Here is some information on laser skin resurfacing as well as before and after photos and costs to give you an idea of what to expect from this procedure:
The aesthetic CO2 laser is a revolutionary technology for skin resurfacing. The dermatologist will use the laser like an artist’s brush to smooth fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. Deep laugh and frown lines can be softened. The laser will also improve scars from acne, trauma, surgery or disease. In addition this laser has the ability to make stretch marks less noticeable. It is also used after facelifts or eyelid surgery to smooth any fine lines that remain and to make the skin like younger skin. The skin is revitalized, transformed.
The CO2 laser has several advantages over a chemical peel and dermabrasion. There is no blood loss and the risk of scarring is minimal. The doctor has the ability to precisely control the depth of skin removal which cannot be said of other forms of exfoliation.
The treatment is performed in the doctor’s office. The most uncomfortable part of the treatment is the local anesthesia used to numb the skin. There may be brief periods of discomfort during the procedure. Healing after skin laser resurfacing takes about 7-10 days. After that the skin can look light pink to red for up to 16 weeks, but this is easily covered with make-up.
Strict sun avoidance and sunscreen use is required during this 12 week period. One to three sessions are required depending on the look you are trying to achieve. If multiple sessions are desired, you must wait eight weeks between each one.
Fees depend on the extent and complexity of the procedure. This treatment is not usually covered by insurance since it is considered cosmetic.
Side Effects of Laser Skin Resurfacing
The first 7-10 days after the laser surgery the skin will be red and swollen. The skin will also burn and weep. A pink color of the skin can persist for up to 12 weeks, but as we mentioned above this can be camouflaged with make-up.
The most common side effect after laser surgery is brown discoloration of the skin. This is usually reversible but can rarely be permanent. This side effect usually occurs only in those who have had sun exposure after treatment and who are not compulsively using sunscreen SPF 25 or higher.
If you get cold sores, laser surgery can cause them to flare. Since most people have been exposed to cold sores, all patients must take a prescription medication to prevent a flare up.
Precautions For Laser Resurfacing
If you have any of the following problems, you need to let the doctor know so precautions can be taken:
* Facial Warts
* Prior bad reaction to a peel or dermabrasion
* Past herpes simplex (cold sores)
* If you have a history of sun allergies
* Recent radiation treatment for cancer
* If you form keloid or hypertrophic scars (thick scars)
* If you are now pregnant or breast feeding
* Accutane use within the past 2 years
* Sunburn or significant sun exposure in the last two days
* Surgery or cryosurgery within the last six weeks to the area that you plan to have treated
What to Do Prior to Laser Surgery:
Please note that the following are generally accepted directions. Your doctor’s instructions may differ. Follow your doctor’s orders.
Each night before you go to bed, starting at least two weeks before your surgery, you need to apply Retin-A cream or Cellex-C to the entire face and to any other areas that will be treated. Each morning apply alpha hydroxyacid lotion to the same areas.
Starting one week before the surgery, take Vitamin C, 500 mg three times a day with meals and take a multivitamin each day.
At least three to four weeks before your treatment, stop using exfoliating sponges. All forms of hair removal should be stopped as well.
Two days before laser skin resurfacing you must start taking acyclovir 400 mg, 2 times per day or famciclovir 500 mg, 2 times per day.
Arrive at your doctor’s office with a fully cleansed face. No cologne, after shave, or cosmetics should be applied. Also try to avoid shaving the day of your surgery.Have only clear liquids to drink after midnight on the day of your surgery. If your surgery is in the afternoon you may have a light breakfast.
How the Laser Surgery is Performed:
First, the doctor or his assistant will review the possible side effects of laser surgery with you, answer questions, and give you a consent form to sign.
Nerve blocks may be performed by inserting a needle into the areas of the skin where the nerves enter the face. The skin will be anesthetized using the same needle. This is the most uncomfortable part of the procedure.
Next the skin will be resurfaced using the laser. This is uncomfortable at times and more anesthesia may have to be administrated during the procedure.
Cool compresses will then be applied followed by Polysporin. During this time the skin will begin to feel better.
Low resolution unretouched photographs of laser surgery of the upper lip. Notice the redness; this can persist for several months.
Low resolution unretouched photographs of laser surgery of the nose for treatment of rhinophyma. Two sessions were required.
Low resolution unretouched photographs of SilkTouch laser surgery of the mouth area.
Low resolution unretouched photographs of laser surgery of the face from the eyes down to the jaw line.
Some General Laser Skin Resurfacing Costs
|Upper lip||Excellent for removing lines on the upper, stops lip stick bleeding||$600.00|
|Upper and lower lips, frown lines||Most common area requested with uniform good to outstanding results||$1200.00|
|Crows feet, upper and lower eyelids||Second most common area requested||$1200.00|
|Nose for rhyniophyma||Usually covered by insurance||$1200.00|
|Normal nose and between eyebrows||Known as the glabella area, treats frown lines above the nose||$600.00|
|Full face||Gives best overall results||$3000.00|
|Full face and anterior neck TCA peel||Same as above plus rejuvenates neck skin||$3300.00|