With the passage of time and constant exposure of our skin to the weather, we develop fine intrinsic, spider-web type wrinkles, the “crows feet” around our eyes, the vertical wrinkles of the upper lips and diffuse or patchy pigmentation of the facial skin. As well, some of us will have scars from acne or pigmentation from hormone treatment or pregnancy.
Laser Resurfacing of the skin is the best presently available technology to ameliorate these effects of ageing. The skin regains a youthful fullness in place of the old wrinkles: a rewarding and frequently dramatic change. It may even help the “dark circles” which some people have under their eyes.
The laser treatment vaporizes superficial skin layers and then stimulates new collagen formation beneath the skin. This new collagen develops slowly over several months. As it does this, the fullness of the skin improves and the wrinkles progressively decrease.
REASONS FOR SURGERY:
Dr Wallace performs Laser Resurfacing surgery for the following reasons:
- To reduce and remove fine weathering wrinkles
- To reduce and remove upper lip vertical creases
- To tighten lower eyelid skin
- To reduce and remove superficial pigmentation
- To improve the appearance of acne scars
- To lighten ‘dark circles’ around the eyes
RISKS OF SURGERY:
This surgery is associated with a low risk of complications. The specific risks of Laser Resurfacing surgery of which you should be aware are:
- Unwanted pigmentation or loss of pigmentation. Deeper treatments are more risky. It is better to have several lighter treatments.
- Infection. Conscientious post-op care prevents this complication. Patients with past ‘cold sores’ must take prophylactic medication.
- Scarring. Conservative lighter treatments minimize the risk of this complication.
General Anaesthesia is the routine for this operation although small areas can be treated under Local Anaesthesia (e.g. the upper lip).
Dr. Wallace performs Laser Resurfacing in a hospital or Day Surgery facility. The laser beam is directed at the skin to be treated and short bursts of high-energy light cause vaporization of the superficial layers. Thicker skin requires more passes of the laser beam. On completion of the treatment, an occlusive dressing of Vaseline™ protects the skin from dehydration.
Patients may go home as soon as recovery from anaesthesia is complete. Simple analgesics are sufficient for any discomfort. The treated skin needs regular washing with a bland soap followed by a reapplication of Vaseline™. Primary healing takes one week and redness has a variable duration from 4 to 8 weeks. An office appointment is scheduled for one week post-op and all patients take this week off work. Further visits in the office are scheduled at 3, 6 and 12 months post-op. Careful protection from the sun for laser-treated skin is critically important during this first 12 months.
Laser Resurfacing surgery is often combined with other procedures such as Blepharoplasty.
The vast majority of patients will be delighted. The results are generally very good and improvement usually lasts for many years. Some skins are more favourable than others with fair complexions tending to do better than dark ones. Thick, tough, more deeply etched skin will need two or more applications.