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Laser resurfacing makes it possible to remove a lifetime of sun damage and blemishes from your skin. Healthy skin and a more youthful appearance can be restored in a safe comfortable office procedure. The C02 laser was the first resurfacing laser.
How Laser Resurfacing Renews Your Skin
First, the resurfacing laser will remove all the epidermal damage caused by sun and aging. With extreme precision the laser removes keratoses, premalignant lesions, age spots, and epidermal blemishes.
Second, the upper dermis is sculpted smooth by the laser. Deeper wrinkles are reduced or eliminated. Acne scars are reduced and re-contoured. New epidermis will grow from cells within the follicles that have never been exposed to the sun’s damage. This takes just four to five days. Thus, your skin is literally “renewed.”
Third, the laser stimulates the growth of healthy new collagen and elastin fibers within the skin. This will continue for six months after resurfacing. During this time the skin will continue to improve. Fifteen to twenty percent firming can be achieved. Loose eyelids and lax skin is tightened. Resilience and elasticity are restored. Any remaining wrinkles will continue to improve for over six months.
CO2 Laser Resurfacing Procedure
The CO2 Laser allows us to use a high-energy beam to vaporize scars, lines, wrinkles and other skin imperfections, layer by layer. The laser affords a level of precision, control and accuracy that is not available by other methods. The laser can only be used up to the jaw line because of difficulties in healing if used on the skin of the neck. (There are other treatments available to address the neck).
This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, under intravenous sedation (“twilight sleep”). Patients are discharged to a responsible party. You cannot drive yourself home after treatment.
Preparing for Laser Skin Resurfacing
Please have the supplies listed below on-hand before your laser resurfacing. They will assist in making your recovery more comfortable:
(For hand washing)
(Non-sterile large 4><4Is; we will provide these for you)
Benadryl Allergy, 25mg
(If restless or itching, you may take two, then one every four hours thereafter. Benadryl may make you sleepy, so take with caution.)
Extra Strength Tylenol
(May take two every four hours as needed for pain)
Hydrocortisone 1% Cream
(May be used for itching or discomfort only as directed by your physician.)
(We will call you in an antibiotic prior to your surgery day to be taken when you get home from your procedure. Please follow all medication instructions!)
(This is an antiviral agent which you will start taking the day of surgery. It is normally taken as 5OOmg twice a day starting the day before surgery and continued twice a day for the following six days.)
(A pain medication we will call in for you prior to your surgery. It should be taken no more than every six hours after surgery as needed for pain. Most patients use Vicodin only the first couple of days and then are quite comfortable taking Extra Strength Tylenol for discomfort thereafter.)
(May be used as needed in the eyes to rinse exudates and soothe eyes while swollen and not closing well we will provide to you.)
(A post-resurfacing gel especially formulated to relieve post-operatively discomfort and minimize redness. This will be provided by our office the day of surgery.)
(To be used if swallowing is a problem)
(For drinking, at least 640z. per day. Drinking at least 8-10 eight oz. bottled water per day will enhance the healing process by replacing fluids lost from oozing and as a natural diuretic to help decrease swelling.)
Small – Water Mist Bottle
(To be filled with the same cold vinegar and water solution used to soak resurfaced areas. Mist resurfaced areas as needed to relieve burning sensation between soaks.)
(It is important to keep your mind occupied during the healing process.)
(With button-up fronts or large opening to slip over your head easily)
(Foods low in sodium and high in nutritional value. Foods high in sodium could put you at risk for unnecessary swelling and discomfort. Foods high in nutritional value will provide much needed vitamins, complex carbohydrates and protein. A diet high in nutritional value will promote healing)
(To be taken orally post laser resurfacing) A. 400 IU twice a day starting the day after surgery for patients who are not having a Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery). B. 400 IU twice a day staring three days after for patient who are also having a Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery).
