Laser resurfacing is a procedure in which a laser is used to resurface the skin of the face, neck or chest. We use the Sciton Erbium laser which is the latest technology available for laser resurfacing.
Laser resurfacing can improve (not eliminate) fine lines, wrinkles and skin irregularities. It can also assist in minimizing the appearance of hyperpigmentation (dark spots) and age spots.
When you come in for your initial consultation you will meet with Dr. Maloney, one of our certified medical laser technicians and one of our patient coordinators. Dr. Maloney will discuss your goals and examine you to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. He will discuss details of the laser procedure, show you before and after photos and answer any questions you may have. One of our laser technicians will review the pre-operative and post-operative laser protocols with you including the products you will need to use. One of our coordinators will review the fees associated with the procedure, the financing options and answer additional questions you may have. If you choose to have the laser procedure performed, you will return for another consultation about three weeks prior to your scheduled procedure to meet with our team to prepare your skin for the laser. At this appointment you will meet with Dr. Maloney to review consent forms and answer any questions you still have. One of our laser technicians will then review all of your surgical instructions, take your pre-operative photos and give you a packet of information so when you leave this appointment you will have everything you need for your procedure.
Once you have met with Dr. Maloney and have chosen date for your laser resurfacing, you should plan for your care and recovery after the procedure. You will need to arrange a ride to and from the procedure as well as arrange for someone to stay with you for the first few hours. You should take one to two weeks off of work for this operation depending on the type of work you perform. Please speak to one of our experienced laser technicians for more specific information about how much time to take off of work. If paperwork is required by your employer for your time off, please obtain it ahead of time and bring it to our office. If you smoke, you must quit a minimum of three weeks before surgery. We suggest six to eight weeks, but three weeks is the minimum. Smokers heal more slowly and can have wound healing problems. We cannot perform an aggressive laser resurfacing procedure if you smoke. If you take aspirin or any other medication that causes bleeding, you should stop taking it three weeks before your laser procedure. All medications, herbs, vitamins and dietary supplements you are taking should be carefully reviewed with Dr. Maloney prior to surgery.
At your pre-operative consultation you will be given your prescriptions. Get these prescriptions filled before surgery because you will need them the morning of your procedure. Bags of frozen peas or corn work well as icepacks after your procedure. You should also avoid alcohol and refrain from smoking. You need to stay hydrated, so have plenty of water or sports drinks around the house. We suggest you begin a stool softener as narcotic pain medication can make you constipated.
The day of the laser procedure you will arrive one hour before your scheduled procedure time. Please take your prescribed medication when you get to the office. One of our laser technicians will apply a topical numbing medication to your face. You will be waiting here with the numbing medication to take affect for about an hour, so please bring something to read, knit, etc. You will need someone to drive you home from your procedure because of the medications you will be taking.
You will be here in our office for about 2 ½ hours for laser resurfacing. This includes the one hour to numb the skin, the laser procedure itself and the time to cool the skin and apply a dressing. When you arrive at the office, a topical numbing medication will be applied to your face. About an hour later, your face will be cleaned by one of our laser technicians. Dr. Maloney will then inject the numbing medication for your comfort. He will place protective eye shields in your eyes and the laser procedure will begin. After the laser procedure, cool compresses are applied and a topical dressing is placed.
You will apply a non-occlusive dressing to your face for the first five days to keep your face moist. You may wash with a mild cleanser. We will provide you with both the non-occlusive dressing and the mild cleanser. Applying cool compresses helps cool the skin and can help with the itching and/or discomfort. Your face will be red and peel for three to five days. You can apply a moisturizer and sunscreen after the fourth day. Your face will be pink, similar to a sunburn for ten to fourteen days. After seven days you may use make-up. Avoid exfoliation (Retin-A, facials, microdermabrasion) for six weeks. You may start back on your Hydroquinone at three weeks. Your follow-up appointment should be made with our certified medical laser technicians three to four weeks after the laser. If you have any questions during the recovery phase, please do not hesitate to call the office any time, day or night.
The laser resurfacing will smooth (not eliminate) fine lines and wrinkles. Final results are not seen for about three to six months after the collagen stimulation takes place.
Laser resurfacing has risks, and it is the patient’s personal decision whether the benefits outweigh those risks. More commonly seen risks include hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, uneven tone/texture, and need for additional procedures. There are also more uncommon risks such as scaring, burning of the skin, abrasion of the cornea, etc. For a full list of risks, go towww.plasticsurgery.org.
Dr. Maloney is a Harvard trained, board certified plastic surgeon who returned to his home town of Tucson, AZ to open Maloney Plastic Surgery in 2002.