Carbon Dioxide Laser
Carbon Dioxide laser is used to remove various types of skin growths like; warts, seborhoeic keratosis, moles, skin tags, age spots, and sometimes skin resurfacing for scars and wrinkles.
What is Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Laser Skin Resurfacing (aka Laser peel) is the technique of using a carbon dioxide laser (CO2) to remove areas of sun or trauma damaged or wrinkled skin, layer by layer. This technique literally evaporates the first three of the six layers of the skin. Laser Skin Resurfacing is most commonly used to minimize the appearance of the superficial, fine lines around the mouth (smoker's lines) and the eyes (crow's feet, smile lines). Laser Skin Resurfacing is also used to treat scars or hyper-/hypo- pigmentation.
Is there much scarring with Laser Skin Resurfacing?
There may be redness and hyperpigmentation and sometimes even hypopigmentation but there are usually no real scars if performed by a qualified surgeon. Care should be taken to evaluate your skin for possible hypertrophic or keloid scarring possibilities. There is a possibility of an obvious demarcation (line) where the laser passes and where it does not, so care should be taken by the surgeon to make light sweeps instead of deep passes. Unfortunately there are risks that unusual scarring may result if you are not truthful or do not have knowledge of your heritage or family's scarring background.
Will Laser Skin Resurfacing rid me of my wrinkles or acne scars?
Yes it can. Sometimes it may take more treatments to remove deeper acne scarring but for the most part lasers evaporate the top layers of skin and incorporate more collagen growth for smoother, tighter, younger looking skin!
What should I expect post-operatively?
You should expect to be quite red and raw resembling a major sunburn. You will care for the treated area with extreme caution as to not upset the natural healing process. A special ointment is applied to the treated area several times a day, very lightly. One week post-operative you will go in for a follow-up visit. Ointment is to be used for 10 to 14 days continuously after the day of surgery.
When will I be able to go out in the sun?
One must, protect the skin from the sun for 8 to 12 months using total sun block (sunscreens rated SPF 30 or greater). One also should stay out of direct sun exposure during this time. The skin will have a shade of pink to it for approximately three to five months. This is generally not too bothersome, as it is covered by make-up and is far outweighed by the benefits of the procedure in most patients’ minds.
When will I be able to see the results?
Laser resurfacing is a very effective tool in the improvement of , acne scars and other scars. In significant acne scars, the procedure is sometimes performed twice. The first operation causes about a 30 to 50% improvement. The second operation causes a 20% to 30% improvement. Unfortunately, there is no way to create a 100% elimination of acne scars.
What are the risks with Laser Skin Resurfacing?
There are minor risks and complications involved with Laser Skin Resurfacing which include but are not limited to prolonged hyperpigmentation. In 5 to 10% of patient darkening or brown discoloration will occur, requiring bleaching creams. This will generally resolved the discoloration in 2 to 3 months. Prolonged redness occurs in 3-5% of patients and this delays the fading to normal colour by about 2 months.
There may be more intense burns associated with laser resurfacing. Take care in choosing your surgeon wisely. A specialist should be sought as the surgeon who is not experienced with the technique and light touch could very well burn you rather deeply, making matters worse.
Patients with olive skin, brown skin or black skin (ethnic skin tones) may be at risk for pigmentation changes (hypo-/hyper- pigmentation) no matter what type of resurfacing method is recommended. Your surgeon should evaluate your skin characteristics and family history before making any diagnosis for treatment.
Will it be painful? What kind of anaesthesia is used?
You will be asleep with the help of Light Sleep IV sedation. Sometimes a topical anaesthetic or local anaesthetic is used for ease of discomfort when you wake up. You doctor should prescribe you an oral medication and/or topical anaesthetic for pain relief once you are home.