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There are several procedures that can be used to rejuvenate facial skin, including chemical peels, dermabrasion, and CO2 laser skin resurfacing. Based on nearly two decades of experience, Dr. Harold Kaplan‘s technique of choice remains CO2 laser rejuvenation to smooth and tighten facial skin.
While this procedure is most commonly used to minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles around the eyes, mouth, cheeks, and forehead, it is also effective in treating sun-damaged precancerous skin, acne scars, and pigmentation.
CO2 laser skin resurfacing can be safely performed under local anesthesia in the office, if localized areas such as around the eyes or mouth are treated. If complete facial rejuvenation is indicated, general anesthesia is required at an outpatient surgical center. Additionally, CO2 laser skin resurfacing can be performed in conjunction with other facial surgical procedures; most often around the eyes and mouth at the time of cosmetic surgery. However, in the interest of patient safety, Dr. Harold Kaplan does not perform a laser rejuvenation on the skin of the cheeks at the time of a face lift since the skin in this area has been surgically lifted and the supply of blood is somewhat compromised. To avoid an increased risk of poor skin healing, if the patient requires a facelift and full-face CO2 laser resurfacing, the procedures will be performed, usually 3 to 6 months apart. The exception is the forehead, which can be raised and re-coated at the same time, due to the robust nature of the blood supply and the thickness of the soft tissues in this area.
After the procedure, the skin falls off for about a week, after which it turns red for several weeks and returns to its normal color in several months. The patient should avoid the sun until the skin is normal in color or at risk of unwanted hyperpigmentation. During the procedure, the laser safely removes sun-damaged skin layer by layer. The laser penetrates to a precise and controlled depth, reducing the risk of scarring or pigmentation problems. With healing, the outer layers of the skin grow back, collagen that thickens the skin is stimulated, and the skin tightens three-dimensionally, producing smoother, younger-looking facial skin.
The laser resurfacing treatment is a great option for deeper wrinkles and sun damage because: