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Laser Skn Resurfacing

Facial Laser Skin Resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing is the latest advancement in the removal of facial lines, refining scars and rejuvenating aging skin. This procedure utilizes a CO² (carbon dioxide) laser that is able to vaporize the superficial layers of tissue on your face revealing smooth new skin that offers an invigorating appearance. For many people, this procedure has become the treatment of choice for the management of facial wrinkles, lip lines, crow's feet, scars and pigmentation abnormalities. This procedure is preferred because it is a safe and reliable method with little risk of scarring and no bleeding.

How is facial laser skin resurfacing performed?

Using a CO² laser, you surgeon will direct a beam of concentrated light on the facial lines, scars and/or wrinkles you're having treated. As your surgeon moves the laser back and forth, its pulse gently vaporizes the upper layers of your skin and effectively wipes them away. The laser is absorbed by the water present in human skin, and essentially produces a mild, controlled burn. As new skin cells develop during the healing process, a smooth, fresh layer of skin slowly emerges. With a CO² laser, surgeons can be very precise in terms of the laser strength and exposure time given to the treated areas. Although laser skin resurfacing is still a new procedure, it has shown to result in less bleeding, bruising and short-term discomfort than other skin resurfacing methods.

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How long does facial laser skin resurfacing take?

The time required for laser skin resurfacing varies a great deal. For minimal resurfacing the procedure may take as little as a few minutes. For more involved procedures where a larger area of skin is being treated, the procedure may take up to one and a half hour. If the skin imperfections being treated are exceptionally deep, your surgeon may recommend that your resurfacing be performed in two or more sessions.

What type of anesthesia is used?

In most cases, laser skin resurfacing procedures are performed using local anesthesia and a sedative. This means you will be awake during your procedure, but very relaxed. Any discomfort you may feel will be very minimal. For more extensive and lengthy procedures, your surgeon may choose to use general anesthesia, which means you'll be asleep during the entire procedure.

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Where is the procedure performed?

Laser resurfacing may be performed in a hospital, an outpatient surgery center or a surgeon's office-based facility. For cost containment and convenience, laser resurfacing is usually done on an outpatient basis. For the more extensive resurfacing procedures or for resurfacing combined with other surgical procedures, you may be admitted to a hospital or a recovery center.

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When can I return home and resume normal activities?

Laser skin resurfacing procedures are typically done on an outpatient basis, which means there is no overnight hospital stay required and you can return home after your procedure. Be sure to make arrangements for someone to drive to you home after your procedure, because you will be recovering from the effects of local or general anesthesia and any sedatives your surgeon may have given you. On some occasions, your surgeon may recommend an overnight hospital stay if you have had a very extensive procedure, or combined your laser skin resurfacing with other procedures.

You should allow yourself seven to ten days before returning to normal physical activity. During this period you may have facial bandages and be required to apply ice packs or ointments to your treated areas. Any scabbing or flaking of the skin is usually present during this ten-day period; so many patients choose to stay home. After this ten-day period most patients are able to return to their normal activities. However, your surgeon will recommend that you avoid exposure to the sun for some time after this period. If you must be outside for prolonged periods of time, it is recommended that you wear hats that shade your face and wear sunscreen lotions with an SBF of 15 or higher.

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How do I prepare for facial laser skin resurfacing?

During your initial consultation, your surgeon will discuss the changes that you would like to make to your appearance. Since the appearance of your face is a matter of personal perception and preference, you will need to discuss your concerns in detail so your surgeon can determine the appropriate alternatives. A complete health history will be discussed with your surgeon at this time. Specifically, the surgeon may want to know if you have ever taken Accutane, birth control pills, or if you have ever had blotchy pigmentation with pregnancy or sun exposure. Knowledge of any history of cold sores, bleeding problems, infectious diseases and a tendency towards scarring should be brought to the surgeon's attention at this time.
Once your health history is reviewed, your surgeon will assess and evaluate your skin. Specific instructions to assist you in preparing for this procedure will be given to you after the health history and physical is complete. Your experience will be much smoother if you remain compliant with your surgeon's instructions.

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What precautions are necessary during recovery?

In most cases you will experience some mild swelling and discomfort immediately following your procedure. The use of ice packs and medication will minimize the feeling of discomfort. When your laser skin resurfacing procedure is complete, your surgeon may apply creams or ointments to your skin until it is healed. Some surgeons will choose to place a bandage over the treated areas to protect them during the five to ten days of your recovery. After this period your surgeon will remove the bandage and may apply a thin layer of ointment to your skin. At this time your surgeon will provide you with specific instructions about how to wash and care for your treated skin. In the days immediately following your procedure, you may notice that some small crusts or flakes have developed on your treated area. It's important not to pick these flakes off because it may leave scars. They normally will disappear by themselves after about 10 days.

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What are the possible complications after facial laser skin resurfacing?

As with any surgical procedure, laser skin resurfacing has some potential risks and complications that you should be aware of. Complications tend to be minimal and infrequent when this procedure is performed by an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon. Potential risks associated with this procedure include burns, scarring and noticeable lightening or darkening of the skin. Laser resurfacing also has the potential to activate herpes infections and, in rare cases, other types of infections. If your healing is abnormal or very slow, or you show greater than usual scarring, additional corrective treatments may be required. It is always important to be informed about the possible complications before any surgery. Be sure to discuss any concerns you may have with your surgeon.

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What results can I expect after facial laser skin resurfacing?

In the weeks immediately following laser skin resurfacing, your skin will normally remain bright pink or red. Your surgeon may prescribe medication so this color will subside more quickly. The pinkness in your skin color can last to some degree for up to six months. However, most women are able to apply makeup after two weeks so the pinkness is less noticeable. In rare cases, your skin may be too sensitive to wear makeup. If this happens, ask your surgeon if he or she can recommend an alternative type of makeup that may not cause your skin to react. You will want to protect your skin's treated areas from the sun for several months following your procedure until your skin color has returned to normal. Using sun protection lotions will help you maintain the positive results you have achieved with laser skin resurfacing, and help you avoid any new damage to your skin.

If you must be in the sun, wear hats that will shade your face and use sun block lotions with an SBF of 15 or higher. If laser skin resurfacing was performed in the areas around your eyes, wear high-quality sunglasses with UVA and 100% UVB filters. Final results from laser skin resurfacing treatments may take several months. However, once the pinkness fades away, most women notice dramatic improvements in the smoothness and fresh feel of their skin. Though your results will be long lasting, they may not be permanent. In the years following your treatment, you may still develop the lines and wrinkles that result from aging and natural facial movements. Laser skin resurfacing treatments can usually be repeated throughout your lifetime. However, by taking basic measures to protect your skin, you should be able to make the results you achieve through your initial treatment last for many years.

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Choosing the right surgeon

To obtain further information regarding ear surgery, we advise you to consult with a qualified and experienced board-certified plastic surgeon. Regardless of the type of procedure you are considering, it is crucial to choose the right surgeon for your individual goals. To receive a complimentary consultation with a specialist in your area, simply fill out our Online Referral Form or call Toll Free 800.434.6760.


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