What is laser resurfacing?
The laser has greater advantages over the older method in accuracy and precision. The laser allows the skin to be vaporised in a controlled method layer by layer, similar to how a laser can etch a number into a diamond.
What are the advantages of laser?
Bacteria and viruses would be killed by the intensity of the heat.
A more uniform thickness of skin can be removed at once, due to precise control.
Am I suitable for laser resurfacing?
How long does it take?
Is hospitalisation required?
Does it hurt?
What should I expect after surgery?
Gentle skin washing with a mild soap and application of diluted hydrogen peroxide or antibiotic ointment is used to remove the yellowish crust which usually forms on the lasered area.
When the crust falls off, smooth, new skin will be healing underneath. This will be pinkish for a few months but will continue to fade.
A camouflage make-up can be applied to the area to blend with the normal skin colour when the skin has healed, usually 10-14 days.
You can usually return to work within 10-14 days. For larger areas or deeper resurfacing, the area may be very red and three weeks off work may be required if you have an occupation which requires close personal contact. Following this, you will need to wear moisturiser and sun block SPF 30+ for six months.
Will my skin be more sensitive?
Is this permanent?
If you are sensible and keep out of the sun, wear sun protection and carry on with a maintenance skin care programme, your result should be permanent or improved.
Are there any complications that may occur?
Prolonged redness: Redness will last from three weeks to 4-6 months.
Pigmentation changes: Occasionally, patients may develop irregular hyperpigmentation (brown spots) during their healing interval and these can occur up to six months after surgery. You will be provided with cosmetic products after surgery to help minimise this risk. Patients are encouraged to aggressively apply sun screen products as ultraviolet light exposure is counterproductive to achieving and maintaining a revitalised configuration for the skin.
Telangiectasia (fine vessels): A rare problem but recovery is quick. Further laser treatment may be required.
Milia (small cysts): These are caused by blocked pores and glands and they usually disappear in 6-12 weeks but this is also rare. Sometimes these are manually removed.
Herpes Zoster/Cold Sores: Laser may reactivate Herpes virus leading to fresh lesions following the lasering. In order to reduce the chance of Herpes reactivation, if you have a history of Herpes or cold sores, you will be prescribed Zovirax tablets before and following the surgery and Zovirax cream for your lips following the surgery.
Finally, there can be no absolute guarantee with any surgery. Remember the realistic aim of this operation is improvement, not perfection.
Please note: The above information mentions only some of the benefits and complications of laser resurfacing. This information should not be regarded as a substitute for information and advice provided by Dr Drielsma during consultation.