Possible Complications of Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing is considered safe but like any medical procedure, complications do occur every now and then. Complications of laser resurfacing are more common when the procedure is being done by individuals who have no formal training in the use of laser. The common complications include:

Skin Darkening: Frequently darkening of the skin occurs and is seen more often in light skinned individuals. The skin darkening can be treated with bleaching agents but sometimes the condition can be permanent. Patients with darker skin tones may not notice the obvious skin darkening. Bleaching agents can be used to erase the color but often does not work.

Skin Lightening: This is a common complication after laser and usually seen in Asians and Orientals. The skin becomes patchy white in some spots. This unfortunate complication can sometimes be permanent.

Cold sores: In some individuals laser resurfacing can reactivate old herpetic sores. The cold sores usually appear within a week after the procedure. Those individuals with an acute exposure of herpes should wait at least 4-6 weeks before they under go the procedure. In some cases, your physician can start you on an antiviral drug, acyclovir prior to performing the procedure.

Infections: Infections are very rare after laser resurfacing but can occur when the skin is broken down. A shout course of antibiotics will suffice.

Facial swelling: This is a common complication after laser. When the laser therapy has been prolonged, the swelling may be associated with bruising around the face. In the rare cases, steroids may have to be taken to decrease the facial swelling.

This is a real complication of laser and occurs when the exposure or heat intensity are increased. The complication can be permanent.

Sunburn: This is the most complication of laser therapy. All individuals will show some degree of sunburn. This may produce mild pain and the redness will disappear in a week.

Skin texture: The skin which is treated always shows a change in texture. The skin usually feels rough. With time the new skin will appear smooth and fresh

Acne flare up: In rare cases, laser therapy will cause worsening of the acne. Most individuals with acne should wait until the acne is in the remission phase.

Accutane: Laser therapy is not performed in individuals who have recently been on Accutane. Laser can cause severe scarring and development of keloids. Accutane users should wait at least 2 years before undergoing the laser resurfacing.

Not all health care professionals who perform laser resurfacing have the same level of experience and skill. So to avoid any of the above complications, carefully select your physician and ask around. Your chances of injury are much less when the procedure is being performed by a qualified dermatologist or plastic surgeon.

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