Laser resurfacing: The two types of lasers most commonly used in laser resurfacing are carbon dioxide (CO2) and Erbium. Each laser vaporizes skin cells damaged at the surface-level.
In this technique, the top layer of the skin, that has scars, is removed using a high powered laser. At the same time, the laser is used to sculpt and remodel scar tissue using customized settings based on the type of scar and location on the body.
The procedure is performed in our surgery center as an outpatient procedure. The area may be numbed with a anesthetic cream to make the procedure comfortable. The doctor uses a handheld device that is passed over the scars to resurface and remodel the tissue. The laser beam is used for sculpting and may be followed by application of scar medication to enhance the effect of the treatment. The CO2 laser, which is a powerful laser, can penetrate into the skin deeply and is useful in removing deeper and thicker scars.
The second laser, called Erbium YAG, is recommended for more superficial scars. This laser causes fewer side effects, such as swelling, bruising, and redness, so your recovery time should be faster than with traditional CO2 laser resurfacing. This technique needs less sedation as well. Dr. Shirazi often times uses both lasers depending on scar type.
Some risks associated with ablative lasers include:
- Redness or swelling
- Skin color changes