Laser facial surgery, or facial resurfacing, is a procedure that removes the upper layers of the skin on the face using a laser. It can improve the appearance of skin without the need for full cosmetic surgery. It is an effective treatment for reducing fine wrinkles, sun damage or mild scarring. It can also tighten skin, even out pigmentation and improve the skin of those with acne or chicken pox scars.
Laser facial procedures use a laser beam of light radiation to deliver intense energy to a particular area of the skin. They remove the surface layer of the skin to expose the lower layer, the dermis, which is pink. Then, using a lower power, the laser heats the dermis, which stimulates the growth of new collagen fibers in the skin. When the treated skin heals, a new skin is formed, softer and less scarred than the original. For people with deeper wrinkles, this procedure can also be performed to remove parts of the dermis.
Laser facial surgery is performed in a clinic or operating room. The surgery is performed under a local anesthetic. The patient is awake, but as the skin is numb there is no discomfort. The procedure is likely to be done as a day-case. This means that after the surgery is performed, the patient can leave and return home the same day. The surgery can last from two minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the area being treated.
Before the surgery, your surgeon may ask you to give up smoking as it increases the risk of infection and can make the healing of the laser facial surgery take longer. Post surgery, the treated facial area will be moisturized with ointment. Bandages will also be placed over the treated area, although in some cases it may be left uncovered. If you have been given a general anesthetic, it is advisable to have another person drive you home and stay with you for at least 24 hours.
The surgeon will discuss with you steps to be taken post laser facial surgery. You will need to wash the face several times a day using a very gentle cleanser. Wash your hair only with a mild baby shampoo to avoid irritation of the skin. To aid healing, an antibiotic cream or ointment will also need to be applied. You will also need to avoid the sun and use sunscreen for at least six months after the laser facial surgery.
It usually takes 10 days or more for skin to heal, and in two to six months the redness on the treated area should completely disappear. One thing to bear in mind before undergoing laser facial surgery is that scars and wrinkles may only subside after one laser session. To completely eradicate the problem, more sessions may be needed. Also, as the aging process continues, more sessions may be deemed desirable by the patient, but of course that is a matter of personal choice.