As one of the most innovative and exciting scientific achievements in the dental and medical fields, laser technology is being utilized throughout many people in the health care community. At Loudoun Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, our doctors use one of the newest lasers, a superpulse carbon dioxide laser, to treat facial wrinkles, sun-damaged skin, and scars in an innovative procedure called laser skin resurfacing.

What Is a Laser?

The word “LASER” is actually an acronym that stands for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A surgical laser, such as the CO2 laser, is a beam of light that can effectively remove unwanted tissue, including lined, wrinkled, scarred, and otherwise imperfect skin. The CO2 laser vaporizes the excess skin cells by emitting bursts of radiation which are absorbed by water contained in these cells. Laser light only penetrates to a very precise, controlled depth, which makes the laser resurfacing procedure safe and predictable, while simultaneously reducing the risk of pigmentation or scarring problems. Laser skin resurfacing is bloodless and is performed by one of our doctors in our office while you are under light sedation. As a result of laser resurfacing, you are left with more youthful-looking skin.

What Areas Can Be Treated Through Laser Resurfacing?

The laser can be used to reduce acne scars, tiny wrinkles, and other minor skin imperfections, especially around the mouth and eyes. It can improve skin problems caused by acne and the sun that often cause concern to both women and men.

Benefits of Treatment

Laser resurfacing is an effective alternative to a chemical peel and dermabrasion. The benefits of using laser resurfacing include less discomfort for you and a faster recovery time.

Before Surgery

Prior to surgery, one of our doctors will sit with you and discuss your goals for facial improvement. After determining the appropriate procedure, we will fully describe what the procedure will involve and what to expect as far as cost and overall results. The skin is usually pre-treated with prescription ointments before surgery in order to encourage a faster healing time.

The Procedure

To ensure that you are comfortable throughout the procedure, we will apply a local anesthetic. The area in question is cleansed and draped. The doctor will direct the laser beam toward the imperfections in your skin. The laser accurately and quickly vaporizes the outermost layers of skin just four or five cells in thickness to provide you with the desired results.

What Can Be Expected?

In most cases, only one laser resurfacing treatment is needed. After a few weeks, the initial redness will fade to a light pink, which can be covered with cosmetics. The discoloration will usually completely disappear in one to three months. The ultimate goal of laser resurfacing is to enhance the appearance of your face, but you must remember that results should be seen as improvements rather than complete corrections. Results of the laser resurfacing procedure will depend on many factors including the shape, size, and location of the imperfection as well as the patient’s age, heredity, and general skin condition.