Fractional CO2 Laser ResurfacingPosted on Friday, May 23rd, 2014 by Douglas M. Stevens, MD
Every three years or so something comes along that really enhances what we can achieve in facial plastic surgery. For the past five years, I feel that advance has been fractional CO2 laser.
Back in the 1980’s when CO2 laser resurfacing first started it was a great advance. It tightened the skin, got rid of wrinkles and sun damage in a very controlled, reproducible way. Everyone loved the result and it has been the mainstay of resurfacing since then. The only issue with CO2 laser resurfacing was that it was so powerful that it required anesthesia in most cases and a recovery time that was, in our hands, 2 weeks out of the public eye and 1-3 months of redness. Also, since it removed all of the sun damaged skin there was often a demarcation between where we used the laser and where we didn’t. This demarcation was usually 1 inch below the jaw line.
Since the 1980’s a variety of peels and lasers have come out touting “CO2 laser like results without the downtime”. Unfortunately, in my opinion, none of these delivered on that promise… until now.
Enter the fractional CO2 laser – this is a CO2 laser so it retains the power but the meaning of the word fractional is that only a small percentage of the upper layer of skin is removed. So, healing is faster – typically 5-7 days out of the public eye for the deepest treatments– and easier – typically 1-3 weeks of redness. There are a lot of controls on this laser as well. For my older patients with deeper wrinkles I can turn up the power and get a deeper more complete result. For younger patients who just need a little tightening and removal of sun damaged areas, the laser can be tuned to yield the result they need but with a very short or no recovery time. I have even used the laser to treat the lower eyelid skin resulting in enough tightening to be able to avoid surgery!
I have been using the fractional CO2 laser for the past five years. Prior to that, I used the Ultrapulse CO2 laser for over 20 years. My staff and I are very comfortable with lasers and we are getting very nice results. Since the fractional CO2 laser is used in the office the price is much less than when we had to go to the operating room and under anesthesia.
Considering fractional CO2 laser – it can help reverse years of aging and sun damage to your facial skin. Please contact us for more information.