Facial Resurfacing: The Procedure

Facial resurfacing is a popular laser cosmetic surgery for those wishing to look years younger by removing or reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the face. With the help of a CO2 laser, facial resurfacing, also known as a laser peel, can help remove damaged or wrinkled skin. The procedure is most commonly used around the eyes and the mouth, though it is also effective for treating areas of uneven pigmentation and facial scars. In addition, facial resurfacing can be used in specific areas on the face, or it can be used on the entire face. The procedure can be done as a standalone treatment, or it can be used in conjunction with eyelid surgery or facelifts.

How it Works

Laser facial resurfacing is done by vaporizing the upper layers of the damaged skin with a beam of laser energy. This beam is controlled at specific levels of concentration. Laser resurfacing is more precise than other methods of resurfacing and results in less bleeding and discomfort following the operation.

Laser resurfacing helps make the skin look younger by stripping away the outer layer of damaged skin. This allows new cells to form during the healing process. These new cells result in skin that is tighter, smoother, and younger looking. Laser resurfacing can be limited to just superficial or medium resurfacing, or it can go deeper for more problematic wrinkles and lines. Generally, the more aggressive the procedure, the longer the recovery time will be. Lighter treatments result in shorter recovery times, but may require several treatments to get the desired effect.

Complications and Risks

When performed by an experienced and qualified surgeon, there are generally very few complications associated with facial resurfacing. In addition, any complications that do occur are minor. Nonetheless, there is always a chance of complications when undergoing any surgery. With laser facial resurfacing, you may experience lightening of darker skin, burns, or scarring. Laser resurfacing can also activate the herpes virus in the form of cold sores or other types of infection. For these reasons, it is very important to take the time to find a doctor who is skilled and experienced in laser facial resurfacing.

What to Look for In a Surgeon

When looking for a qualified surgeon to complete your laser facial resurfacing, there are a number of factors to consider. First of all, check to see if the doctor is allowed to perform the procedure at your local hospital. Even if the procedure will take place in the doctor's office, the fact that he or she is allowed to use the hospital's equipment means that the doctor has been approved by the institution's experts. This increases the likelihood that your doctor is skilled a laser facial resurfacing.

You should also only select a doctor that is willing to be frank and honest with you about the procedure. In addition, you need to feel comfortable talking openly with the doctor. The doctor should be clear about the results you should expect to receive and not give you a false sense of hope that your skin will look exactly as it did when you were 20 years old. Be sure to also tell your doctor of any abnormal skin conditions you may have been diagnosed with in the past or any past or present medication you are taking. These factors can have an impact on the outcome of your procedure.

Preparing for Surgery

Keep in mind that laser facial resurfacing can be quite expensive and is usually not covered by medial insurance. Therefore, part of preparing for surgery is saving the money up for the procedure. In addition, your doctor may ask you to take certain steps to prepare your skin for the surgery, such as cleansing it for several days leading up to the surgery with special cleaning solutions.

You will also need to make plans for someone to drive you home following the surgery. During the procedure, you will be sedated or given tranquilizers. Therefore, you will be in no condition to drive home afterward. You should also familiarize yourself with the location of the procedure. It may be performed at a hospital, in the surgeon's office, or at an outpatient surgery center. Be sure to have all necessary paperwork in order at the location of your surgery so you are not dealing with last minute headaches on the day of the procedure.

Being prepared and understanding the procedure and what to expect is the key to successful laser facial resurfacing. Be sure to learn as much as possible beforehand and you will be much happier with the results when the procedure is complete.