What is eCO2 Resurfacing?
This procedure involves the use of a special type of laser which ablates (removes) precise portions of epidermal (surface) and dermal (subsurface) skin tissue. This results in the removal of unwanted pigment and the firming up of skin, giving it a smoother, more youthful appearance.
How does eCO2 Resurfacing work?
The eCO2 uses fractionated micro-beams of laser light to remove skin tissue: vaporizing it instantly. This stimulates the activity of fibroblasts, a type of cell that produces collagen and extracellular matrix. Because these substances give skin cells their structure, eCO2 resurfacing results in the growth of firmer, more elastic skin.
What areas of the body does eCO2 Resurfacing treat?
Most of the conditions treated with eCO2 Resurfacing, such as wrinkles, acne scars and sun damage, are typically facial problems, so the procedure is performed most frequently on the face. It can be used almost anywhere on the body, however, to improve the appearance of scars and correct pigmentation problems.
What are the advantages of eCO2 Resurfacing over other similar treatments?
Unlike earlier ablative lasers, eCO2 causes much less skin damage, so that treatments are less painful and heal more quickly. eCO2 also works much faster than non-ablative lasers, which often require several treatments. With eCO2 Resurfacing significant results can be achieved in just a single treatment.
Who is a candidate for eCO2 Resurfacing?
Typical candidates for eCO2 Resurfacing are those with mild to moderate wrinkles around the eyes, mouth, or other localized facial areas. The treatment also helps patients with moderate to severe acne scars or uneven skin pigmentation. eCO2 Resurfacing is used to treat burn scars, surgical scars, enlarged pores, vascular dyschromia (mottled skin) and sun damage.
How is the procedure performed?
Prior to the procedure, the patient's skin is thoroughly cleansed and a topical anesthetic is applied the target area. If the treatment area is near the eyes, eye cups are placed to protect the patient's vision. The doctor sets the laser for the combination of ablative and non-ablative beams and scans the treated surface. The treatment typically lasts one hour from start to finish. While typically only a mild topical anesthetic is needed to manage discomfort, the doctor will determine specific pain management needs as the procedure progresses.
What is the recovery like?
Right after eCO2 Resurfacing treatment, patients typically experience moderate swelling and some discomfort, which are controlled with medication and ice packs. The treatment gives the skin a reddish appearance which eventually fades. After about a day patients may experience drainage and weeping of the treated skin tissue, after which it dries and often peels. Patients are typically instructed in how to wash and care for the skin during recovery. Most patients are back to work within four to five days after treatment.
What will the results be like?
After initial swelling and redness has subsided, patients will typically see significantly improved skin tone, color and texture after the first treatment. Complete results are often obtained after only two or three treatments.
What are the risks?
With any ablative treatment, there is a risk of unwanted skin pigmentation changes after the skin has healed, although the risk is less with eCO2 laser treatment than with other types of laser treatment. Patients with darker skin tones may be at an increased risk for pigmentation changes regardless of which resurfacing method is used.
Is eCO2 Resurfacing approved for use in the U.S.?
Yes, the eCO2 laser system received regulatory clearance from the Food and Drug Administration in July 2008.
Is eCO2 Resurfacing covered by insurance companies?
Because eCO2 skin resurfacing is considered a cosmetic procedure, it is not covered by most insurance plans.
Disclaimer: This information is intended only as an introduction to this procedure. This information should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor does it guarantee results of your elective surgery. Further details regarding surgical standards and procedures should be discussed with your physician.
By Dermanetwork.org Staff
Updated: November 23, 2009