The pulsed laser efficiently removes wrinkles, acne scars, blemishes, growths, and sun- damaged skin blemishes. The laser allows the body to generate new skin and produce new collagen. The result is usually “years younger” skin.
Is laser skin resurfacing painful?
Most office treatments have little or any discomfort. Local anesthetic is often used for office resurfacing. Sedation by IV may be necessary for full-face treatments in order to reduce discomfort at the outer cheeks and temple regions. Most patients receive a pain reliever prescription to be used as needed however full-faced resurfacing may require prescription pain relievers for 12 to 72 hours after the procedure.
How does laser resurfacing work?
The laser unlocks your skin’s ability to regenerate itself. As a result, you may find skin like you had prior to wrinkle development. The laser precisely applies a specially selected therapeutic wavelength of laser energy to the damaged skin. The first pulse erases your outer-most damaged skin layer without injuring vital deeper skin structures. The second laser pulse precisely tightens and shrinks the aged and sun-damaged deeper collagen containing structures which causes wrinkling. More severely damaged skin areas may require or two more pulses.
How can skin rejuvenate after laser resurfacing?
It may surprise you to know your skin was genetically programmed to respond by regenerating and refreshing itself. The laser resurfaced areas are populated by fresh new undamaged skin surface cells which replace previous aged, sun-damaged or pigmented skin. Improvement probably will continue as the aged and sun-damaged deep collagen areas continue to regenerate and repair, three to six months after treatment.
How long might the improvement last?
No one can say for sure, but many laser physicians believe that you can expect the results to be long-lasting for several years. How long may depend on your unique skin type and upon your post-treatment skin care. Think of the laser as “turning back the clock” so to speak, so that your skin again resembles its fresher appearance of years past. Your new skin remains dynamic and alive and it should take many years before your skin appearance manages to catch up with where it was before your treatment. Much depends on how carefully you protect your new skin from damaging sun-exposure. You have a second chance at slowing down the sunlight-related aging process.
How does laser resurfacing compare with chemical facial peeling?
Laser resurfacing may reduce wrinkles more dramatically than superficial or medium depth chemical facial peels. Laser resurfacing avoids potential heart rhythm disturbances, phenol absorption to the system and system wide toxicity of deep phenol peels. Because laser resurfacing treats the skin a layer at a time, treatment depth can be precise to individual deep wrinkles and facial zones. Precise treatment depth should reduce the risk of tell-tale skin regimentation and scarring sometimes associated with deep phenol peels. On the other hand, deep phenol peel may be the only method of completely eliminating all wrinkles with a single treatment. Few physicians are skillful enough to safely and routinely perform deep phenol peel with complete wrinkle elimination.
How does laser resurfacing compare with a face lift?
Facelift surgery is an invasive procedure requiring deep facial dissection and is associated with bleeding, stitches, invasive healing by scarring, and bruising. Facelift surgery attempts to correct skin wrinkling and sagging by stretching the skin over the facial bones and muscles. On occasion this can produce an unnatural, taut and upward pulled appearance. Unlike laser resurfacing, facelift surgery does not directly treat the collagen-containing skin structures which actually contributed to the wrinkling. On the other hand, facelift surgery does correct sagging of major facial structures such as the cheeks, jowls, and neck tissues. Laser resurfacing will only moderately improve the jowl and cheek regions. If your major area of concern is sagging of these structures or sagging of the neck skin, you should consider facelift or neck lift surgery rather than laser resurfacing.
How long before I may return to work?
Depends on the individual and the procedure performed. Recovery time for laser resurfacing is usually 9 to 12 days. After resurfacing it is normal for the regenerating skin to weep and crust until the new skin has grown in. Dressing may be applied to aid skin regeneration. This healing and regenerating process takes approximately 9 days. Postponing or avoiding public contact during this time would be wise. Many patients feel slightly depressed and have second thoughts during this time but these feelings usually disappear as soon as the patient begins to see positive results of the procedure.
Usually about 9 days after the procedure, the new skin is pink but it gradually fades to a normal tone over 6 to 10 weeks. The temporary pinkness is easily covered by concealer and should not present any difficulties in social or work situations. It is important to wear sunscreen for several weeks after surgery to prevent sunburn or excess pigmentation of the sensitive new skin. You can expect a marked wrinkle reduction. Complete elimination of all wrinkles in a single session is not likely. Most patients are very happy with the results and notice that most wrinkles are completely eliminated or very markedly diminished.
How do you determine whether a person is a good candidate for laser resurfacing?
Good candidates for laser resurfacing include:
1. Medium complexion, the fairer the better.
2. No history of patient or family keloid history
3. No Accutane use.
4. No radiation to face.
5. Have realistic and specific goals and expectations.
6. Helps to have a stable family, marriage and social situation.
Cigarette smokers and heavy drinkers may not experience quite as good results.
Poor candidates for laser resurfacing include:
1. Persons with very dark skin.
2. Accutane use within the past year.
3. Keloid history in patient or family.
4. History of facial radiation.
5. Unrealistic goals or expectations.
6. Unstable marriage, family or social situation.
What is it like to have this treatment?
You will be prone in a comfortable chair in a friendly, reassuring and professional atmosphere. Because the major nerves have been blocked, you may expect little if any discomfort. Cool, moist sponges or protective shields are placed over your eyelids for protection. You are not required to remain perfectly still during the usual 20 to 60 minutes it takes, depending on which procedures you have selected to be performed. After resurfacing, dressings may be placed over the treated area to encourage rapid healing. Dressings may remain in place from 2 to 10 days. You will be given written post-laser instructions and any questions you may have will be carefully answered. You may wish to take a pain pill prior to leaving the office. You will be asked to return within 1 to 12 days to check that healing is proceeding well.
What about anesthesia?
Anesthesia depends mostly upon the procedure being performed. Most are performed in office and only require a local anesthetic. If a patient is very anxious, IV sedation is an option. With healthy patients, IV sedation is usually required only if having a full-face resurfacing. You do have choices and Dr. Levy will explain them to you.
What are the risks of surgery?
There are certain risks with any medical procedure. These may include scarring, too much or too little or blotchy skin pigmentation, infection, eyelid distortion or other problems. As you know, because of our unique bodies, no absolute guarantee of the final results can ever be given for any medical treatment. If you are a good candidate for laser resurfacing, be assured that it is unlikely that you will suffer any serious complications.
How much does laser resurfacing cost?
The personal satisfaction and long-lasting results you receive make laser resurfacing an outstanding cosmetic value. Fees may vary nationwide and also upon the areas treated. Please feel free to contact our office for details.
Will my insurance cover the cost?
Insurance does not cover costs of laser resurfacing. In cases where extremely droopy upper eyelid skin blocks your vision, removal of same may be covered by your health insurance or your Medicare policy.