Laser Skin Resurfacing – CO2
What is laser skin resurfacing?
The CO2 laser is the ultimate technology for aesthetic skin resurfacing. Laser technology is being utilized throughout the health care community. Dr. Bourget uses one of the newest lasers, the ultrapulse carbon dioxide laser, to treat superficial wrinkles around the eyes, lips, forehead and cheeks seen in aging skin. Facial scars and sun-damaged skin are also excellent candidates for this treatment
Fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and mouth are removed, while the deeper frown lines and grooves are softened. Once the outer layer of skin has been removed, the new skin beneath reveals a softer, smoother, more youthful appearance. Many patients say laser can erase up to ten years in a little more than an hour.
Laser resurfacing can be used as an alternative to chemical peel and dermabrasion. The benefits of using these techniques are that there is less pain and a faster recovery time.
The initial consultation is very important, so that you may discuss with Dr. Bourget , the changes you would like. Facial rejuvenating is a very individualized procedure, therefore Dr. Bourget will explain to you the different types of surgeries, injections, laser resurfacing, and/or liposuction, the best method for you will be discussed at that time. The doctor will suggest the procedure that he feels would best conform with the look you want. Photos may be taken at this time. Medical conditions should be brought to the doctor’s attention at this time (high blood pressure, blood clotting problems, tendency to form excessive scars, etc.). Make sure you provide all information about medication on your questionnaire, including aspirin, vitamins and any natural products that you are taking. It is very important to advise the staff if you are a smoker.
Prior to surgery, Dr. Bourget and you will discuss the goals for facial imporvement. After determining the appropriate procedure, we will fully describe the procedure, what results to expect and the costs. The skin is usually pretreated prior to surgery to improve the healing time.
You will be asked to be at the clinic 30 minutes before surgery time. Upon arrival a nurse will prepare you for your surgery, help you to feel at ease. Your sedation will then be started. The area will be cleansed and draped. Surgeries usually take a few hours, but may take longer, depending on the complexity of the surgery.
Dr. Bourget 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.
Carefully following these instructions, on the day of your procedure, will help your surgery go smoothly:
- Do not eat anything 6 hours before surgery. No fluids 3 hours before surgery.
- You should arrange to be driven home as you may receive oral sedation that may include narcotics and anxiolytic agents.
- Bring all your current medications.
- Leave valuables and jewelry at home.
- Wear loose fitting clothing.
- Do not wear makeup. Remove nail polish .
- If having facial resurfacing, wash hair. Do not use hair spray or other preparations.
- It would be very beneficial to have someone stay with you for 24 hours after surgery.
- Bring the post-operative medications with you.
- Avoid using medication containing aspirin like compound (see list).
Information on the CO2 Laser Resurfacing
The following explains about laser resurfacing treatments and that although laser surgery has been shown to be highly effective, no guarantees can be made that I will benefit from treatment. The most common side effects and complications of the laser treatment are the following:
- Pain -The sharp, burning sensation of each laser pulse may produce a moderate to severe amount of discomfort. Anesthetic injections or intravenous sedation will be used to block the pain during the procedure. Oral pain medication will be prescribed for the postoperative period.
- Swelling and oozing – Areas most likely to swell are around the eyes and neck. A clear fluid (serum) will also be present in the lasered areas and may create a crust (or scab) if the areas are not kept moist. The swelling, crusting, and oozing stage subsides within 5 to 7 days with regular application of ice and prescribed healing ointments.
- Prolonged skin redness – The laser-treated areas will initially appear bright red in color. After the first week, the redness can be camouflaged with opaque makeup. The redness fades to pink over several weeks, and normal skin color returns in about 3 months.
- Skin lightening (hypopigmentation) – This can occur in the treated areas and will eventually fade with 2 to 6 months. This reaction is more common in patients with olive or dark skin tones and can worsen if the laser-treated area is exposed to the sun.
- Skin darkening (hyperpigmentation) – This can occur in an area of skin that has already received prior treatment or can be a delayed response to the laser surgery. The light spots can darken or pigment in several months, but could be permanent. This is a rare complication.
- Scarring – The risk of this complication is minimal, but it can occur whenever the skin’s surface is disrupted. Strict adherence to all advised postoperative instructions will reduce the possibility of the occurrence.
- Infection – A skin infection in the postoperative period can result. This risk in minimized by the use of antibiotics and good skin care.
- Allergic reaction – It is possible that an allergic reaction to an anesthetic, topical cream, or oral medication can occur.
- Ectropion – In rare instances, a downward pull of the eyelids can result after periorbital laser resurfacing.
- Acne or milia formation – Flare-up of acne or formation of milia can occur in the postoperative period.
It is possible that Dr. Bourget gives you a prescription for a cream to be applied prior to your surgery, if it is required.
Intravenous sedation may be given, along with local anaesthetic injections using Xylocaine.
You will wear protective eye wear and or gauze for treatment around the eyes. The length of time for surgery varies.
Following the laser, wounds will be dressed with an ointment. You will then rest in the recovery area for 20 to 40 minutes.
Cold or ice packs help to reduce swelling, bruising, and pain. Use frozen peas in the package or crush ice cubes and put the ice into a zip-lock bag. This should help not hurt. If the ice feels too uncomfortable, don’t use it as often. Ice 20 minutes per hour, when not asleep. (Stop icing if it gives you a headache). We recommend that you do NOT eat salty foods following surgery. This will only increase your swelling.
Do’s and Don’ts for cosmetic facial surgery
Please do not wear any eye makeup e.g. mascara, liner or eye shadow two days prior to surgery. Do not wear any face makeup e.g. foundation, face cream, or blush one day prior to surgery. Please shampoo your hair the night before or morning of surgery and remove nail polish.
Do not drive an automobile for at least 24 hours after surgery.
Take no aspirin or tablets containing Aspirin (see list) (e.g. headache pills, arthritis pills or cold medicine) for 3 weeks before you scheduled surgery and 10 days after surgery. If you are taking any form of arthritis pills notify the clinic immediately. No vitamin E3 prior to surgery.
Medication instructions: if you regularly take any medication in the morning, other that Aspirin, take your usual morning dose of the medication prescribed at or before 9 a.m. on the day of surgery. Light meals are allowed 6 hours prior to your scheduled surgery time. Within 6 hours of your surgery do not eat drink except a sip of water to swallow scheduled medication.
Fill your post-operative prescription just before surgery and bring with you.