Illustration 1: During the procedure, the laser is passed over the skin until wrinkles or scars become less visible. It may be performed in stages.
Illustration 2: Most patients notice improvement in the tone and texture of the skin. Use sun protection and a skin-care regimen recommended by Dr. Jensen to help maintain results.
If you've ever wished that you could "renew" your complexion to make it smoother and more even-toned, laser resurfacing may be a good option for you. Cosmetic laser resurfacing, also called "laser peel" is a procedure that smoothes the facial skin by using a laser to refinish damaged areas and shrink fine wrinkles. It also corrects areas uneven pigmentation. The result is a fresher, smoother complexion.
You'll find basic information about laser resurfacing included here. However, the best way to get complete answers to specific questions that relate to your individual needs is to have a personal consultation with Dr. Jensen.
Is laser resurfacing right for me?
Men and women of all ages may benefit from laser resurfacing. The best results from the procedure are typically seen in individuals with fair, healthy, non-oily skin.
You may be a good candidate for laser resurfacing if you have any of the following conditions:
You may wish to discuss other resurfacing options with your plastic surgeon if any of the following applies to you:
What should I expect from the consultation?
A personal consultation is the first step for every patient considering laser resurfacing. During this meeting, Dr. Jensen will assess your physical health and discuss your specific cosmetic goals for the procedure.
You should arrive at the consultation prepared to provide complete information about:
During your physical evaluation, Dr. Jensen will evaluate the quality, thickness and color of your skin and perhaps take photographs for your medical record.
Often, people who undergo laser resurfacing choose to have other facial-rejuvenation procedures at the same time, such as a facelift, browlift, or eyelid surgery. Be sure to let your surgeon know if you are planning to have any other cosmetic procedure in the future.
How is laser resurfacing performed?
In laser resurfacing, a beam of laser energy is used to vaporize the upper layers of damaged skin with accurate precision. As new cells form during the healing process, a smoother, tighter, younger-looking skin surface appears.
During the procedure, the activated laser is carefully passed back and forth over the skin until the Dr. Jensen reaches the safest level that will make the wrinkle or scar less visible. When imperfections are deep, Dr. Jensen may recommend that the resurfacing be performed in two or more stages.
Are the other options?
Precision and predictability are the major advantages of laser resurfacing. However, laser resurfacing isn't the only method that plastic surgeons use to refinish the facial skin. Alternative methods include:
Retin-A™ treatment - a light skin-refinishing treatment that involves regular applications of a vitamin A-enriched cream.
Glycolic acid peel (sometimes called "fruity" acid peel) - a light resurfacing treatment that involves use of a prescription-strength facial wash or cream.
Dermabrasion - a more aggressive method in which the surface layer of skin is removed with a motorized brush.
Chemical peel - a resurfacing method in which a chemical solution is applied to peel away the top layers of skin, allowing a fresh new layer to emerge.
Lighter resurfacing options offer shorter recovery times. However, they may need to be repeated several times to achieve the results offered by more aggressive techniques. Dr. Jensen will advise you if one of these other methods may be a better option for you.
How will I learn about the safety of laser resurfacing?
Each year, thousands of men and women undergo laser resurfacing and experience no major complications. However, it is important for you to be informed of the risks as well as the benefits.
One of the most important parts of your consultation is the discussion that you and Dr. Jensen will have about the possible complications of laser resurfacing. In addition to listening carefully to what Dr. Jensen tells you, be sure to raise any questions that you may have about the safety of the procedure.
What can I do to prepare for the procedure?
When the date for your procedure has been set, Dr. Jensen will provide you with specific instructions for the days immediately before and after surgery. A number of points may be covered, including:
How will I be cared for on the day of my surgery?
Laser resurfacing may be performed in a hospital, an outpatient surgery center or an office-based surgical suite. If you are having a more extensive resurfacing treatment, you may be admitted to the hospital. However, you can expect your stay to be short one.
Medications are administered to keep you comfortable during the procedure. Usually, local anesthesia with sedation is used during laser resurfacing. However, for more extensive resurfacing, Dr. Jensen may prefer to use general anesthesia.
Before resurfacing begins, you'll be fitted with protective eyewear to shield your eyes throughout the procedure. Dr. Jensen will monitor your physical status throughout the procedure.
How will I look and feel right after the procedure?
When the procedure is over, Dr. Jensen will choose one of two ways to protect your healing skin. One option is to apply a bandage, which will be changed one or more times during the first ten days. The other option is to cover your face with protective ointment and give more ointment to use at home for the first week of healing. Dr. Jensen will select the method that best meets your needs.
You are likely to experience some mild to moderate swelling. However, ice packs and medication prescribed by Dr. Jensen can help you stay comfortable.
Although everyone heals at a different rate, you can expect that your recovery ill follow this general time line:
The first three weeks
After a month
It's important to remember that the redness will fade gradually. Although the color will continue to diminish with every passing week, some pinkness may remain for three to four months.
In the months following treatment, it's essential to protect your face from the sun until all the color has returned to normal. If you must be in the sun, apply a strong sun block with an SPF of 15 or higher and shade your face with a visor or wide-brimmed hat. You should also wear good quality sunglasses that have filters to block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. If sun-related darkening occurs, Dr. Jensen may suggest using a bleaching cream to even out the color.
What should I know about my results?
If you're like most patients, you will notice a significant improvement in the tone and texture of your skin. Many say that their fresher, younger-looking complexion makes them feel more confident at work and in social situations.
You should be aware that even though your results will be long lasting, your face will continue to age. Following your treatment, your natural facial movement will eventually cause any "expression" lines to recur. Using sun protection and a skin-care regimen recommended by Dr. Jensen will help to maintain your results. However, some patients decide to repeat the treatment after several years to restore their rejuvenated look.
How long will I continue to see Dr. Jensen?
After the initial healing period, you will return to Dr. Jensen's office for a postoperative follow-up visit so that your healing and progress can be evaluated. In the following months, Dr. Jensen may ask you to return for periodic checkups. It's important to keep these appointments so that Dr. Jensen can assess your long-tern results and address any questions or concerns you may have.