All Fractional CO2 Laser techniques are not created equal!

What I appreciate most about the newer fractional CO2 lasers are their ability to be adjusted to give a fractional CO2 treatment or a fully ablative treatment. Since first using the CO2 laser for skin rejuvenation in 1995, I’ve been used to offering patients a fully ablative CO2 laser treatment that consistently gets rid of most of the wrinkles and lasts for 7-10 years or longer.

Since most people have the same ‘problem areas’ – the areas around the mouth and the eyes – I have developed a unique method of using the fractional CO2 laser to treat these problem areas with a full ablation and the rest of the face with a fractional treatment.

The flexibility of the fractional CO2 laser enables me to offer most of the benefits of traditional CO2 laser resurfacing, but under local anesthesia in an office operating room setting, avoiding general anesthesia and prolonged downtime. This is a much more effective treatment than that which can be usually be offered by a nurse in a medspa or a physician with less laser experience.

The benefits to the patient are:

  • Immediate shrinkage of damaged skin
  • Minimal discomfort with topical anesthetic
  • Minimal downtime
  • Softening of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Removal of age and sun spots
  • New collagen production for up to one year following treatment

Fractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing Frequently Asked Questions

What is fractional CO<sub>2</sub> laser rejuvenation?

The CO2 laser has been used for more than 25 years in the aesthetic industry for treatment of conditions such as fine and deep wrinkles, scars of various origins, uneven pigmentation and dilated pores. When the CO2 beam of light comes in contact with the epidermis it heats and vaporizes the skin tissue, instantly removing the superficial layers of the skin, scars and wrinkles while smoothing out the surface of the skin. The skin remodeling occurs with new skin and collagen growth.

How does it work?

The fractional CO2 laser gives the physician more control to regulate the depth of penetration and the amount of heat delivered by the beam. The high speed scanner, driven by a patented pending algorithm divides the treatment area into four quadrants or “fractions” and skips the beam from quadrant to quadrant so that each strike is separated by the longest possible interval. This process is repeated until the entire area is treated. Dividing energy this way allows maximum time for thermal cooling of the tissue, less pain for the patient and faster recovery! Compared to traditional resurfacing of the past this is a big step in technology for the patient and the physician!

How is this different than other laser treatments?

The fractional CO2 laser delivers more results in a 30-minute treatment than many competitors can accomplish in 3 treatments for less discomfort, downtime and cost.

Does it hurt?

We apply topical anesthetic and occasionally local anesthetic to certain areas to maximize comfort. Oral sedation is available for those with drivers, although this is not necessary. Discomfort during the procedure varies according to the level of treatment individual pain tolerance. At most, minor temporary discomfort, similar to a sunburn, may be experienced.

What are the risks?

Erythema (redness of skin); the laser-treated areas have a distinctive redness representing increased blood flow due to the growth of the superficial tissue and collagen. It will gradually fade during the first few days. Inflammation (swelling); Treatment with the MiXto System presents a minimal amount of swelling that can last up to 24 hours. Hyperpigmentation (tanning); This occurs after the third day of the procedure but then begins to shed and reveal younger healthy looking skin. A personal interview and clinical examination will be conducted to obtain relevant facts about your medical and dermatologic history, and any medications you are currently taking or have taken in the past. If you are prone to cold sores, you need to ask your doctor for an antivirius prescription before the treatment. Fractional CO2 treatment has been proven safe for the face, neck, chest and hands. The laser is a tool and when used correctly the risk of complications is exceedingly rare.

How long is recovery?

Depending on the intensity of the treatment, patients can be ready to go back to work the next day, but it depends on the patient and their lifestyle. Typical downtime is 5-10 days. See a typical patient’s recovery time.

What is the recovery like?

The patient is red and can be swollen the next day. On the second, third and fourth day the patient is peeling and can experience a little itchiness typical to a sunburn. During this time, the skin peel revealing new rejuvenated skin with improved texture. Your skin will still look pink with mild swellling to up to 2 weeks.

When do you see the results?

Right away! When we are doing the procedure you can immediately see the skin contract and shrink. The patient will really see the benefits by the time the skin is completely peeled and will continue to see results for up to six months with new collagen regeneration that “plumps” up the skin.

Is it just for the face or can it be used on other areas of the body?

It is most commonly used on the face but can be used on neck, chest, arms and hands.

What is the cost?

Fractional CO2 laser rejuvenation treatments are generally $3500 for a one-time full-face treatment, which includes all visits, surgeon’s fee and facility fee. Prices may very with smaller or additional areas.

How long will the results last?

You will see changes and improvements in the texture and quality of your skin for the first six months. After that you will continue the natural aging process. With proper skin care and sun-screen, your fractional laser treatment will last several years or more.

Are men good candidates?

Men are very good candidates for laser procedures. In fact, men’s thicker skin heals much faster and with less redness than woman’s more delicate skin.

How long do I have to stay out of the sun?

Common sense is the rule here. With suncsreen applied to the skin and a hat, patients can safely be under the sun relatively quickly, in most cases by the end of the first week. Of course, sun-bathing is strongly discouraged. The treated areas should be particularly well-protected with sunscreen until the pinkness is completely gone.

When can makeup be worn?

Patients can begin wearing makeup to cover the treated areas 4-7 days after the procedure.