Why would I consider laser resurfacing?
Table of Contents
- Why would I consider laser resurfacing?
- Who benefits?
- How is it done?
- What type of lasers are used?
- What can I expect?
- How long does it take to recover?
- What complications can occur?
- What other procedures are often performed at the same time?
- What does it cost and will private insurance help?
- Where can I get more information?
You would consider laser resurfacing typically to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation from sun exposure and acne scarring. It is a Perth cosmetic surgery procedure where laser is used as a tool to resurface the skin and bring about desirable, improved changes in the skin.
If you have acne scarring, where the active acne disease has burnt out, or if you wish to remedy aging changes in your skin, as described in the previous section.
Pre-treatment skin care is a controversial subject. Some surgeons do support the use of this, however I have personally not found it to make any difference and hence, I do not use it.
Any person with a history of cold sores will need to go on anti-viral medications at the time of the surgery to ensure that there is not an outbreak of the cold sores.
In addition, any person who has taken Roaccutane should not undergo laser treatment for approximately one year, as this will interfere with the healing process.
How is it done?
Laser stands for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Albert Einstein first described the theory of a laser in 1917 and the first practical laser was produced in 1960.
The procedure can be performed under local anaesthetic for a small area, or light general anaesthetic day surgery if a whole face is to be treated.
The laser beam provides energy to the target tissue that then heats up the target tissue to obtain the desired result.
The target tissue for the C02 and Erbium Laser is water. The skin has a very high water content – when the energy hits the skin it destroys the skin’s surface cells, therefore resurfacing.
Heating of the underlying collagen also occurs in the skin- resulting in shrinking and tightening of the skin
What type of lasers are used?
The types of lasers used for laser resurfacing are:
- C02 (Carbon Dioxide) Laser
- Erbium Laser
My preference is to use the latter as I have found it to be effective, but more gentle.
What can I expect?
You are typically admitted on the day of surgery fasted from the night before. Laser surgery is typically performed as day surgery.
How long does it take to recover?
A patient should plan for approximately one to two weeks off work, as this is the time period it will take for the face to heal.
There are two schools of thought on post-operative care that are basically the open and closed methods:
- Open method | involves the use of emollient applied to the face every four hours and Vaseline at night. In this way the patient is able to keep the facial wounds clean and should a complication arise, it will be seen very early.
- Closed method | dressings are used and are kept in place for several days at a time.
My preference is to use the open method.
Specific post-laser skin care products are generally used. Maintenance skin care can be continued as well as the use of make-up after approximately one to two weeks.
Erythema, or redness, will be present for approximately two to three months, this is usually less with the Erbium Laser compared to the C02 Laser. This redness not usually a problem as it is easily covered with make-up – part of the post-operative care of the laser patient involves cover up make-up techniques.
What complications can occur?
Although every endeavour is made to avoid complications, sometimes they do occur and it does not necessarily imply an error has occured. Complications can be related to the anaesthetic or the surgery.
Surgical complications can include: bleeding and bruising, swelling and infection, cold sores, delayed healing and possible scarring.
Changes in pigmentation can also occur. These can either result in increased paleness of the skin or possible increased pigmentation of the skin. Slight paleness to the skin can be a desirable result in a patient who has a lot of sun damaged pigmented skin. Hyperpigmentation or increased pigment is usually temporary and typically will respond to topical skin agents. Patients with darker type skins are more prone to this problem.
Although this list indicates some examples of complications, surgery should not be undertaken until this has been discussed fully with the surgeon.
What other procedures are often performed at the same time?
Laser resurfacing can be used as a sole treatment or it can be used in combination with other surgical procedures.
What does it cost and will private insurance help?
Exact costing is highly variable depending on your history and circumstances, the hospital used and specifics of the procedure.
Some private health insurance companies in Australia will assist with bed and theatre fees even on purely cosmetic procedures.
If a procedure can be given an item number then rebates may apply.
A cost guide can be requested from my office on +61 8 9485 1333, some of the individual cost factors can be estimated with more information. Alternatively, we can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
Where can I get more information?
If you have specific questions, or wish more information on specific procedures, please don"t hesitate to contact my office for a complimentary appointment with my nurse / patient liaison officer.