Fractional laser resurfacing is an exciting new area in laser treatment of the skin. Traditionally, the CO2 laser has been considered the “gold standard” for improvement of wrinkles and pigmentation on the facial skin. There is no question standard CO2 treatment is the most effective for improving deep wrinkles on the face. Unfortunately, such an improvement comes at a cost. The procedure requires general anesthesia or intravenous sedation, thus increasing the cost and risk of the procedure. The face will have a superficial burn (deeper than a bad sun burn) for approximately 7-10 days, and redness or discoloration of the skin may be apparent for months.
There are patients, however, who have finer facial lines and lighter pigmentation. This population is an ideal candidate for the fractional (typically known as Fraxel) laser resurfacing.
As opposed to standard laser where the entire skin is “burned” with each zapping of the machine, the fractional laser “skips” areas. Thus each zap results in areas of normal skin mixed with lasered skin. This allows the healing process to be quicker, with less chance of redness or discoloration. In majority of patients, the need for general or intravenous anesthesia is alleviated.
I prefer the Mixto fractional laser since it requires one to two treatments vs. the current Fraxel lasers which require 3-5 treatments. The treatments are spaced 3-6 months apart, depending on the patient’s healing. I have performed the procedure with topical anesthesia, with no need for general anesthesia.
Michael A. Jazayeri, M.D. is a board certified plastic surgeon with over 10 years of experience. To schedule a complimentary consultation, please call 714-834-0101.