Laser Skin Resurfacing is a revolutionary new way to improve facial wrinkles, sun-damaged skin, lip creases, and acne scarring.
A laser is an instrument that generates an intense, high energy, uniformed, single color, beam of light. We are all familiar with the red laser seen on numerous science fiction shows. With the use of a sophisticated lens, this beam can be focused to a point smaller than the tip of a hair. The physician then adjusts the energy level and directs the beam at the skin. The beam penetrates the skin to a determined depth thus eliminating damage to the surrounding tissue. The laser heats the tissue and vaporizes the cells directly. This vaporization causes the skin and collagen to shrink and thus the wrinkles decrease, leaving a more natural and even-colored skin. The skin imperfections are quickly and accurately treated, layer-by-layer, without bleeding. This may sound a bit complicated but the procedure is simple and straightforward.
This method can be used in place of chemical peels and dermabrasion. The depth of the laser can be controlled much better than with chemicals because one is using energy rather than chemicals to do the work. Laser skin resurfacing produces a much less inflammatory response than chemical peels; therefore, there is less redness, swelling, bruising, and scarring with this procedure. Because the depth of the beam is so controlled, this fast treatment preserves the surrounding skin tissues. Thus, the patient has a significantly shorter healing time and less pain. The advantages over dermabrasion are no bleeding, no postoperative crusting, and essentially no pain.
Laser surgery is safely performed as an outpatient procedure in the physician's office. Your physician may pretreat your skin with Glycolic Facials, Retin-A, or hydroquinones. These will help improve your result and minimize complications. A local anesthetic is used for comfort. Surgical time is less than one hour except if large areas, like the entire face, are being done.
After the procedure, you may experience redness and swelling of the areas, which will gradually improve. A moisturizer or antibiotic cream will be applied to the areas to expedite healing.
Complications from the procedure are uncommon. One may experience lighter or darker skin in the treated area. This is usually temporary and can be treated with medications. Some skin conditions may be affected by the laser treatment, such as fever blisters; however, this too is temporary. Unsightly scarring is extremely rare, as well as an infection.
There are other lasers that selectively react with certain cells in the skin and blood vessels. These lasers can be used to improve spider veins, birthmarks, hemangiomas, port wine stains, tattoos, scars, and sometimes stretch marks. Also, this method can be combined with a Facelift and Eyelid Surgery. The physician can remove the excess fat from the lower eyelids by going behind the lower eyelid. Combining this with laser resurfacing of the lower eyelid skin, a younger, more youthful appearance of the eyes can be obtained without the external scar.
Source from Robert W. DeConti, M.D. F.A.C.S, Richmond, VA