Carbon Dioxide Laser Resurfacing
How does it work?
Carbon dioxide lasers have been in use to treat different benign and malignant skin conditions for many years. A new generation of carbon dioxide lasers removes thin layers of skin in a very precise manner with minimal heat damage to the surrounding structures. These lasers have been successfully used to treat wrinkles and scars, as well as other benign skin growths such as warts, birthmarks, enlarged oil glands on the nose, and other skin conditions. The ability to rejuvenate sun-damaged, wrinkled skin has been revolutionized by this new technology that is rapidly progressing and evolving.
What to expect during and after the procedure?
In general, carbon dioxide laser resurfacing is performed on an outpatient basis. The areas to be treated are numbed with a local anesthetic. Wrinkles around the eyes, mouth, or forehead may be treated individually, or a full-face laser resurfacing may be performed. A partial-face laser resurfacing takes 30 to 45 minutes, and the full-face treatment takes 1½ to 2 hours.
Patients are advised to avoid sun exposure for four weeks before their laser treatment and to liberally apply sunscreens pre- and post-procedure.
What are the possible side effects?
Side effects such as acne flare, hyper and hypo pigmentation or even swelling are all possible. It all depends on your skin condition and the area to be treated. Consult your doctor for better understanding of the expected results and possible side effects.
Patients are encouraged to sleep on an extra pillow at night to help reduce the swelling. Ice pack application is also helpful in the first 24 to 48 hours.
Cessation of smoking is highly recommended because of its documented harmful effects on the healing process.
How is the skin cared for afterwards?
Daily broad-spectrum sunscreen that is specifically formulated for use on the face with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 should be used. Liberal moisturizer application is also recommended after healing.