Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing is a popular anti-aging procedure that improves the appearance of scars, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and fines lines. Primarily used around the mouth and eyes, this cosmetic treatment may also be used to target larger areas of the face. Laser skin resurfacing works like dermabrasion and chemical peels by removing one or more layers of skin so new skin can grow and fill crevices and wrinkles. Unlike traditional treatments, laser procedures tend to cause less bleeding, discomfort and bruising.
There are a variety of types of lasers that target different layers of skin. For instance, ablative lasers actually vaporize surface skin, resulting in relatively substantial recovery time. On the other hand, non-ablative lasers focus on underlying tissue to stimulate collagen growth. Though non-ablative lasers require less recovery time; they also usually require several treatments to prove effective. By contrast, ablative lasers usually require no more than one treatment to generate desired results.
What to Expect During The Procedure
Patients usually receive a local anesthesia, topical anesthesia and an intravenous sedation that leaves them awake but not fully aware. If patients require treatment to deep layers of skin, general anesthesia may be required. Doctors usually suggest that patients apply special lotions, creams or gels to their skin for several days prior to treatment. Doctors may also prescribe specific oral antibacterial, anti-yeast and/or antiviral medications to prevent potential complications.
Once the patient is sedated, the doctor moves the laser over the treatment area. He or she may repeatedly move the laser over the targeted area, depending on the depth of the scar, wrinkle or discoloration. As the layer eliminates outer skin cells to uncover new skin, patients may feel as if a rubber band is lightly snapping against their skin. Once the affected layers of skin are removed, the remaining skin usually heals to reveal younger skin without imperfections.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports the average surgeon's fee for non-ablative laser skin resurfacing at $1,359, with ablative procedures averaging $2,128. These costs do not include fees for operating room facilities, anesthesia and additional related expenses. Costs can vary depending on the extent of treatment, so it's important that patients consult their surgeon to get an idea of his or her treatment plan.