Skin Resurfacing

A young adult woman examining her face

As one of the most exciting and innovative scientific achievements to date, laser technology is being utilized throughout the health care community. Dr. Merlo uses one of the newest lasers to treat sun-damaged skin, facial wrinkles, and scars in a procedure called laser skin resurfacing.

What is a laser?

The word “laser” is an acronym, which stands for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A surgical laser, such as the CO2 laser, is a beam of light capable of removing unwanted tissue, such as scarred, lined, wrinkled, and otherwise imperfect skin. The laser vaporizes skin cells by emitting bursts of heat that are absorbed by water in these cells. Laser light penetrates to a very precise, controlled depth, making the procedure safe and predictable while reducing the risk of scarring or pigmentation problems. Laser skin resurfacing is bloodless and is performed right here in our office under local or topical anesthesia. As a result of this treatment, you can achieve more youthful-looking skin.

What areas can be treated through laser resurfacing?

The laser is used to reduce wrinkles, acne scars, and other minor skin imperfections all over the face. It can improve sun-damaged and acne-scarred skin problems that often cause concern to both men and women.

Benefits of Laser Treatment

Laser resurfacing can be used as an alternative to chemical peel and dermabrasion. The benefits of using this technique are less pain and a faster recovery time. In most cases, it is less costly.

Before Surgery

Before surgery, Dr. Merlo will discuss the goals for facial improvement. After determining the most appropriate procedure to use, we will fully describe the procedure, what results to expect, and the costs. The skin is usually pretreated before surgery to improve the healing time.

The Procedure

A local anesthetic is given to ensure that you are comfortable throughout the procedure or you may choose to be sedated with an IV. The area is cleansed and draped. Dr. Merlo directs the laser beam toward your skin imperfections. The laser quickly and accurately vaporizes the outermost layers of skin just four or five cells in thickness or less.

What can be expected?

In most cases, only one treatment is needed. The initial redness fades in a few weeks to a light pink, which can be camouflaged with cosmetics. The discoloration usually disappears in one month. The goal of laser resurfacing is to enhance facial appearance. Expectations by the patient must be realistic and results should be anticipated as improvements rather than total corrections. Results of the surgery depend on many factors such as the size, shape, and location of the imperfection and the patient’s heredity, age, and general skin condition.