Laser skin resurfacing, one of the newest plastic surgery technologies, improves certain kinds of wrinkles and fine lines to create brighter and healthier looking skin.

What is Laser Skin Resurfacing?

Laser skin resurfacing, one of the newest plastic surgery technologies, improves certain kinds of wrinkles and fine lines to create brighter and healthier looking skin.

At Penn Plastic Surgery we use Laser 360™, an advanced laser technology that combines three treatment modalities into one. This highly targeted treatment works by removing layers of skin with precision to improve the skin's texture and tone.

Advantages of Laser Skin Resurfacing

During this procedure, an invisible carbon dioxide laser light rapidly evaporates the water in the skin, removing the top skin layers and tightening the lower ones. Laser skin resurfacing can minimize facial wrinkles and help improve acne scarring and other skin irregularities.

Laser skin resurfacing offers a number of advantages including the following:

  • Less scarring, bruising and bleeding than many other resurfacing treatments
  • More accurate depth of treatment to obtain the best results

  • Effectively targets problem areas, such as fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and mouth

Laser skin resurfacing can also be used in combination with traditional surgical techniques, such as an eyelift or facelift, to improve specific areas of the face that may not be improved by surgery alone.

Who is a Good Candidate for Laser Skin Resurfacing?

Healthy men and women who have realistic expectations about the results are the best candidates for laser skin resurfacing. Laser skin resurfacing can improve minor facial flaws, such as:

  • Fine lines or wrinkles around or under the eyes, forehead or mouth

  • Aged or sun-damaged skin

  • Liver spots

  • Some precancerous skin lesions

  • Some forms of rosacea

  • Acne scarring

  • Enlarged oil glands on the nose

Under some circumstances our plastic surgeons recommend one of the more traditional approaches, such as a chemical peel or microdermabrasion, over laser skin resurfacing.

What To Expect

The preparation for laser skin surgery is unique in comparison to the preparation for other surgeries. An antibiotic regimen, a glycolic acid (a form of alpha hydroxy acid) peel, and other special skin care instructions may be prescribed prior to laser skin resurfacing. In the case of patients who occasionally have herpes or sun blisters, and the planned surgery includes the lip (perioral) area, an antiviral agent, such as Zovirax™, will also be prescribed to prevent a breakout.

Recovery After Laser Skin Resurfacing

You will need to arrange a ride home after laser skin surgery due to the swelling and bruising associated with the procedure. Discomfort and pain can be managed with prescribed pain medication and ice packs.

Following laser treatment, your surgeon will apply a dressing to the treated areas. The nurse or aesthetician will change or remove this dressing in a few days. Contrary to popular belief, laser skin surgery recovery is a long process.

You can expect skin redness for a number of weeks or even months, although it will diminish over time. In the early weeks following laser surgery, the new skin will crust and then begin to heal. Special skin care may be recommended. You will be instructed to stay out of the sun and use a good sunblock.

Risks and Outcomes

While laser skin resurfacing is normally safe, there is always the possibility of complications as with any surgery. You can reduce potential risks and complications by carefully following all pre- and post- surgery instructions and disclosing your full medical history to your surgeon.

Laser skin resurfacing has a few specific risks, including:

  • Burns or other injuries from the laser's heat
  • Scars
  • Skin pigmentation changes
  • Herpes breakout, if you're susceptible to such infections
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