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We speak to patients every month that have been disappointed with the results of their laser resurfacing procedures, specifically Fraxel laser resurfacing.

When asked about the details of the procedure, it’s very common to have the patient describe only being numbed with topical numbing cream and having little to no bleeding. These two details – the type of anesthesia and the amount of bleeding – are key to determining what kind of procedure was done and also why it may have been disappointing.

If the only anesthetic offered is a topical numbing cream, then we know that the resurfacing procedure is a very superficial one. The reason is that deep resurfacing cannot be offered without other forms of anesthetic such as valium, vicodin, dental blocks (mouth) and direct inject lidocaine (other areas) because it would be too painful. So, if you’ve had laser resurfacing with only a topical numbing cream, then you’ve had a very superficial resurfacing with limited potential benefits. The depth of the resurfacing will affect how well the acne scars are revised. If the procedure is too superficial, no bleeding will occur and results will be limited. On the other hand if significant bleeding does occur, then the procedure was deeper and results will be better.

Below is an example of what the 7 day recovery process looks like for a deep resurfacing for acne scars. If yours did not look anything like this, then it’s likely you had a very superficial resurfacing procedure.


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