Laser Resurfacing

Patients with significant wrinkles, acne scarring, or uneven skin surface texture or pigmentation on the face may benefit from laser resurfacing.

This procedure involves application of controlled laser energy to facial skin. With repeated passes of this energy, incremental tissue layers are removed.

Over about one week after surgery, epithelial cells sprout from their remaining nests at the base of adnexal tissues such as sweat glands, sebaceous glands, and hair follicles. At that time, the skin becomes resurfaced with new skin; it will remain pink for some time thereafter.

The best candidates for this procedure are fair or moderately fair complected, and non-smokers.

Pigmentary changes occur after laser resurfacing; they are most pronounced in patients with olive colored or darker skin.

Fair skinned patients may develop hypopigmentation, or pale coloration at the site of laser resurfacing. For this reason, generally the entire face is treated, to avoid visible regions of demarcation of pigmentation.

Often, antiviral medications such as Valtrex are prescribed before surgery to reduce the likelihood of development of fever blisters after this procedure.

This procedure is performed by Dr. Casso under general anesthesia at Houston Methodist St. John Hospital. While this procedure is sometimes performed under local anesthesia in outpatient facilities and doctors’ offices, Dr. Casso recommends general anesthesia at Houston Methodist St. John Hospital, which provides the patient with a comfortable surgical experience, and close, expert nursing attention, treatment of postoperative nausea, if present, and immediate medical attention in the event of any unforeseen emergency. The option for surgery in a full-service, state-of-the-art facility such as Houston Methodist St. John provides patients with a measure of safety and security which is unmatched.

Treating the entire face typically takes about an hour. The face is coated liberally with a bland lubricating ointment such as Aquaphor following the procedure.

Patients go home in the afternoon on the day of surgery. Pain is moderate, and controlled with oral pain medication.

Post-operative treatment, including cleansing, maintenance of lubrication, and sun avoidance, facilitates healing, which occurs in seven to 10 days. Redness will last from one to six months, and hypoallergenic makeup can be worn when healing is complete in about seven to 10 days.

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