Plastic Surgery Seattle | Jourdan Gottlieb, MD | Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma



 
Naficy Plastic Surgery & Rejuvenation Center

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Laser Resurfacing

What is a laser?

A laser is a highly focused beam of pure light energy which may be used to carefully remove areas of sun-damaged skin (laser resurfacing). This procedure has revolutionized the field of cosmetic plastic surgery and treatment of aging skin over the past decade. The main advantage of laser resurfacing over older resurfacing techniques (such as chemical peels and dermabrasion) is the precision with which the laser works. The Naficy Center uses a number of different lasers for facial resurfacing. The Derma K laser, which is a blend of CO2 and Erbium lasers, is capable of removing a layer of skin as thin as a fingerprint. This laser combines the advantages of Erbium and CO2 lasers into one exciting laser. The Naficy Center also uses traditional CO2 lasers, which require a longer recovery period, but are also able to produce more dramatic results. With the Derma K laser, most of our patients are ready to be back at work or social activities within one week, whereas with the CO2 lasers up to 10 days of recovery may be required. Another exciting option is fractional resurfacing using the CO2 laser, which combines the advantages of more dramatic results offered by the CO2 with the more rapid healing time of Erbium. Recovery time for fractional resurfacing is often less than a week.

Why does the skin wrinkle with aging?

Our skin is primarily made up of water and collagen. Normally, the collagen fibers are stacked on top of each other, much like bundles of spaghetti. These collagen fibers can glide against each other and have excellent elasticity. With aging, caused by sun damage, smoking, or passage of time, these collagen fibers become destroyed and tangled. These damaged collagen fibers lack the elasticity and recoil of normal collagen and are 'stiffer'. This combination of collagen loss and stiffness of the remaining damaged collagen is the biological reason for wrinkling of aged skin.


Normal collagen
young skin

Sun-damaged collagen of aged skin
aged skin

Microscopic changes of skin collagen between young and aged skin


How does laser resurfacing work?

Laser resurfacing works by peeling away the older, wrinkled, sun-damaged layer of skin, and allowing a new layer of skin to take over. As a new skin layer appears, it comes with a brand new layer of healthy collagen, which is why the appearance of wrinkles is dramatically improved. Because this is your own collagen, it will stay as part of your skin for years to come.


Before laser resurfacing
Before

After laser resurfacing
After
Laser resurfacing - procedure performed at Naficy Plastic Surgery & Rejuvenation Center

Laser resurfacing using the CO2 laser remains the 'gold standard' of all facial rejuvenation procedures aimed at improving skin quality. All other methods of facial rejuvenation, including Affirm, Titan, Cooltouch, Smoothbeam, N-lite, Aurora, and Fraxel are typically much less effective than laser resurfacing in permanently improving wrinkles and skin quality.

What is fractional laser resurfacing ?

Fractional laser resurfacing works by peeling only a fraction of the skin and therefore leaving some healthy skin behind for quicker recovery. It has been shown that by fractional resurfacing, one can still get a nice amount of collagen production and improvement of skin wrinkles and age spots. There are a number of different fractional resurfacing technologies available on the market including the Active Fx, Deep Fx, Max Fx, Pigment Fx, Fraxel, Fraxel re:pair, Mixto, Profractional, and Pixel. Fractional resurfacing using the CO2 laser is more effective that fractional resurfacing using Erbium (i.e. Fraxel). We use a highly effective and proven method of fractional CO2 resurfacing using the Lumenis laser platform used for Active Fx, Deep Fx, Max Fx, and Pigment Fx.

Laser resurfacing photo gallery

You may wish to browse through the gallery of representative before and after laser resurfacing pictures. Click on any of the thumbnails to enter the slide show. All procedures were performed at Naficy Plastic Surgery & Rejuvenation Center and some patients may have had more than one procedure performed. The text accompanying the photos describes the details of the procedures performed.

Click on thumbnail to begin viewing slide show.



Who is a good candidate for laser resurfacing?

The best candidates are individuals with fair to medium skin tone. Dark skinned individuals and those who tan regularly are not suitable candidates. Wrinkles and areas of irregular pigmentation caused by sun damage can be improved by this procedure. Acne scars will also be improved as a new layer of collagen is produced.

What type of anesthesia is used?

Small areas may be treated using topical or local anesthesia. Fractional laser resurfacing can be performed with topical creams and local anesthesia, although some patients request IV sedation for more comfort. For full face lasers resurfacing we use general anesthesia for maximal comfort. Most of our patients are able to go home in less than 30 minutes after the procedure is completed.

Anesthesia guidelines [21kb PDF]

What is the recovery like?

The treated skin will be replaced in 5-7 days with new skin. During this time it is important to keep the skin moist (with a healing ointment provided by our office) to facilitate healing. Treated areas of the skin will have a variable degree of pinkness that may take a few weeks to fully resolve, but may be typically covered with make-up in as early as 7-10 days. With fractional laser resurfacing the recovery time can be substantially less.

Post-operative care instructions: Laser Resurfacing [16kb PDF]
Post-operative care instructions: Fractional Laser Resurfacing [15kb PDF]

I am interested! What do I do next?

If you are considering laser resurfacing, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with the Doctor. During this visit he will listen to your concerns and discuss your options. He will tell you whether you are a suitable candidate for this procedure and inform you of the potential risks of the procedure. You will also receive cost and skin care information, and have a chance to view before and after photo albums of his patients who have undergone laser resurfacing procedures.


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Naficy Plastic Surgery & Rejuvenation Center     1110 112th Ave NE Suite 150 Bellevue, WA 98004     (425) 450-0880