Laser resurfacing, also known as a "laser peel," consists of a carbon dioxide (C02) laser removing layers of skin layer by layer. This procedure can minimize fine lines of the face,
as well as treating facial scars and uneven pigmentation. Resurfacing may be performed on the whole face or specific areas. Laser resurfacing is a relatively new procedure for skin
rejuvenation and is not for everyone. It is possible an alternative treatment such as dermabrasion or chemical peel may better suit your needs. The length of recovery time should be
considered when choosing a resurfacing technique. Individuals who have taken Accutane in the past 12-18 months are prone to develop abnormal scarring. As well, those with active skin
infections should postpone the procedure until the skin is clear of break outs.
With every surgery there are possible risks and complications:
Dr. Yaker performs laser resurfacing procedures successfully each year. Dr. Yaker is certified, and has had extensive training in C02 laser resurfacing. However; there are risks
associated with this surgery. Possible complications include infections, bleeding, poor healing, and reaction to anesthesia. As well, permanent darkening of the skin often caused by
sun exposure during the healing process. Skin may be blotchy in areas. Tiny white heads may develop after surgery, usually disappearing on their own. Enlarged pores may develop, and
should return to normal size once swelling subsides. In rare cases excessive scar tissue may develop requiring steroid injection treatment.
About the Surgery:
The size of the area being treated will determine the length of the surgery. If the entire face is treated, surgery will last about 1 to 1 ½ hours. The procedure is performed in
our on site AAAASF certified ambulatory surgery center under local or general anesthesia. After the surgery Flexan is applied to the skin. Flexan is a dressing to help keep pain to
a minimum. You may feel tingling, burning or aching, but the pain medication should control the pain. A scab or crust forms as the skin begins to heal, and as new skin forms underneath,
the top layers fall off. Swelling should subside about 10-14 days after surgery. We ask that you not wear make-up for approximately two weeks. Afterwards, you should avoid direct sunlight,
since the procedure takes away a layer of the skin. Sun exposure may result in permanent light or dark spots. Once the area is completely healed, you should avoid sunlight and use sunblock
or wear a hat. Refinishing treatments provide improvements to the facial skin, although it will take time to see the final results. Your skin will look like you have a sunburn, bright pink
or red, for up to six months.
Post-Operative Instructions for Laser Resurfacing
2 Weeks Before Surgery:
- Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen products (You make take Tylenol).
- Do not take any diet pills or similar appetite suppressant medications, (i.e. Metabolife).
- Do not take any herbal preparations, (i.e. St. Johns Wart).
- Do not take Vitamin E.
- Smoking may interfere with the circulation and healing process.
Products Needed at Home:
Fill your prescriptions given to you during your pre-op visit:
- Lortab or Darvocet is for the pain.
- Keflex is an antibiotic (you will need to take all of these as directed).
- Diazepam is a muscle relaxer.
- If you have a tendency to get cold sores or fever blisters you will need to start a preventative medication: Zoviarax or Valtrex.
- Extra-strength Tylenol.
- Benadryl 25mg - For occasional itching.
- Small tube of Bacitracin.
- Small bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide.
The Night Prior to Surgery:
- Eat a bland meal - Nothing Spicy.
- Before going to bed take a Pepcid AC.
- Take one Diazepam to help you rest.
The Day of Surgery:
**Eating or Drinking Prior To Surgery Will Result in Cancellation of the Surgery**
- Wear loose clothing, something easy to put on after surgery. Wear a top that buttons or zips in front. (Do not wear jeans or tight clothing)
- Do not wear make-up.
- Men shave as usual.
- Leave all jewelry and valuables at home.
- The person caring for you after surgery will need to stay with you for at least 24 hours.
Post-Operative Instructions for Laser Resurfacing
- Take your pain medications for the pain. Do not take on an empty stomach.
- Take the antibiotics as directed until they are all gone.
- Sometimes patients will develop a yeast infection from the antibiotics, if this occurs call the office.
- Should you become constipated, you may use an over the counter stool softener. If you do not have relief from your stool softener, call the office.
- If you have itching, discontinue the pain medications, and take Benadryl 25 mg: one capsule every 6 hours as needed.
- Remember no aspirin products until 2 weeks after surgery.
Other Things to Remember:
- If you feel you are in an emergency situation, please call the office at any time. Our phone are answered 24 hours a day. These calls include: abnormal bleeding, abnormal swelling, and or a temperature over 101 degrees. Other calls should be made during business hours Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
- Swelling can increase in the first 48 hours, and then should begin to go down over the next few weeks.
- The area will burn for a few days following the procedure.
- Should you see puss or what may appear to be an infection, call the office.
- Keep your hair tied back and out of your face.
- Often your face will feel tight, you may need to use a straw and eat soft foods for the first few days.
- Sleep on your back with your head elevated with pillows to help reduce swelling.
- If cold sores or blisters appear on your face call the office.
- No bending forward or lifting heavy objects for 5-7 days.
- Most patients take 14-21 days off from work.
- You may take a shower the following day after surgery. Do not get the face wet for one week after surgery.
- Keep activity moderate for the first 4 weeks. After 4 weeks you may ride a life cycle, take walks, and lift light weights. After 6 weeks you may resume normal activity as tolerated.
- Wear Sun block, had, and sunglasses to protect the new skin.
- Smoking may interfere with the circulation and healing process causing major complications.
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In many cases, facial wrinkles form in localized areas, such as near the eyes or around the mouth. The laser can be precisely controlled so that only these specific areas are targeted.
When healing is complete, the face has a more youthful appearance.
Fine vertical creases or "lipstick lines" are commonly treated with laser resurfacing.
Within about five weeks after treatment, the upper lip is noticeably smoother.
Illustrations courtesy of plasticsurgery.org