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Pro-fractional 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. The pro-fractional differs from the fully ablative laser procedures in that with pro-fractional, only a fraction of the skin is affected within the field of the laser. So if the fully ablative laser removes a layer of skin such as a cheddar cheese slice, the pro-fractional removes a layer similar to a slice of swiss cheese. Because there is unaffected skin surrounding each of the “holes” created by the laser, the pro-fractional recovery is 4-5 times faster than that of the fully ablative procedure.
Pro-fractional 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 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, your Certified Medical Laser Technician will review your VECTRA photographs and examine you to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. They will discuss details of the procedure, show you before-and-after photos and answer any questions you may have.
If you choose to have a laser resurfacing performed, you will schedule to come back for the procedure. Typically laser procedures are not performed the same day as your initial consultation.
Once you have met with one of our Certified Medical Laser Technicians and choose a date for your pro-fractional laser resurfacing, you should plan for your care and recovery Plan to take one to ten weeks off work after this procedure, depending on the type of work you do and the depth of the laser resurfacing. Our team will assist you in determining how much time you will need to take off.
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.
You will arrive one hour before your scheduled procedure time. Your technician 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. After about an hour we will bring you back to the laser room where your technician will make final preparations for the procedure. The topical numbing medication will be removed and the laser procedure will begin.
Pro-fractional 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 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 1-5 days to keep your facial skin moist. You may wash with a mild cleanser. Our team may have you use vinegar soaks to speed up the recovery process depending on the depth of your laser procedure. Applying cool compresses helps cool the skin and can help reduce itching and/or discomfort. Your face will be red and peel for 1 to 5 days. Apply a moisturizer and sunscreen after the fourth day. Your face will be pink, similar to a sunburn, for 3 to 14 days depending on the depth of your procedure. 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. Light to medium depth wrinkles will be significantly softer or even eliminated. Your skin will appear more youthful, refreshed and bright.
Pro-fractional 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.