A number of procedures are designed to eliminate the fine lines and wrinkles in the skin. Often these wrinkles occur in the corners of the eyes (laugh lines), the lip, or forehead. Such fine lines cannot be removed by classic facelift techniques or other methods of skin tightening. Chemical peel, dermabrasion, and laser skin resurfacing are methods that specifically address such problems. Each technique uses a different method of creating a superficial burn in the face. The new skin formed by the deeper layers will be tighter and have fewer wrinkles.
Laser skin resurfacing is similar to chemical peels and dermabrasion; however, the removal of the top layers of skin is performed with the use of laser light. Highly sophisticated technology has made it possible to precisely control the depth of skin that is removed by laser light. Therefore, the precision of this resurfacing technique makes it ideal for the treatment of wrinkles and sun damaged skin. Laser skin resurfacing offers a new and exciting alternative to chemical peel and dermabrasion for the treatment of photo aging, acne scars, and multiple superficial fine wrinkles.
With all these techniques, the immediate postoperative period is characterized by swelling of the face and treated areas. After a few days, this swelling will subside and the newly formed skin will emerge as a bright pink color, similar to intense sunburn. Your skin will remain sensitive for some time after these procedures, and you will have to wear sun block when going outdoors for several months, due to the sensitivity of the newly formed skin. Shortly after the procedure you will be able to wear make-up, and within a few weeks you may engage in strenuous activity.
The choice of the technique that is most suited for you may depend on your skin quality, tone, or color. The success of these procedures also may depend on these factors, as well as your lifestyle and heredity. On occasion, permanent pigment changes may result from these procedures. You should discuss with your surgeon what technique would be best for you.
Laser skin resurfacing is a procedure that helps counteract the effects of aging by removing the top layers of the skin of the face, thereby eliminating wrinkles, blemishes, and large facial pores. As we age, wrinkles occur in the corners of the eyes (laugh lines), the lip, or forehead. Such fine lines cannot be removed by classic facelift techniques or other methods of skin tightening. Resurfacing procedures, such as chemical peels, dermabrasions, and laser resurfacing, are methods that specifically address such problems. Each technique uses a different method of creating a superficial burn in the face. The new skin formed by the deeper layers will be tighter and have fewer wrinkles.
The purpose of the laser skin resurfacing procedure is to remove the signs of aging in the face by removing the top layers of the skin. The lower layers of the skin then create new skin that has fewer wrinkles, pores, and blemishes. The beneficial effects of laser skin resurfacing can vary, depending on the patient's anatomy and lifestyle. In addition, the depth of the wrinkles, pores, and color differences in the skin will be important in the result achieved.
In the first consultation, you will have a chance to discuss your concerns with our patient care coordinators and Dr. Marefat. We will explain what you need to know about your procedure and help to determine what is best for you. You will receive information booklets, review before and after photographs, and receive pricing on the procedure.
We usually perform this procedure in an outpatient surgical facility with the patient under general anesthesia. The skin of the face is treated with a laser. The laser creates a superficial facial burn that causes the top layers of the skin to peel off. The skin cells that are in the lower layers of the skin will then regenerate a new skin layer that has fewer wrinkles, pores, and pigmented spots. You can think of it as laser-induced “sunburn” that peels your skin. The new skin of the face will be tighter, giving the effect of a facelift without the scars.
There will be a moderate amount of swelling with laser skin resurfacing. You cannot do this procedure and plan to go back to work the following week. Most patients elect to take 2 weeks off from work. This would give them adequate time to recover sufficiently from the procedure and to be seen without drawing attention. Although most of the evidence of treatment will have has disappeared by the end of the 3rd week, the ultimate result of laser skin resurfacing will not be evident until at least 5 or 6 months have passed. You should expect a moderate degree of redness in the facial skin during this period, which will slowly resolve. This is because lasers create new vessel growth in the skin and give a blush to the face. As this blush subsides, you will have a lighter color in the area that was treated, as compared to your natural skin color. This depigmentation results from all resurfacing procedures to one extent or another. There is a greater degree of depigmentation with deep treatment. You will also remain very sensitive to sunlight and, therefore, we recommend using sun block to protect the skin from direct sunlight.
With laser resurfacing there are no sutures.
We like to see our patients frequently after treatment. You are seen by the doctor or nurse within 2-3 days of the procedure. Then the normal routine is 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months after treatment. Of course, if there is a need, you are seen as many times as necessary. We encourage our patients to come in for routine follow-up visits every 3-5 years.
You should be able to put make-up on your bruises after one week.
The ideal candidate for laser skin resurfacing is a person with good facial skeletal structure but loose and sagging skin. There is no definite age category when the procedure should be done.
In general, the ideal candidate for plastic surgery is a self-motivated patient who has realistic expectations about the results. Generally, the younger you are the better a candidate you are for treatment. A person’s physiological age is more important than his or her chronological age. That is to say, you may be 60 years old, but your skin and general health may be better than that of most 50 year olds.
You can pay for your treatment by certified check, credit card, or cash. Payment for cosmetic surgery is expected prior to any procedure. If you are scheduled for a procedure several weeks in advance, you may pay by personal check.
With laser skin resurfacing there should not be any scars. Scarring may occur if the skin has been deeply treated and the regenerating cells have been destroyed. This is why very deep pock marks or deep wrinkles cannot be completely effaced.
Yes. However, the pain involved in laser skin resurfacing procedures is very tolerable. We have heard our patients describe it as “discomfort” or “soreness.” Many patients do not finish the pain medications prescribed to them for pain relief. Having said that, remember that pain is very subjective, and it is not easy to predict what degree of pain you will have.
If you are having a regular laser skin resurfacing procedure, you will be asleep. It is to your advantage to be comfortable and have an anesthesiologist monitor your heart and lungs. This would also help the surgeon because he can concentrate on his work and accomplish what he wishes to do with expediency.
Laser skin resurfacing is performed in an outpatient surgical facility in Virginia under general anesthesia. Only in rare situations, in which the patient may have medical risk factors, does Dr. Marefat suggest a hospital environment. In certain cases, where the area being treated is very small and amenable to local anesthesia, you may have the procedure done in the office.
Yes. In all cosmetic and reconstructive cases medical photos are taken. Photographs are mandatory. This is the only way for us to compare your status before the procedure to your results. Photographs in plastic surgery serve much the same role that x-rays serve for orthopedic surgery.
Dr. Marefat and the staff at Metropolitan Plastic Surgery would be happy to help you set up a private consultation to discuss laser skin resurfacing in Virginia. Schedule an appointment online or call one of our locations, our Arlington, Virginia office at 703-516-7600 or our Woodbridge, Virginia office at 703-560-9583.
Dr. Marefat offers a number of financial assistance programs and payment programs to cover the cost of laser skin resurfacing in Virginia. Please visit the Patient Financing section of our website for more details or ask the staff at Metropolitan Plastic Surgery about these options so you can get started with laser skin resurfacing in Virginia today.