Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser is a light of a single wavelength with intense energy which can be focused on a very small area to act like a precise surgical tool.This procedure is indicated to treat scars that develop following surgery to the ears, nose and throat. Laser skin resurfacing is the use of laser energy to remove layers of scar tissue from prominent scars so that the skin appears smoother and the scars less noticeable. Laser resurfacing may also be advised to treat wrinkles, fine lines and acne scars on the face.
Two types of lasers are commonly used for resurfacing, carbon dioxide and erbium. These lasers vaporize targeted skin cells. CO2 lasers have been used for many years to treat various skin conditions but requires a slightly long recovery period as a lot of heat is produced during the procedure. A newer version of the CO2 laser minimizes heat damage by delivering short pulses of radiation in a distributed pattern. Erbium laser has fewer side effects than CO2 and requires a shorter recovery period. Erbium laser is recommended for those with a darker skin tone.
Your doctor will examine your skin and determine what procedure is ideal for you. You will be asked to avoid medications or supplements that delay clotting and will have to avoid smoking a few weeks before and after the procedure. Laser resurfacing is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. Local anesthetic is used to numb the areas that are going to be treated. For extensive treatment, general anesthesia is administered. The procedure can take from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Following treatment, the areas are bandaged and you will be given instructions on how to care for the wounds to encourage healing with minimal complications. Healing usually takes about 10 to 20 days. Slight stinging and swelling are usually common and can be relieved by application of an ice pack. You will be advised to raise your head while sleeping. Five to seven days after the procedure, the skin dries up and peels and there is increased redness which gradually fades in about 2-3 months. Try to limit exposure to sunlight. Use a sunscreen and keep your skin well moisturized.