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Laser skin resurfacing is a cosmetic procedure used to treat wrinkles and skin irregularities, typically on the face. It utilizes concentrated light beams aimed at the skin and pulsing in a short pattern to burn away the layers of skin. This procedure is sometimes called a laser peel or lasabraision.
Types of Laser Skin Resurfacing
There are two main types of laser skin resurfacing currently being used by cosmetic surgeons. CO2 laser resurfacing uses ultrapulsed, or short pulsed, light energy and scans the area to remove the skin's layers. It can be used on most facial abnormalities, including enlarged glands, skin cancers, warts, scars, birthmarks, and wrinkles. It works best on abnormalities that are somewhat superficial.
Erbium laser resurfacing is used for deeper wrinkles on the face and other areas of the body. This technique causes fewer side effects than the CO2 laser and also has a shorter recovery time. Those treated with a CO2 laser typically have a two-week recovery time, while the erbium laser requires only one week of recovery time.
The procedure is typically the same no matter what type of laser is used. Laser skin resurfacing is an out patient procedure and begins with local anesthesia to block the pain. Some doctors will administer sedatives as well to keep you calm during the procedure. A full-face treatment takes between an hour and a half and two hours, while a partial procedure is done in 45 minutes or less.
Recovery takes between one and three weeks. Most patients are able to return to their normal activities as soon as their pain allows, but the treated area will be red and tender for a few weeks after treatment. Be prepared for the fact that the treated area will both look and feel like a moderate sunburn after treatment, complete with peeling skin, itching, and burning sensations. This is normal, and it will fade with time.
Laser skin resurfacing burns away the damaged skin layers, so it does create a slight wound. The area that is treated will be covered with a dressing immediately after the procedure. This will be removed within three days of the procedure in most cases. After this, patients will cleanse the area several times a day with a saline solution, and then cover it with an ointment as prescribed by the doctor. This prevents any unsightly scabs from forming. After 21 days at most, the area should be healed.
Once the wound has healed, most patients notice a slight pink color to the skin. This is temporary, but it can last as long as six months, so most patients choose to wear a concealing makeup over the area. As long as the wound is healed this is fine.
As with all medical and cosmetic procedures, there is a chance of complications with laser skin resurfacing. Some patients will experience milia, which looks like small white bumps on the healing area. These can be gently removed with a damp towel.
Sometimes patients will have increased or decreased pigmentation in the area treated. This can be bleached or covered with makeup. If you have laser skin resurfacing near your mouth and have ever had a cold sore, it may come back. Anti viral medications can prevent this, but talk to your doctor first.
Some patients will have a bacterial infection as a result of the procedure. Some doctors will recommend a preventative antibiotic before and after treatment. This is particularly important for patients who have lowered immunities.
The treated area will swell after the procedure. If you sleep on an extra pillow, this can reduce the swelling. Ice can also be used to treat swelling. Scarring is possible, but not very common. Finding a skilled, highly qualified physician to perform the treatment will lessen the risk of scarring and other permanent side effects from the treatment.
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Amy Nutt - About the Author:
Professional and experienced plastic surgery doctors to help you with your needs. Visit us and find out more about Liposuction Surgery, Laser Skin Resurfacing breast lift augmentation and chin augmentation.
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