All fractional lasers resurfacing of the skin is done as an outpatient procedure. The procedure is usually done in the physician's office.
After arrival, the individual is made comfortable and safety goggles are worn during the procedure.
The current lasers are very patient compliant and tolerated by most patients. The advanced cooling systems located at the tip of the laser prevent pain. However, those who are not able to tolerate any pain, the physician may apply a topical local anesthetic 10-20 minutes prior to the procedure.
The laser treatment lasts anywhere from 30-60 minutes, depending on the size of the area being treated.
After the procedure, there is minimal downtime and the side effects are mild.
Immediately after the procedure the skin may be:
- Red: this skin discoloration is transient and usually resolves in a few hours.
- Painless. In generally, the majority of individuals have no pain after the laser treatment. For the mild pain that does occur in a few individuals, any over the counter pain medication may suffice.
- Swelling: the swelling is generally mild when the laser is applied for a short time. During longer procedure, facial swelling can occur and be noticeable. One should apply a cool compress and sleep with the head elevated for the first 24 hours after the treatment. This will reduce the swelling by the next morning.
- The skin may feel dry after laser therapy. This dryness may persist and lead to peeling or flaking of the skin. In most cases, this can be prevented by liberally applying a moisturizing cream.
- Avoid the sun. After any laser treatment, excessive sun should be avoided. If one is tempted to go out, then a sunscreen should be worn. Direct sun exposure should be avoided for at least the first 8-12 weeks after the laser treatment.
- One can wear make up and cosmetics soon after the procedure. For those who have a pink skin discoloration after the treatment, camouflage cosmetics may be worn during the first week.
Unfortunately, not everyone has a 100% response with fractional skin laser treatment. Most individuals obtain anywhere from a 60-80% response and there are some individuals who show no response. It is difficult to predict who will not respond to the treatment.
Fractional laser treatments are not permanent. Regular sessions are required as the skin ages. The cost of fractional laser therapy is variable and dependent on the type of laser and degree of skin treatment.
The average costs range anywhere from $2,000 - $5,000. So before you undertake this expensive undertaking which is not only temporary but with no guarantee of success, choose your physician well. There are no refunds