Laser Skin Resurfacing
The development of laser technology is one of the most exciting and innovative scientific achievement to have come along in the past few decades. The principles of the laser were originally presented by Albert Einstein in the early 1900’s. Since that time, scientists have developed several types of lasers which are used for a variety of purposes. One of the most recent is the ultrapulse carbon dioxide (CO2) laser that is used to treat sun-damaged skin, facial wrinkles and scars in a procedure called laser skin resurfacing.
The word “laser” is an acronym which stands for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation or light that is produced in a certain way. A surgical laser such as the CO2 laser is a beam of light capable of removing unwanted tissue. These lasers vaporize skin cells by emitting bursts of radiation that are absorbed by water in these cells. Skin imperfections are rapidly and accurately treated one layer at a time without bleeding, while the underlying skin tissue is preserved. As a result of this treatment, the patient is left with a more natural looking skin.
Prior To Procedure
Prior to surgery, Dr. Graper and the patient discuss the goals for facial improvement. After determining the most appropriate procedure to use, Dr. Graper fully describes the procedure, what results can realistically be expected and what it will cost.
Laser resurfacing is usually performed in Dr. Grapers office. A local anesthetic is given to ensure that the patient is comfortable throughout the procedure. The area is cleansed and draped. Dr. Graper directs the laser beam toward the patient’s skin imperfection; the laser quickly and accurately vaporizes layers of skin just four or five cells in thickness.
In most cases, only one treatment is needed. The initial redness fades in a few weeks to a light pink which can be camouflaged with cosmetics. The discoloration usually disappears in one to three months. The goal of laser resurfacing is to enhance facial appearance. Expectations by the patient must be realistic, and results should be anticipated as improvements rather than total corrections. Results of the surgery depend on many factors such as the size, shape and location of the imperfection and the patient’s heredity, age and general skin condition.
There is little pain connected with this surgery and pain medication is usually not indicated following the procedure. Complications following laser resurfacing are rare; however, there are certain inherent risks connected with every surgical procedure which should be discussed with the physician. Patients can minimize complications by carefully following the directions given by Dr. Graper.