are tan at the time of your treatment, we will need to reschedule your treatment for safety reasons.

What's the typical healing process? (Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3-4 | Day 5-7 | 1-4 weeks )

Stinging:
Day 1: + | Day 2: +/- | Day 3-4: +/- | Day 5-7: - | 1-4 weeks: -

Swelling:
Day 1: + | Day 2: + | Day 3-4: + | Day 5-7: - | 1-4 weeks: -

Raw Skin:
Day 1: + | Day 2: + | Day 3-4: + | Day 5-7: - | 1-4 weeks: -

Pain Intensity: (0n 0-10 Scale; 0 = no pain and 10 = worst pain)
Day 1: 6-7 | Day 2: 2-3 | Day 3-4: 1-2 | Day 5-7: 0-1 | 1-4 weeks: 0

Redness:
Day 1: + | Day 2: + | Day 3-4: + | Day 5-7: + | 1-4 weeks: +/-

Wear Makeup:
Day 1: no | Day 2: no | Day 3-4: no | Day 5-7: maybe | 1-4 weeks: yes

Can I drive myself to and from the procedure?

Patients who are having the eyes and/or entire face area should bring a driver. If a limited area (such as the cheeks or mouth area) is being treated, a driver is not required.

How many treatments are needed?

This depends on the severity of the condition being treated. Fine lines, sun damage, and textural changes often improve with one treatment though a second may be helpful. Deeper lines, especially around the mouth, and acne scars often need at least 2 treatments.

What is the cost?

Treatment cost depends on the size of the area treated, but ranges from $400-$3500.00 per treatment. Fees include all skin care products and follow up visits during the healing period.

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