Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing is used to remove the outer layers of the skin in a precise and controlled fashion using a laser. As the skin heals, there is growth of new skin cells which results in wrinkle smoothing, skin tightening, and a healthier looking skin. Laser resurfacing is very effective in the treatment of facial wrinkles, crow's feet (eyelid wrinkles), lip wrinkles and pigmented spots. In those patients with baggy eyelids, a laser blepharoplasty procedure may also be required to remove excess skin and fat from around the eyes.
Is surgery painful?
Pain is minimal. The surgery is generally performed under local anesthetic. Sedation may be given through an intravenous or by mouth to help you relax. A general anesthetic may be given if you are extremely anxious. There is usually little discomfort after the surgery which may be controlled with Tylenol.
What can I expect after treatment?
Redness of the skin is variable and occurs within the first week. Aquaphor (Vaseline petroleum jelly) is used to treat the skin for the first 7 to 10 days after surgery. Makeup may be applied after 7 to 10 days. Skin color gradually returns to normal within 3 to 16 weeks. Avoid heavy physical exertion for 2 weeks after surgery. Prolonged sun exposure is discouraged for 3 to 6 months and a sunblock is recommended. The effects of laser skin resurfacing are long-lasting but may be diminished by sun-exposure, smoking and natural aging.
Are there any complications?
Complications are uncommon but can occur with any surgical procedure. Infection, abnormal pigmentation and scarring may occur after laser skin resurfacing. Infection is unusual but may be caused by bacteria or viruses. Medication may be prescribed to you to prevent infection. Abnormal pigmentation may occur and generally fades with time and sun avoidance. Bleaching creams and Retin-A may be used to decrease excessive pigmentation. Scarring is uncommon but may occur as a result of infection or poor wound care.
Are there any precautions before surgery?
Patients with active skin infections should avoid surgery until the infection is treated. Isotretinoin (Accutane) therapy should be avoided within 2 years of laser resurfacing. Patients with a history of keloid scars are not good candidates for laser skin resurfacing.