Laser resurfacing is a procedure in which a laser is used to resurface skin of the face, neck or chest. At Maloney Plastic Surgery we offer the Scition erbium laser which is the latest and most advanced laser in the market. What makes the Sciton laser different from the competitors is that it is “tunable”. This means we can make adjustments to the depth, pattern, heat input and other things that affect the final outcome. This allows us to do a very superficial peel all the way up to a very deep level of resurfacing. The recover times are also significantly less than the older Co2 lasers because the erbium laser used a different wave length that does not cause as much damage to the surrounding tissue.
Laser resurfacing can improve, but not eliminate, fine lines, wrinkles and skin irregularities. It can also help with hyperpigmentation (dark spots) and age spots.
When you come in for your initial consultation, you will meet with Dr. Maloney and one of our Certified Medical Laser Technicians. Maloney Plastic Surgery is one of the only practices in Tucson, AZ to offer VECTRA 3D (three-dimensional) technology to our patients. One of the first things we will do at your consultation is use VECTRA imaging technology to take a 3D image of your face. This exciting technology will allow us to “laser resurface” your face on the 3D image so you can see what results you can expect! We are excited and proud to offer this amazing technology to our patients.
After VECTRA imaging, the Dr. Maloney will review your VECTRA photographs and examine you to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. He will discuss details of the procedure, show you before-and-after photos and answer any questions you may have. Options for anesthesia will also be discussed at this time. With this procedure, most people choose to be awake; however, we do have patients that prefer to go be asleep. Our skincare and certified medical laser technicians will review the preoperative and postoperative laser protocols with you.
If you choose to have this procedure, you will return for another consultation about three weeks prior to the scheduled procedure to meet with our team and prepare your skin for the laser. At this appointment, you will also meet with Dr. Maloney. He will review the procedure plan with you, go through consent forms and give you your prescriptions for the procedure. Our Certified Medical Laser Technicians will go over all of your instructions and give you a packet of information so when you leave this appointment you will have everything you need for the procedure.
Once you have met with Dr. Maloney and our team of certified medical laser technicians and choose a date for your laser resurfacing, you should plan for your care and recovery Plan to take one to two weeks off work after this procedure, depending on the type of work you do (speak to the certified medical laser technician for more information). 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 laser resurfacing. We suggest six to eight weeks, but three weeks is the minimum. Smokers heal more slowly and can have wound healing problems.
At your pre-operative consultation you will be given your prescriptions. Get these prescriptions filled before surgery so they are at home when you need them. Pick up some bags of frozen peas or corn to use as icepacks after your procedure. You need to stay hydrated, so have plenty of water or sports drinks at home. Begin taking an over-the-counter stool softener because narcotic pain medication can make you constipated.
You will arrive one hour before your scheduled procedure time. You will take your prescribed medication when you get to the office. Dr. Maloney or a member of his staff 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 to and from your procedure because of the medications you will be taking. After about an hour we will bring you back to the procedure room where Dr. Maloney will make final preparations for the procedure. The topical numbing medication will be removed and Dr. Maloney will inject additional numbing medication before beginning the laser procedure.
Laser resurfacing takes about 2 hours. This includes the hour it takes to numb the skin, the laser procedure itself and the time required to cool the skin and apply an occlusive dressing. After Dr. Maloney injects the numbing medication, he will insert metal contact lenses into your eyes for safety to protect your eyes from the laser. The procedure can be quite uncomfortable for most people. After the laser procedure, cool compresses are applied and an occlusive dressing is placed on your face. We will have you remain in the laser room and cool for about 15-20 minutes before we allow you to go home.
You will apply a nonocclusive dressing to your face for the first 5 days to keep your facial skin moist. You may wash with a mild cleanser. We will provide you with the occlusive dressing and the mild cleanser. Our team will have you use vinegar soaks to speed up the recovery process. Applying cool compresses helps cool the skin and can help reduce itching and/or discomfort. Your face will be red and peel for 3 to 5 days. Apply a moisturizer and sunscreen after the fourth day. Your face will be pink, similar to a sunburn, for 10 to 14 days. After 7 days you may use make-up. Avoid exfoliation (Retin-A, facials, microdermabrasion) for 6 weeks. You may start back on your Hydroquinone after 2 weeks. Your follow-up appointment should be made with our certified medical laser technicians 3 to 4 weeks after the laser treatment. If you have any questions during the recovery phase, please call the office any time, day or night.
After the procedure, the tone, texture and discoloration of your skin will be improved. Medium to deep wrinkles will be significantly softer or even eliminated. Your skin will appear more youthful, refreshed and bright.
Laser resurfacing has risks, and it is your personal decision whether benefits outweigh the risks. Common risks include hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, uneven skin tone/texture and the need for additional procedures. Most of these are temporary. There are also more uncommon, complicated risks, such as scaring, burning of the skin, abrasion of the cornea, etc. For a full list of risks, go to www.plasticsurgery.org.
Dr. Maloney has some of the most Highly Qualified and Experienced Skin Care Specialists in Tucson.