Laser Resurfacing (Face, Hands, and Neck)

Laser Skin Resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing is a technique used to rejuvenate damaged or ageing skin and to improve scarring left after severe acne. It is extremely effective in reducing wrinkle lines around the eyes and mouth region and moderately effective in the glabellar and forehead regions. It is not, however, an alternative to face lift surgery, which is, still the treatment of choice in patients with excessive redundant skin particularly around the jowl and neck areas. A combination of facelift and laser resurfacing often yields the best results.

Excessive skin of the upper lids is best treated with routine blepharoplasty techniques. Fat herniation of the lower lids can now be removed surgically via a transconjunctival approach and the skin excess firmed. This has the advantage of leaving the patient without any visible scarring on the lower lids. Acne scars can be improved with laser resurfacing, yielding excellent results superior to the alternative laser resurfacing techniques available.

Patients with a history of pigmentation with pregnancy and medications, radiation exposure, collagen and vascular disorders and those on treatment with Roaccutane are generally not suitable for laser resurfacing. The major complication with this procedure is an increase or loss of pigmentation once healed, and darker skinned individuals are more susceptible. Scarring is a rare complication that can largely be avoided with an experienced operator.

Pre-operatively the patient is given antiviral tablets to prevent cold sores (if resurfacing is to be performed around the mouth) and may or may not require an anti-pigment cream. Laser resurfacing treatments may be performed on its own, and is often used in conjunction with Face Lifting to reduce fine wrinkle lines. The procedure may be performed under local anaesthesia and sedation or under general anaesthesia. With the introduction of newer lasers (Erbium or combined Erbium and Carbon Dioxide) complications have been significantly reduced as well as post-operative discomfort and redness.

Healing takes place within five to seven days and redness lasts a further two to three weeks. The most important factor in attaining a good result is patient selection. The paler one’s skin is the more predictable is the result and the less the chances are of complications.

Hospital stay is one day and recovery is seven to ten days.

Plastic Surgeon Dr. Saul Braun operates from the Netcare Rosebank Hospital, situated in the up-market Northern Suburbs of Johannesburg.

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