Laser Treatments

Lasers work by producing an intense beam of bright light that travels in one direction. The newest laser systems have become remarkably precise and selective, allowing treatment results and safety levels not previously available. Common uses of laser technology in facial plastic surgery includes laser skin resurfacing, laser facials, laser hair removal, (IPL) and fraxel.

Laser Skin Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing used to improve cosmetic flaws, such as wrinkles, acne scars, aging and sun-damaged skin, is the gold standard in ablative skin rejuvenation. Using a wand-like laser hand piece, undesired skin cells and wrinkles literally disappear in a puff of mist and are ultimately replaced by fresh skin cells. The laser beam can gently vaporize and/or ablate skin tissue to improve wrinkles, scars and blemishes, seal blood vessels or cut skin tissue. The procedure also offers the physician complete control in the depth of penetration of the skin's surface, allowing an increased degree of precision and safety in treating delicate areas. It may be performed full face or used in conjunction with eyelid or other facial surgery segmentally for removal of lines around the eyes, mouth or other regions. Patients can expect 7-10 days of downtime with redness lasting as long as several months post procedure. Make-up may be successfully applied for camouflage after skin has re-grown in about two weeks. For the right patient, this treatment is second to none in delivering beautiful and long lasting results.

FRAXEL re:store®

The Fraxel re:store treatment is a safe, non-invasive laser skin treatment that can resurface damaged skin and help to uncover the skin of youth. As the original product in the Fraxel family, Fraxel re:store treatment is the gold standard for quickly rejuvenating a variety of skin conditions and other imperfections, all without impacting your daily routine. Safe for all skin types, the Fraxel re:store treats both superficial conditions and issues which affect deeper layers, such as wrinkling and scars. The tiny microscopic punctures stimulate the body’s production of collagen, a material which helps skin retain a firm, elastic texture and appearance. It is an excellent choice for treatment of aging skin including melasma, actinic keratoses, un-even skin texture, fines lines and wrinkles. It also works very well to minimize acne or other types of depressed scars.

Because the laser treats tiny areas of skin while leaving adjacent tissue untreated, Fraxel re:store requires multiple treatments. As the healthy tissue continues to grow and multiply, the treated tissue moves up towards the skin surface and then is removed during the natural healing and exfoliating process. This gradual approach conveniently reduces both discomfort and recovery time while still successfully treating cosmetic issues.

The number of required treatments is determined both by the target goal as well as the settings of the laser, with most patients requiring 3-5 sessions. You and your physician can decide whether a lower level or more aggressive sessions would be best. If a higher setting is used, you may require fewer sessions, but the procedure is associated with more down time. Total appointment time is approximately 2 hours, with a minimum of 1 hour numbing with a topical anesthetic. The Fraxel procedure itself takes only 20 to 25 minutes for a full face. Immediately post treatment the face is red and swollen like with a mild sunburn. Icing is required to help reduce discomfort and swelling. In the days to follow, the skin will darken and mild peeling and flaking will occur over 7-10 days. Most noticeable swelling usually subsides within 3 to 5 days.  

Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal has become one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed in the United States, ranked second among cosmetic procedures behind Botox injections in frequency of procedures performed. Laser hair removal utilizes beams of highly concentrated light designed to selectively penetrate into the hair follicles, to be absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicles and to destroy the hair within that hair follicle. The procedure was originally designed to be performed on dark hairs on light skin; newer technologies have made the procedure safer for patients with darker skin. 

The Facial Plastic Surgery Center utilizes the Cynosure Elite Laser System, a revolutionary technology which combines two optimal wavelengths in one system: the 755-nm Alexandrite laser and the 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser. This dual technology enables us to switch lasers during a single procedure, so that we can select the most appropriate laser for any given hair or skin type. 

Laser hair removal almost has no recovery time. Recent studies indicate that some patients achieve an 80 to 90 percent reduction of hair growth after a series of laser hair removal treatments. Occasional touch-up sessions may be necessary. Patients are typically able to resume normal daily routines immediately after laser hair removal.

Photo Rejuvenation

While not truly a laser, IPL (intense pulsed light) technology utilizes broad spectrum light of various wavelengths through a process called "photo rejuvenation" to treat the face, chest, neck and hands—virtually anywhere that sun damage shows. This gentle, non-ablative technology improves the appearance of photo-aged skin by reducing age spots (sun-induced freckles) and redness caused by broken capillaries or cherry hemangiomas. Patients will also appreciate textural improvement as an added benefit. The process is ideal for patients with active lifestyles because the procedure requires no downtime and has a low risk of side effects.

Additionally, a range of skin conditions including rosacea, active acne, enlarged pores and hair removal can also be treated with photo-rejuvenation. Due to reduction in oiliness after IPL, patients may also experience improvement in sebaceous hyperplasia, a difficult to treat enlargement of the sebaceous gland. The pulsed light therapy may also stimulate new collagen production thereby improving skin tone and minimizing fine lines. Since new collagen is produced over a 3-6 month period, this type of improvement occurs over time.

Depending upon the desired result, treatment usually consists of 3 to 5 treatments over 3-4 week intervals. Patients must be free from sun exposure during treatment. Pigmented areas will darken and exfoliate over a period of 7 to 14 days. Improvements in rosacea and acne can be rather dramatic, however, since these are usually chronic conditions, periodic maintenance will be necessary.

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