The Carbon Dioxide Laser has been around since the early 1990’s. Dr. Edwin F. Williams has extensive experience with the CO2 laser since 1994. One of the primary uses of the CO2 laser is skin resurfacing, and during the “90’s” it was the craze to have your doctor perform laser treatments. Since that time, we have refined our knowledge as to which people are the ideal candidates for treatment. This procedure is best suited for those with deep wrinkling and acne scarring, and it can be used in conjunction with dermabrasion for scarring. While the procedure is now performed less often, it remains the gold standard for deep skin resurfacing.
In this procedure, the CO2 laser is used to vaporize the top layers of skin that are involved with scarring or wrinkling. The underlying skin is then able to heal “from the bottom up” with a fresh new appearance. The result is tighter, more smooth, and more vibrant skin. It does take time before people achieve this final result, and CO2 laser resurfacing normally causes a temporary pinkness of the skin for 2-3 months. One possible shortcoming after the procedure is abnormal skin pigmentation, and for this reason, ideal candidates are fair skinned individuals.
The procedure is performed in the operating room, usually with IV sedation. It is a “day surgery”, meaning people go home after the procedure. Immediately after the procedure, there is a mesh dressing on the face, which serves to soothe the skin and encourage healing. This is removed within the first few days after surgery. Afterward people are encouraged to apply an ointment to the face, to maintain moisture as the skin heals. During this initial healing period, people often experience a stinging or burning sensation. This may initially require pain medication, but people quickly transition away from medication as the skin heals during the first week after the procedure. People typically resume their normal activities during the second week after the procedure.