What is the CO2 Fraxel Laser?
The CO2 laser is the gold standard for laser skin resurfacing in order to treat the effects of facial skin aging. The latest laser technology, the fractional CO2 laser, offers many of the benefits of the full face CO2 laser, with a fraction of the downtime. The laser is used to treat the effects of sun damage on the skin as well as facial skin aging. The laser can provide skin tightening, is used to treat dyschromia (brown spots and skin discoloration), even out the skin tone and color, remove fine lines and wrinkles, and to reduce the size of large pores.
How does the CO2 Fraxel laser work?
Fractionated Carbon dioxide lasers produce a beam of infrared light that can target the area precisely and results in no bleeding. Lasers, including carbon dioxide lasers, work by producing short pulses of a single wavelength of light. These pulses last less than a millisecond or one thousandth of a second. This light is extremely intense. It injures the skin in a specified area; consequently this injury causes skin cells to reproduce more rapidly to heal the injury. Deep Wrinkle improvement or acne scar improvement is limited because of the way (CO2) lasers work. They produce heat and to treat the deeper wrinkles or acne scars, more heat is required.
How long does this laser treatment last?
This will depend on your skin type, which areas you want addressed and the amount of downtime that you prefer. Most patients require 2-3 treatments spaced two months apart. You will see gradual improvement in the appearance of your skin immediately after the initial healing phase is complete at about 5 days. The CO2 laser stimulates collagen production in the dermis (deep skin layer) that helps fill in the fine lines of your face. Collagen build up takes up to 6 months to complete.
How long does this laser treatment take?
Typically this treatment will take one hour.
How long will my results last?
THe final results of the Fraxel CO2 laser are permanent!
Are there any side effects?
- Postoperative pain, swelling, itching and tightness and discoloration. The side effects must be differentiated from complications which might include persistent redness of the face and prolonged healing, infection or allergic reaction to the topical ointments used after the laser resurfacing.
The Fraxel CO2 laser is most commonly used for:
- Loose skin around the eyes
- Fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes.
- Perioral rhytids which are the fine lines of the upper lip and lower lip.
- Treat the entire face in order to improve the appearance of your fine lines, wrinkles, the skin tone, skin color, and skin texture
- Deep acne scarring
What makes the fractional CO2 laser different from the traditional CO2 laser treatment?
There is no question that the CO2 laser is the gold standard laser for facial skin resurfacing. However, despite unparalleled results, the traditional CO2 laser treated 100% of the skin and resulted in a long recovery process. It took up to 3 months for the skin to heal and this often resulted in a permanent skin lightening.
Fractional CO2 technology applies the same principles as the traditional laser, however modern computer technology has made it possible for the beam to be fractionated. What this means is that rather than treating the entire surface area of the skin, only a fraction of the skin is treated (for example 30% of the skin instead of 100%). In doing so, the laser leaves behind healthy and intact skin bridges, in between the treated areas. This allows for rapid healing of the skin while still maintaining the excellent results of CO2 laser technology.
How many treatments will I need?
Only one treatment is necessary for the vast majority of patients.
What kind of anesthesia will you use?
The CO2 laser is extremely effective because it is an ablative laser that targets the deepest layers of the skin. Since the laser penetrates the deep skin to stimulate collagen production, Dr. Shahwill administer both a topical (on the skin) anesthetic as well as a local anesthetic (similar to when you go to the dentist). This will assure that you are very comfortable during the procedure. Some of our patients elect to have the fractional laser performed under twilight anesthesia / IV sedation.
Will I have any pain afterwards?
No. Most patients say that the laser feel like a sun burn for about two hours after the procedure is completed. Once this goes away, you will have no pain.
Is there such a thing as a laser eyelid lift?
Yes. Our fractional CO2 laser can produce substantial tightening of the upper and lower eyelids and may be a substitute as a laser blepharoplasty (eyelid lift). During your consultation, we will determine if the laser will be able to give you the results that you desire.
What about a laser brow lift?
The brows can be elevated with the laser. Immediately during the procedure, skin tightening that results in brow elevation is seen as the laser is applied to the skin. This can effectively raise the eyebrow. However, it is important to understand that there is a limit to how much of a brow lift you can achieve with the laser. We will help you determine if this is the right procedure for you.
Will the laser work on acne scars?
Yes. The fractional CO2 is an excellent tool to treat acne scarring. Dr. Shah can help you with your acne scars and will direct your treatment depending on what kind of acne scars you have
Is it safe for all skin types and colors?
Yes. One of the advantages of the fractional CO2 laser is that it is safe on almost all skin types.
Do you perform the fractional CO2 laser on out of town patients?
Yes. Patients fly in routinely to have surgery and laser procedures performed by Dr. Shah. Our office will help you coordinate your visit and stay in the great city of Chicago!
Can this be combined with any other procedures?
Yes. The CO2 laser can be combined with other surgical procedures such as a facelift, fat grafting, rhinoplasty, revision rhinoplasty, etc.