Dermabrasion is a cosmetic surgery procedure used to smooth the surface of the skin. It is often used to diminish the appearance of scarring, particularly acne scarring, or to reduce lines and wrinkles due to aging. While dermabrasion is not a complicated procedure, knowing what to expect before, during and after can help ensure the best possible results.
Before a dermabrasion procedure, most doctors will hold a consultation to explain what will happen during the procedure, what to expect afterward, before and after care, and what results can be expected. Some special skin care might be required before the procedure, and smokers might be asked to stop smoking about two weeks before. Patients will often also be asked to avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, or other medications that can affect blood clotting.
Dermabrasion uses a wire brush or rotating wheel to remove the top layers of skin. Lasers can also be used, for more delicate and exact work. Dermabrasion is usually performed under local anesthetic, but for procedures that treat deeper scarring, twilight sedation or even general anesthesia can be used.
Those areas to be treated are marked, and ice packs or a freezing spray are applied. The cold functions to harden the skin, making the abrasion treatment more effective. Depending on the size of the area being treated, dermabrasion can last from a few minutes to a few hours.
Since dermabrasion removes the top layers of skin, redness and swelling occur after the procedure. Often, scabbing or crusting develops, and the skin must be carefully cleaned for a period of time. Painkillers may be necessary to manage post procedural discomfort. The skin takes a few days to grow back, and a few weeks to return to its normal appearance.
It is important to follow the doctor's post-operative instructions to prevent infection or other complications. Any unusual symptoms or worsening to the treated area should be brought to a doctor's attention immediately.