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ActiveFX (Fractional Resurfacing)

What is ActiveFX and who is a candidate for the procedure?

ActiveFX, also known as fractional resurfacing, is a cosmetic procedure that uses a laser to target specific areas of damage skin with just one session and minimal down time. The procedure can be used to treat age spots, scars, wrinkles and skin tone variations, leaving skin that is smoother and more radiant.

Target areas for ActiveFX include the face, neck, chest and hands. This treatment can be combined with other treatments like peels or dermal fillers for maximum benefit.

It can also be used on its own to produce significant improvement to the skin's surface. The best candidates for this procedure are men and women who are in good health, do not smoke and have realistic expectations about what the procedure may do.

What benefits can a patient expect from ActiveFX?

ActiveFX can provide a variety of benefits, from treating acne scars to helping the skin achieve a more radiant appearance. Specific areas to target with ActiveFX include:

* Age spots
* Skin tone variation/pigmentation concerns
* Acne scars
* Other types of scars
* Static wrinkles (those that do not change with facial movements)
* Dynamic wrinkles (those that appear with facial movements)
* Crow's feet
* Bags under the eyes
* Vascular conditions that can result in overall redness to the skin
* Minor Spider veins
* Loss of skin tone

In addition to the initial results of ActiveFX that include a smoother surface with less visible blemishes, the treatment also stimulates collagen production that tightens the skin and improves overall skin tone. These benefits will remain visible for months after the procedure is complete.

How does the procedure work and what is the recovery like?

ActiveFX is most commonly performed in the office of a cosmetic dermatologist, and usually takes under an hour to complete. If the face is the only treatment area, the session may take less than thirty minutes.

First, the patient is given a topical anesthetic and an oral pain reliever to ensure comfort. Some patients report a feeling of warmth on the skin that is similar to a sunburn, but other types of discomfort are rarely reported.

The laser can be adjusted to different power settings, depending on the area to be targeted and the depth of the treatment that is required. Treatment is only done on the specific areas that require it, leaving the rest of the skin's surface untouched by the laser.

After the procedure, patients may notice that the treated layer of skin peels away for a few days as recovery occurs. During this time, patients may experience some swelling and a feeling similar to that of a sunburn. In some cases, the doctor will provide a moisturizer or balm to apply to the skin during the recovery process, to aid in healing and provide a cooling sensation to the skin's surface.

At the end of this time, usually five days or less, the top layer of skin will disappear, leaving a pink layer underneath. The pink color will gradually disappear and the skin that is left will be smoother and more evenly toned. Over the next few months, as collagen production is increased, patients will continue to see improvement as the skin firms and tightens back to a more radiant appearance. In most cases, patients will only need one session of ActiveFX to achieve the desired result.

What risks are associated with ActiveFX?

Some of the risks associated with laser resurfacing procedures such as ActiveFX may include:

  • Infection after the procedure
  • Skin surface irregularities that may include pigment changes or texture variations
  •  Burns and scarring from the laser

Risks may be greatly reduced by choosing a cosmetic dermatologist who is experienced with the ActiveFX procedure, and who has had a positive track record with the treatment. It is also important for a patient to follow the post-operative instructions very carefully, including no smoking well in advance of the procedure and after to support the healing process. Smoking affects the surface of the skin, healing processes, and its ability to respond positively to cosmetic procedures.

How much does ActiveFX cost?

The average cost of an ActiveFX treatment is between $1,200 and $3,000. However, this cost is for facial procedures only; if a patient chooses to have other areas treated, the cost may be considerably higher. Since ActiveFX only requires one session in most cases, patients can get a pretty good estimate of cost up front. However, if future sessions are required, that price will need to be added to the total as well.

Disclaimer: This information is intended only as an introduction to this procedure. This information should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor does it guarantee results of your elective surgery. Further details regarding surgical standards and procedures should be discussed with your physician.

By Anti-Aging Staff
Updated: November 18, 2008

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