FRACTIONATED CO2 LASER
Fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing is the gold standard in ablative resurfacing. This means that it is the most reliable and time tested technique for reducing wrinkles and minimizing scarring. There are other forms of ablative resurfacing including deep chemical peel and dermabrasion that may also have a place in the management of abnormalities of the skin.
IS CO2 LASER TECHNOLOGY RIGHT FOR YOU?
CO2 laser technology has been used for the past two decades to manage wrinkles and skin irregularities. The fractionated form of resurfacing is new technology in the application of the CO2 laser. The fractionated form of treatment accomplishes the goal of reduced recovery and complications. What is meant by fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing is that there are undisturbed, untreated, areas of the skin, referred to as bridges, that provide a source of undamaged cells for healing. These bridges provide immediately available normal cells to replenish the damaged area.
MAKING THE DECISION FOR FRACTIONATED CO2 LASER
To achieve the maximum benefit from fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing and reduce the amount of time necessary to recover there are a number of steps that can be taken. The patient should reduce or eliminate exposure to the sun, pretreatment of the skin with an exfoliant /metabolic accelerant such as Retin-A and an agent to reduce melanocyte, pigment producing cell, activity. Botox and other neurolytic agents are also helpful in reducing
muscle activity and prolonging the results from resurfacing.
UNDERSTANDING THE SURGERY
Fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing can be done in two ways. One way is to perform multiple less aggressive treatments that will have a reduced recovery but will require two-three treatments to achieve the same result. The other option is to be more aggressive with trying to achieve the greatest improvement with one treatment. If this is the chosen option improvement will be dramatic with one treatment but there will be a more extended recovery time.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER THE SURGERY
Postoperative care is the most important part of an uneventful recovery from fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing. It is important to keep the wound moist and clean. Instructions are provided for the postoperative care at your consultation. A dressing is in place for the first 24-48 hours after surgery. Once the dressing is removed regular care is required. This will be necessary for 7-14 days. Once the acute wound has healed, there may be persistent redness of the skin for six weeks to three months. Persisting beyond three months is the rare occasion.
Fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing is the only treatment available to dramatically reduce wrinkles. It does require a commitment of both time and energy but can accomplish things no other treatment can accomplish.