With the development of medical laser technology approximately 25 years ago, the plastic surgery community began to explore ways of incorporating this new tool into ways of helping achieve better results in skin rejuvenation. The overall goal was to generate a way to reduce skin wrinkling by carefully removing the external wrinkled skin layer and allowing the body to naturally heal itself by producing a new and smoother appearing skin layer. This goal was accomplished because the laser targets the natural water located in our skin and it heats it to a level that causes a controlled destruction of the external skin layer. The technology has become refined to the point of being able to carefully control the depth of the skin that is treated and the amount of energy that is delivered by the laser to the skin layer. We feel that the current state of the art for laser skin resurfacing, is best delivered by the Erbium Laser. It is less painful, causes less inflammation and results in a faster healing time.
Who Is a Candidate for Laser Skin Resurfacing
The most likely candidates for this procedure have a long history of excess sun exposure. This and the natural aging process, has resulting in excessive premature wrinkling of the skin. The most affected areas are: The skin around the mouth, eyes and forehead.
The wrinkling in these individuals has progressed well beyond any improvement that can be done using less invasive methods. Laser resurfacing can also be very beneficial for those individuals that have significant scarring caused by acne.
The initial Consultation
A precise determination of the areas of concern must be appreciated. A detailed examination of the skin is performed, so as to determine the extent of wrinkling or scarring, the skin type of the candidate and the amount of improvement that can be realistically attained with laser skin resurfacing. During this consultation a individualized plan is formulated, that will hopefully attain the results that the physician and the patient desire.
Most patients must however go through a skin preparation period of about 1 month. This preparation phase will assist in conditioning the skin so that more rapid healing and recovery process occurs. In the 3,000 cases that I have performed, most patients are given a mild I.V. Sedation and then a local anesthetic is used to numb the areas to be treated. The procedure takes approximately 1 hour and particular attention is paid to problematic areas such as the skin around the mouth or eyes. Our fully trained staff then provides the necessary support and guidance for a full and rapid recovery. Most patients are socially presentable within 10 to 12 days after the procedure. The pain level will be between a 2 and 3 on a scale of 1 to 10.
The vast majority of our patients have been more than happy with their appearance after laser skin resurfacing and the results attained can be expected to last for approximately indefinitely. Potential complications are rare and the occurrence of problems is usually directly related to the experience of the laser surgeon. The most common problems would be facial scarring and a prolonged redness of the skin after treatment.