Laser Resurfacing Surgery
SERVING SCOTTSDALE AND PHOENIX, ARIZONA
Why Choose Laser Resurfacing
A person’s face gradually changes over time in very predictable ways. During a person’s 20’s they tend to have fairly round faces. This fullness is due to excess facial fatty tissue. As a person ages this fat tends to dissipate, most notably in the cheek region. This fatty tissue regression allows for better facial definition and higher cheekbone appearance. These changes are typically seen in a person’s 30’s and 40’s. As a person continues to age their facial tissue becomes less elastic and they continue to loose facial volume. Wrinkles begin to develop on the forehead and around the eyes. A person’s eyebrows begin to sag. The skin and fat around the eyes themselves begins to droop.
The lines around the mouth become more prominent, especially in people who are smokers or who have spent considerable amounts of time in the sun. The tissue around the jaw line also sags to the point that “jowling” and a “turkey-neck” may develop.
Facial aesthetic surgery serves to correct all or some of these changes. When you meet with Dr. Parson the two of you will look in a mirror and he will ask you “what are the things about your appearance that bother you and you and what things would like to change?” Dr. Parson feels that facial surgery should leave patients with a refreshed look without making them look “plastic”. “I don’t want patients to have anyone think they have had plastic surgery”, says Dr. Parson, “I just want family and friends to compliment them on their new appearance without realizing why they look so much better.”
Laser resurfacing is a procedure that specifically addresses the wrinkles that develop over time on the face. It usually targets wrinkles around the mouth and eyes. Laser resurfacing will help to soften and smooth the skin so that these wrinkles are no longer present. Unlike other resurfacing procedures, laser can be used on the entire face. Laser resurfacing removes the outer (epidermis) of skin and also resurfaces portions of the lower skin levels (dermis). The heat generated from lasers also offers the ability to tighten the skin by shrinking collagen fibers. The two most commonly used laser types are the CO2 (Carbon dioxide) Ultrapulse Laser, and the Erbium Laser.
Another key area where laser resurfacing can be used is to improve acne scars or others scars left from previous surgeries trauma. Deep acne scars leave “pits” or a generalized “waviness” to the facial skin. Laser resurfacing can help to smooth and erase these areas of unevenness.
The First Laser Resurfacing Office Visit
The first office visit is a time when both you and Dr. Parson can become acquainted with one another. Dr. Parson will listen to your specific concerns and goals in regards to your face. You will also have a chance to meet with other members of Dr. Parson’s team. During the visit a thorough medical history and physical examination will be obtained. Dr. Parson will also use the state-of-the art TouchMD system. TouchMD is designed to help you, as a patient, be better informed and aware of your medical experiences. You will be given access to the mytouchmd.com web portal, which will allow you to relive the experience you had in the doctor’s exam room.
Dr. Parson will then develop a surgical plan that is specific to each patient. He will explain, in easy to understand terms, why certain procedures are better “fits” for each patient’s various situations. Dr. Parson will also discuss whether any additional facial procedures would be of benefit in your particular situation. Such procedures might include: brow lift, blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), or facial resurfacing to remove wrinkles around the mouth.
The Pre-Operative Laser Resurfacing Visit
It is important that plastic surgery patients take certain measures in the pre-operative period to decrease chances for potential complications. All of your medications will be reviewed prior to this period. Any medications that may cause surgical complications will be discontinued at least 2 weeks prior to operation. Any infections that arise prior to your operation, however seemingly trivial, should be reported to our office. Even an otherwise innocent infection can result in a surgical wound infection, and must be treated prior to facial aesthetic surgery. This is especially true when laser resurfacing is being performed for acne scars. It’s important to not perform laser resurfacing in the event of active acne infection as this may cause a worsening infection and in severe cases permanent scarring. It’s also very important to let Dr. Parson know if you have ever been treated with the drug ACCUTANE, as this could potentially effect your ability to heal following your procedure.
Appropriate prescription medications will be written well prior to your procedure. This allows you to have your medication when you return home from the operation.
