Laser resurfacing is a relatively new treatment for reducing facial wrinkles and skin irregularities. The procedure of Laser facial resurfacing has been an effective treatment for acne scars. Also, laser facial resurfacing can help combat damaged skin from sun exposure.
This technique directs short, concentrated pulsating beams of light at irregular skin. Laser skin resurfacing removes skin very precisely, layer by layer, resulting in fewer problems with hypopigmentation (lightening of skin). This popular procedure is known by several other names, including lasabrasion, laser peel or laser vaporization.
Who Is a Good Candidate For Laser Resurfacing?
If you have fine lines or wrinkles around or under the eyes, the forehead, the mouth, or scars from acne, non-responsive skin after a facelift, then you may be an ideal candidate for laser skin resurfacing. Laser resurfacing of the skin, has also been an important contribution to the treatment of irregular pigmentation, and sometimes may reverse the the early precancerous conditions of the skin.
If you have active acne or if you have very dark skin, you are not a candidate. This technique is also not recommended for stretch marks.
What is the cost of Laser Skin Resurfacing?
The cost of laser skin resurfacing varies. Resurfacing of the entire face is approximately $4000.00 US, including most of the preoperative medications. The breakdown of cost would include the surgeon’s fee, operating room, anesthesia, pre-operative and post operative consultations, and several necessary ointments and creams.
How Does Laser Skin Resurfacing Work?
The two types of lasers most commonly used in laser resurfacing are carbon dioxide (CO2) and erbium. Each laser vaporizes superficial, damaged skin cells and both reduce the risk for the patient because they limit the amount of heat absorbed by the skin.
CO2 Laser Resurfacing
This method has been used for years to treat different skin conditions including wrinkles, scars, warts, birthmarks, enlarged oil glands on the nose (rhinophyma), skin cancer and other conditions.
The newest version of the CO2 laser resurfacing uses very short pulsed light energy (ultrapulsed) or continuous light beams that are delivered in a scanning pattern to very precisely remove thin layers of skin with minimal heat damage to the surrounding structures. Recovery time from the procedure is up to two weeks.
Patients should seek out surgeons with documented training and experience in laser skin resurfacing.
Erbium Laser Resurfacing
Erbium laser resurfacing is designed to remove superficial and moderately deep lines and wrinkles on the face hands, neck, or chest. One of the benefits of erbium laser resurfacing is minimal burning of surrounding tissue. This laser causes minimal side effects, such as swelling, bruising and redness, so your recovery time should be more rapid than with CO2 laser resurfacing – one week in most cases.
If you have a darker skin tone, erbium laser resurfacing may work better for you. Your doctor will determine which laser is best for you after he or she fully evaluates your medical history, current physical condition, and desired results.
What Can Be Expected During Laser Resurfacing?
Both erbium and CO2 laser resurfacing are performed on an outpatient basis, using local anesthesia (pain relief at the site of the procedure) in combination with orally- or intravenously-administered sedative medications.
Wrinkles around the eyes, mouth or forehead may be treated individually, or a full-face laserabrasion may be performed.
The areas to be treated are numbed with a local anesthetic. General anesthesia may be used when the entire face is treated. A partial-face laserabrasion takes 30-45 minutes and the full-face treatment takes 1-1/2 to 2 hours.