Laser Skin Resurfacing As one of the most exciting and innovative scientific achievements to date, laser technology is being utilized throughout the health care community. Dr. Johnson uses one of the newest lasers, the ultrapulse carbon dioxide laser, to treat sun-damaged skin, facial wrinkles and scars in a procedure called laser skin resurfacing.
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, lined, 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 in our office under light sedation. As a result of this treatment, you are left with more youthful looking skin.
What areas can be treated through laser resurfacing? The laser is used to reduce tiny 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 an alternative to chemical peel and dermabrasion. The benefits of using this technique are less pain and a faster recovery time. In most cases, it is also less costly.
Before Surgery Prior to surgery, Dr. Johnson and you will discuss the goals for facial improvement. After determining the most appropriate procedure to use, we will fully describe the procedure, what results to expect and the costs. The skin is usually pretreated prior to surgery to improve the healing time. Do not smoke for seven (7) days prior to surgery.
The Procedure A local anesthetic and sedation are given to ensure that you are comfortable throughout the procedure. The area is cleansed and draped. Dr. Johnson directs the laser beam toward your skin imperfections. The laser quickly and accurately vaporizes the outermost layers of skin just four or five cells in thickness.
What can be expected? In most cases, only one treatment is needed. After the laser procedure, you will wear a dressing for one week for comfort. The initial redness fades in a few weeks to a light pink, which can be camouflaged with cosmetics. The discoloration usually disappears in one to three months. The goal of laser resurfacing is to enhance facial appearance. Expectations by the patient must be realistic and results should be anticipated as improvements rather than total corrections. Results of the surgery depend on many factors such as the size, shape and location of the imperfection and the patient’s heredity, age and general skin condition.