The word laser is an acronym, which stands for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A surgical laser, such as the CO2 laser, is a beam of light capable of removing unwanted tissue, such as scarred, lined, wrinkled, and otherwise imperfect skin. The laser vaporizes skin cells by emitting bursts of radiation that are absorbed by water in these cells. Laser light penetrates to a very precise, controlled depth, making the procedure safe and predictable while reducing the risk of scarring or pigmentation problems. Laser skin resurfacing is bloodless and is performed right here in our office, under light sedation. As a result of this treatment, you are left with more natural-looking skin.
As a person ages, their collagen production begins to decline which leads to the breakdown of the skins underlying support structure. Daily exposure to UV rays and other environmental elements can cause the skin to become discolored and premature wrinkles may emerge. Treatments with the CO2 Erbium YAG laser system will enhance the skin’s strength and elasticity. The skin will have a smoother, tighter texture, and pigmentation problems will begin to diminish.
The laser is used to reduce tiny wrinkles, acne scars, and other minor skin imperfections, especially around the mouth and eyes. It can improve sun-damaged and acne-scarred skin, problems that often cause concern to both men and women.
Laser resurfacing can be used as an alternative to chemical peel and dermabrasion. The benefits of using this technique are that there are less pain and a faster recovery time. In most cases, it is also less costly.
Dr. Urban utilizes two types of ablative lasers; a Fractional CO2 laser and an Erbium YAG laser. The CO2 laser can be used for deep resurfacing while the Erbium YAG laser is used for superficial rejuvenation.
The Epidermis, (the most outer layer of the body) is responsible for the look and health of the skin. It protects the body by continually working to renew itself by shedding dead skin cells and replacing them with new healthy cells. This renewal process slows down as we age. Due to this factor, the skin can become discolored causing an undesirable appearance and the texture of the skin can become dry and rough.
The Dermis, (the inner layer of the skin) is comprised of dense connective tissue containing collagen and elastin fibers that form a support structure for the skin’s shape, strength, and flexibility. Over time, degenerative alterations in the dermal layer can significantly reduce the amount of collagen and elastin in the skin. This causes the skin to become looser and thinner.
The fractionated CO2 laser is capable of treating mild to moderate wrinkles, fine lines, acne scars, sun damage, skin texture irregularities, and pigmented lesions.
The CO2 laser will direct a grid pattern of tiny pulses of light at the skin. Each pulse delivers a column of energy that can reach the skin’s dermal layer. Unlike 100% ablated CO2 lasers, a fractionated laser only resurfaces a predetermined portion (25-85%) of the skin surface. CO2 laser skin treatment stimulates a natural renewal process of the body’s own collagen. Also, because the laser beam has been fractionalized, small areas of untreated skin will be left between the treated spots. By strategically performing the procedure in this manner, the healing process is accelerated.
The Erbium YAG laser is capable of treating atrophic acne scars, photo-damaged skin lesions, mild to moderate facial wrinkles, and uneven pigment seborrheic keratosis. During the treatment, epidermal cells are removed while the dermal tissue is receiving gentle healing to stimulate collagen renewal. The precision and minimal residual thermal damage of extended ablation technology speed up the re-epithelization process without leaving a demarcation line. This allows for the treatment of small problem areas, providing a full laser facial with minimal downtime and outstanding results.
Prior to surgery, Dr. Urban and you will discuss the goals for facial improvement. After determining the appropriate procedure, we will fully describe the procedure, what results to expect, and the costs. The skin is usually pretreated prior to surgery to improve the healing time.
A local anesthetic is given to ensure that you are comfortable throughout the procedure. The area is cleansed and draped. Dr. Urban directs the laser beam toward your skin imperfections. The laser quickly and accurately vaporizes the outermost layers of skin just four or five cells in thickness. Treatment sensations vary from person to person. As tiny pulses of energy are delivered into the skin, most patients will experience a warm sharp feeling and an immediate tightening of the skin. Most patients look and feel like they have a mild sunburn for a few days after the treatment. Anesthetic ointments and cooling devices may be used to reduce any discomfort during and after the procedure.
Day 1 Immediately after the treatment the skin will be pink and have a similar sensation to a mild sunburn.
Day 2 The skin will be pink or red, make-up can be applied
Day 3 & 4 The skin will begin to exfoliate as new skin cells replace the dry, dead ones.
Day 5-7 All signs of the procedure will have vanished leaving your newly-revealed skin looking and feeling tighter, younger, and naturally healthy.
In most cases, only one to three treatments are needed. The initial redness fades in a few days to a light pink, which can be concealed with makeup. The discoloration usually disappears in days. The goal of fractionated laser resurfacing is to enhance the facial appearance with minimal recovery or complications. Expectations by the patient must be realistic, and results should be anticipated as improvements rather than total corrections. Results of the surgery depend on many factors such as the size, shape, and location of the imperfection and the patient’s heredity, age, and general skin condition. Please inform Dr. Urban of any skin disorders or history of viral skin diseases.
Costs will vary depending on your skin condition and overall treatment requirements. Schedule a consultation today for more details.