Recovery from CO2 Laser Resurfacing
The exfoliation of skin requires new skin to grow from the deeper layers. During the first two weeks, a significant amount of redness and weeping of the skin can be expected. An ointment is applied during the first 7 to 10 days to keep the skin moist. Patients must refrain from wearing make-up during the first two weeks. The skin may continue to show signs of pink or redness for several weeks following surgery. Our esthetician will assist you in helping to prepare the skin for treatment as well as applying camouflage make-up during the second week. Swelling may also occur and should resolve within the first couple of weeks. The skin heals extremely well over time and sun exposure should be avoided during the first six weeks following treatment. More Info.
Facial Skin Resurfacing FAQ’s
Q: How does it work?
A: CO2 laser produces pulses of infrared light lasting only thousandths of a second each. These pulses vaporize micro-thin layers of skin without charring it. By successively treating and wiping the skin we can assess our laser peeling as it smoothes, tightens and clears the skin. As the new outer layer of skin grows, the body’s natural healing mechanism stimulates new collagen formation. The result is smoother, healthier looking skin with a natural, youthful glow and fewer wrinkles and scars.
Q: What parts of my face can you resurface?
A: Any part of the face can be resurfaced. Most patients want full face, peri-oral (around the mouth), or peri-orbital (around the eyes) resurfacing; or treatment of traumatic or acne scars.
Q: Am I awake during the procedure?
A: For small procedures you are fully awake; we can give you a mild, oral sedative to relax you, if you wish. For full face resurfacing our board-certified anesthesiologist will give you IV sedation. This relaxes you while we inject the local anesthetic; allows you to be awake without pain during the procedure; and leaves you with little or no memory of the procedure. Such monitored conscious sedation is commonly used for out-patient surgeries.
Q: Does it hurt?
A: No. Discomfort is usually minor both during the procedure and throughout your recovery phase.
Q: Where is the procedure performed?
A: In-office with Dr. Clariday. We have equipment for anesthesia, the procedure and patient care to use as necessary. You will be at our office generally from 1 to 3 hours depending on the sites treated.
What to expect after the surgery
A: Immediately following the surgery, the technician will apply a dressing to your skin. Swelling and “crusting” of the skin are normal. Ointments will keep the supple and will be applied for ten days following the surgery. The redness of the skin that persists after the initial healing phase ill usually fade in about 4 to 6 weeks. Avoidance of extremes in temperature and any activities that would cause stress to the healing skin should be avoided. Following a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle is strongly recommended. It is imperative that you follow the postoperative instructions to the letter.
Q: Will I be uncomfortable afterwards?
A: Usually not. We instruct you on keeping your face moist and pain-free during the post-op period. It is important to follow the printed aftercare instructions. This will minimize your risk for infection and ensure the shortest healing time.
Q: When can I go back to work?
A: How long will I be red? You will have new surface skin in 7 to 10 days. Redness after that can be covered by a special tinted make-up. In 30 to 60 days most redness is gone. Your new skin will be very sensitive to ultra-violet light and you must avoid sun exposure until fully healed. You need to cover your skin, wear a hat and use a good sun screen if your have to go outdoors.
Q: What about skin color and resurfacing?
A: People with light and medium complexions are the best candidates. Darker complexions require greater caution to prevent temporary darkening (hyperpigmentation) afterwards.
Q: How much improvement will I get?
A: Most patients see between 50 and 80% improvement in wrinkles, coloring and scars. When done for aging skin it typically makes someone look like they did 10 to 15 years earlier.
Q: How long does it last?
A: With good skin care (sunscreens, skin-care products, moderation in sun-exposure, etc.) improvement will last for years. Remember: the clock starts again after your procedure – do your best to preserve your improvement!
Q: What does it cost; will insurance cover it?
A: Full Face Resurfacing with Anesthesia cost $2475 (inclusive of anesthesiologist, supplies and follow-up visits) for full-face. Peri-Orbital Resurfacing (Upper or Lower Eye Lid) may be added to Blepharoplasty treatments for an additional fee. Fees are subject to change and not reimbursable by insurance.
Q: How do I get started?
A: Contact our office and schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Clariday to discuss your specific needs. He will address your concerns, answer your questions, and recommend the best treatment option for you. Before and after photos of satisfied patients are available, to show you the beautiful skin that is possible, no matter what your age or skin condition may be.