Anyone with access to the mass media in the last several years has noted the profusion of articles about laser resurfacing. Basically resurfacing techniques are those which are used to rejuvenate the skin. This category includes lasers, dermabrasion, and chemical peels. Fractionated laser treatments that reduce healing time and nitrogen plasma beams are two of the newest resurfacing technologies available. Some of the primary benefits of laser skin resurfacing include:
- An effective modality for treating aging skin, scarring, environmental skin damage
- More precise than dermabrasion or chemical peels
- Individualized to patient's needs/skin type
- May be incorporated with other procedures
- Another option to incisional surgery
Ablative or tissue removal laser techniques use light energy to remove the outer layers of the skin in a controlled fashion which promotes a healing response that leaves the skin healthier in appearance and structure. Lasers utilized for this purpose include the carbon dioxide laser, and the erbium:YAG laser. These forms of laser energy are absorbed by water in the treatment site tissue. While generally well tolerated with a favorable risk profile, and capable of producing dramatic improvement in properly selected patients, most resurfacing laser procedures require a significant amount of aftercare and may require some lifestyle modification (such as avoiding prolonged sun exposure until completely healed). For advanced wrinkles or for the patient who desires a more rapid and noticeable improvement, resurfacing with the erbium:YAG or carbon dioxide devices are indicated.
Some newer laser and intense pulsed light modalities under investigation treat wrinkles without creating an external wound. These technologies hold promise for improving the skin with minimal to no downtime. For the patient with a busy schedule and realistic expectations, these offer moderate improvement of wrinkles. Incorporation of these non ablative wrinkle treatments with a skin care program and injectables such as BOTOX® Cosmetic and Restylane® enhances the results. For more information on these options check the offerings under the Claro section of the website.
Dr. Angelchik performs resurfacing utilizing the Sciton erbium: YAG laser. This device allows tremendous versatility and precision in performing resurfacing with less thermal injury (heating) of remaining tissue. It is a powerful and effective laser, but the reduction in heat to the healing tissues allows for quicker healing and resolution of post-laser redness. It also allows for a more comfortable, faster recovery in comparison to earlier generation lasers such as the UltraPulse CO2 laser. The results with the Sciton are comparable to the UltraPulse, but with fewer side effects in terms of pigmentation changes and delayed healing. Use of a hydrogel dressing system, which is changed twice daily for 5 days, adds to patient comfort and improved healing.
Major Complications are Rare
Like any other surgical procedure there are risks attached to laser procedures, but compared to other resurfacing modalities, laser offers greater control and more precision. As our knowledge of these new procedures has grown the risk of serious complications has become even lower. Well-informed patients are usually quite pleased with their results. Concerns regarding long-term (weeks to months) redness after laser resurfacing are legitimate, but as techniques for laser and aftercare have improved, the severity and frequency of this problem have correspondingly diminished in compliant patients.
In addition to laser resurfacing, Dr. Angelchik also performs other facial procedures in his Glendale plastic surgery practice. Visit these pages in the website to learn about how Dr. Angelchik treats rhinoplasty, facelift, otoplasty, brow and forehead lift and blepharoplasty patients.