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.
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 infection.
There are other lasers which 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.
Robert W. DeConti,
M.D. F.A.C.S, Richmond, VA
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