An active life spent in the Australian sun can lead to a number of visible changes, despite how well we take care of our skin. The effects of sun exposure, natural loss of collagen and past lifestyle choices can leave their mark. Laser skin resurfacing can improve the appearance of your skin and help restore more even texture and tone.
Our experienced team enjoy finding the right solution to any skin problems you might have, and can discuss a variety of cosmetic, medical and surgical treatment options with you.
What can we treat?
One of the options for treating the appearance of ageing and sun-damaged skin is laser resurfacing. Most commonly our practitioners use lasers to improve the appearance of:
- Wrinkles around the eyes, cheeks, forehead
- Lines around your lips
- Sun damage and sun spots
- Uneven skin tone, pores and pigment
- Acne pitting or chicken pox scars
- Skin laxity
- Age spots and blemishes
- Facial scars
As our lasers are extremely precise, we have the freedom to target small specific areas of need on the face and neck. For others, whole face and or neck can be treated at one time – a total facial resurfacing – altering the modality according to the different skin requirements in different anatomical areas. Laser resurfacing is also commonly used to complement another procedure, such as a facelift or eyelid surgery. It is important to mention this type of treatment may not be suitable for everyone. Typically, fairer skin responds best to laser treatment, as the more pigment your skin contains the higher the risk of skin discolouration post procedure. Our Specialist Plastic Surgeons are available to evaluate your individual skin characteristics and rejuvenation goals to help determine if you would be a suitable candidate for this procedure.
How does Laser Resurfacing work?
At Adelaide Plastic Surgery we usually discuss two main types of lasers for our facial resurfacing procedures – Carbon Dioxide and Erbium lasers.
Essentially, both lasers act by delivering short bursts of controlled, high-energy laser light to the skin. Different settings can be used to remove damaged skin and even out tone on the surface (the epidermis) and stimulate collagen production in deeper layers (the dermis).
The specific wavelength emitted by each of these lasers is attracted to the water in your skin. On contact, it heats the water in the cells to a temperature that causes them to vaporise, taking off an extremely fine layer of skin. This process gives our surgeons the ability to precisely remove damaged or scarred skin in layers until only fresh undamaged skin is left, like peeling off the layers of an onion.
The UltraPulse carbon dioxide laser (Deep FX) delivers tiny beams of laser light to vaporise multiple pinpoint columns of damaged skin. By leaving little ‘bridges’ of untouched skin, this technique generally has a shorter healing process, and allows you to get back to normal activities sooner. This is known as ‘fractional resurfacing’. The UltraPulse can also be set to ‘sprinkle’ more superficial energy over the skin to even out the surface texture and tone (Active FX). Rather than creating tiny columns, the Erbium laser has a more uniform effect on the skin, but doesn’t penetrate as deep as the UltraPulse.
Both lasers have their advantages and specific uses, depending on your areas of concern.
Hospital Stay + Anaesthesia
To minimise discomfort, it is common for our laser resurfacing patients to require some anaesthetic. Depending on the areas being treated, local anaesthetic blocks and intravenous (twilight sedation or general anaesthetic) agents are used. Any procedure requiring anything other than simple local anaesthetic will be performed as an inpatient with a Specialist Anaesthetist in a Private Hospital. Laser resurfacing is typically performed as day surgery and does not require an overnight stay unless combined with another procedure. Sometimes it is appropriate to have laser resurfacing in the rooms in our accredited theatre with just a local anaesthetic. Your Plastic Surgeon will discuss this during the consultation and help determine which option is best for you.
Laser facial resurfacing treatment is only available with one of our specialist plastic surgeons. During your consult, you will have opportunity to discuss with the surgeon any specific skin concerns you have and the pros and cons of different treatment modalities, and discuss your suitability for the procedure. (Don’t forget to tell us if you have had a cold sore in the past, as prophylactic medication may be required)
You will then meet with one of our experienced laser-trained nurses. You will have clinical images taken in our blue room as a before and after reference for both yourself and your surgeon (please note that all our images are confidential and are securely stored).
The final stage involves meeting with your surgeon’s personal assistant. At this time, you will be given a detailed quote, outlining the surgeon, hospital and anaesthetist fees (if required), along with some clinical information on the procedure to take home.
We recommend that you allow up to an hour for the initial consultation. Please keep this in mind when organising parking so that you don’t feel the need to rush.
There is a lot of information to take in during your first consultation. We encourage our patients to go home and think about the procedure, discuss it with trusted others and then see us for a second, usually shorter, consultation. We find our patients almost always return with additional questions they hadn’t originally considered. This second visit allows you to go into your surgery feeling confident and fully informed about your procedure.
What can I expect after my treatment?
It is expected that you may feel pain and discomfort in the first 24 hours post treatment. This will vary depending on the intensity of the procedure. Discomfort can usually be minimised with cold packs and simple medications such as paracetamol and ibuprofen (if you tolerate these). Your doctor may prescribe stronger analgesics if indicated.
You will be provided with detailed instructions on how to wash and care for your healing skin. During the early phase of healing, it is common for the skin to weep a little. The fluid will dry and sometimes leave a crust. It is very important not to pick the crusts off the treated area in order to avoid scarring. Most of the time it has gone after about 10 days.
Your new skin may remain bright pink or red early on but this will fade in the weeks following the procedure, the rate of which depends on the procedure and your skin type. Some people with sensitive skin may retain some pinkness for six or more months. After seven to ten days, you can usually safely apply make-up to conceal this temporary colour change.
Above all, in the months following treatment it’s important to protect the treated area from the sun until the skin has returned to normal. Your ‘baby skin’ is more sensitive to UV rays. Using sun protection regularly will also help maintain the result and reduce any new sun damage to the skin.
On discharge, you will be given specific postoperative instructions to facilitate recovery, and a follow-up appointment will be made with your Plastic Surgeon. These instructions will cover everything you will need to know in order to make your recovery as smooth and comfortable as possible.
Our team is here to support you to make a swift, uncomplicated recovery. We offer a 24/7 on-call medical assistance service for all our post-operative patients.
Ready to book an initial consultation?
If you are ready to book your initial consultation, please book online or call us to book with one of our helpful team members. We’ll be pleased to help you start your journey.
Not quite ready or have a question to ask?
Stay up to date
News – March 23, 2023
Will my surgery leave me with a scar?
Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Anthony Porter and Jo Herreen RN discuss everything you need to know about post surgical scarring in our latest blog post. Read it now