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Aesthetics Practice Today

Winter CO2 Fractional Laser Resurfacing

Published December 11, 2012 11:30 AM by Mina Grasso

Benefits of CO2 Fractional Laser Resurfacing Treatments

The fractional CO2 laser heats water within the surface layers of the skin, causing both the water and the tissue of the skin to turn to vapor. Every time the laser passes over the skin, some of the outermost layers of the skin are removed in a precise and controlled way to the appropriate depth. 

The skin then heals over a period of time, as new layers of collagen are produced. The treatment results in an improvement in the appearance of sun damaged or acne scarred skin. In addition, the post treatment skin will have a healthy look along with a better texture and tone. 

This intensive treatment can significantly reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and pigment changes on the face, neck and other parts of the body. The laser can be used to treat delicate areas such as lines around the lips, eyes and even eyelids or over the whole of the face. Acne and other types of scars and certain stretch marks can also be improved.

Winter is an ideal time for patients to have laser-resurfacing procedures performed with less risk of sun exposure following the procedure. With vacation from work or school schedules, patients can afford more downtime during the holidays. 

Potential CO2 Laser Resurfacing Side Effects and Complications

Although CO2 fractional resurfacing is a safer alternative to traditional CO2 resurfacing, it is not without complications. We expect all our patients to experience some redness and swelling. Depending on the parameters used and location treated, redness can last 3-21 days. There have been reported cases of redness lasting up to 3 months. Acne or milia and hyperpigmentation are the most common side effects we deal with in our clinic. We have been favoring the fractional CO2 laser over our non-ablative Fraxel Restore laser due to lower incidents of the acne, milia and hyperpigmentiation. 

Hyperpigmentation may occur with post laser sun exposure and more frequently with darker skin types. Despite careful sun precautions some patients still develop hyperpigmentation. At the opposite end of the spectrum, hypopigmentation may occur.  It's rare, but usually permanent. Hypertrophic scarring and ectropian, also rare, may occur. 

Aftercare Instructions

Patients must be given verbal and written aftercare instructions following their laser treatment. Giving instructions to them a week prior to treatment is ideal so they can prepare to have appropriate aftercare products available. Contact dermatitis can occur when they attempt to use their usual skin regimen or use OTC skin remedies when their skin is still in the healing process post laser resurfacing treatment.

 

posted by Mina Grasso

1 comments

Whether it is a CO2 laser or Erbium, ablative Laser Resurfacing works by vaporizing (ablating) layers of the skin to remove much of the acne scars. (Laser resurfacing is also used for wrinkles, skin laxity, and sun damage.) The laser treatments directly alters the structure and function of the sebaceous glands, which in turn prevents more scarring. The removal of the upper layer of the skin removes the visual scars, and the heat promotes collagen growth to fill in any remaining depression created by the scars. I believe the Sciton Erbium laser provides the best results. The Erbium laser is safer than and often requires less down time than the older CO2 lasers, and the Erbium is safe on darker skin because there is less potential for hyper pigmentation.

Dr Rhys Branman

Little Rock Cosmetic Surgery Center

Dr. Rhys Branman, Cosmetic Surgery - Surgeon, Little Rock Cosmetic Surgery Center December 12, 2012 9:38 AM
Little Rock AR

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    Occupation: Physician Assistant/Nurse Practitioner
    Setting: Miami & Upland, Calif.
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