Pre-operative photographs are taken at this appointment. These photos will be recorded in the TouchMD system so that you will also have access to them from home. These photos will serve as a marker for you to see the improvement from your facial aesthetic surgery afterwards. You will be asked to sign a surgical consent. The consent explains the potential risks of the procedure in detail. Some of these risks have been explained here, but more discussion will occur at the consultation.
You will need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from the surgery/recovery center. If you don’t have help available Dr. Parson’s office will be able to assist you.
The Day of Laser Resurfacing Plastic Surgery
All patients are required to register and check-in two hours before the scheduled surgery time. Patients are not allowed to have anything to eat or drink from midnight on the night before surgery. Dr. Parson prefers to perform laser resurfacing surgery with a general anesthetic. Our board-certified anesthesiologist feels that this method of anesthesia provides the greatest degree of patient satisfaction for this procedure. A laser resurfacing procedure usually takes 1.0-1.5 hours to perform. Dr. Parson meets with the patient one last time to review details and make surgical markings if needed. After being taken to the pre-operative area, a nurse will take a history, check vital signs and start an IV for fluids. After surgery, the patient remains in the recovery unit for about an hour and is discharged home.
The Post-Operative Laser Resurfacing Period
When Dr. Parson is finished with your surgery he will place you in a special post-operative dressing. Your head and face may initially be swollen, and bruised. This should quickly resolve over the following 7-10 days. Pain should not be severe, and is usually well controlled with the pain medication that is prescribed. Most patients describe the pain as nothing more than a dull headache with increased sensitivity in the lasered areas.
Two days following your surgery, Dr. Parson will see you in the office and he will remove your dressings. He will carefully examine all of the lasered areas to ensure that there are no problems or complications. Once the dressings are removed you will then be able to shower. Dr. Parson will provide you with any additional dressings and ointments at that time and instruct you in their use.
Sensation will gradually return over the next 6 to 8 weeks. It normally takes 10-14 days for all of the initial swelling to subside. Crusting will initially be present for the first 10 days. It is important to regularly clean your lasered areas with gentle soap and water to remove the crusting. After the crusting is finished you will notice fresh new pink skin. This pink color will gradually fade over the coming 6-8 weeks. It takes 1 to 2 years for the areas to mature and fade. Dr. Parson will ask that post-operative photos be taken at some point in time when adequate healing has occurred so that results can be compared to pre-operative photos.
Antibiotics are continued for 7 days after the procedure to lower the risk of infection. Any patients with a history of cold sores will also be placed on antiviral medications. Activity should be restricted to no lifting of greater than 20lbs for the first 4 weeks. Your face should not initially be manipulated in any way, unless recommended by Dr. Parson. One should be up and walking on the morning following surgery, and a regular diet may be begun to the point of tolerance.
Following your procedure it is imperative that you continue to protect your skin with a high quality sunscreen while outdoors. Dr. Parson will be able to help direct you to products that will be helpful in this area.
Risks of Laser Resurfacing
- Bleeding – Some bleeding is normal following this procedure. More significant bleeding is very uncommon and might require additional surgery to correct.
- Loss of skin sensation – loss of sensation is uncommon but it can occur. Sensation changes are usually only temporary, however, it may take up to two years for full sensation to return.
- Infection – The risk for post-operative wound infection following this procedure is usually less than 1%. Patients are given both pre-operative and post-operative antibiotics to decrease the possibility of infection.
- Pigmentation Changes – While it is normal to have early redness to the face, permanent pigment changes can occur. Dr. Parson will attempt to control this with post-treatment therapy but patients should avoid any significant sun exposure in the early phases of wound healing.
- Scar Formation –Laser resurfacing is a procedure performed to help remove scaring, however, in rare circumstances scarring can develop following the procedure. Dr. Parson will be able to discuss your specific potential for scarring based on your anatomy and history.
Schedule a Laser Resurfacing Consultation with Board Certified Dr. Parson Today
Laser resurfacing surgery is a comprehensive procedure that can help men and women erase both wrinkles and facial scars. If these facial issues have left you feeling dissatisfied with your appearance, schedule a consultation with the plastic surgeon Scottsdale patients trust, Dr. Shaun Parson. Call 480-282-8386 today.