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Fractional Resurfacing

What is Fractional Laser Resurfacing?

Fractional Laser Resurfacing is a current technology used for skin rejuvenation treatments. Skin rejuvenation treats wrinkles, stretch marks, scars and skin imperfections such as acne scarring, sun damage and melasma (hyperpigmentation caused by sun damage or pregnancy hormones).

What are the most current developments in Fractional Laser Resurfacing?

The demand for laser skin resurfacing has encouraged new developments in the treatment of numerous skin conditions. Previous resurfacing techniques usually meant long periods of recovery, redness of the treated area that could last for long periods of time and often a loss of natural skin tone and irreversible scarring. Fractional laser resurfacing is an alternative treatment to full surface laser, and although fractional laser treatment does not duplicate the full laser results, it can provide improvement with little to no recovery time.

How is Fractional Laser Resurfacing different than other laser treatments?

Prior to fractional laser resurfacing there were only two types of laser treatments available. One was ablative (affecting the surface of the skin) the other was non-ablative (not affecting the surface of the skin but acting on deeper tissue).

Ablative laser treatments use vapor at extremely high temperatures and have minimal side effects, but require a fairly lengthy healing time. Non-ablative laser treatment has minimal side effects and virtually no healing time but does require a number of treatments over many months with limited results each time. The fractional laser treatment offers the effectiveness of ablative treatments coupled with the benefits of the more non-ablative laser systems.

What happens during a Fractional Laser Resurfacing Treatment?

Fractional laser resurfacing is a treatment system where microscopic laser beams are introduced into the dermis, or inner skin layer, in a specific pattern of application. Approximately 20% of the skin area is treated per session, leaving intact skin surface around each miniscule beam to preserve the integrity of the skin, avoid infection, minimize uncomfortable healing and to discourage blistering.

How many treatments of Fractional Laser Resurfacing are required for maximum results?

The number of fractional laser resurfacing treatments required for maximum results will vary for each patient. Several sessions are usually required. The number of sessions required depends on the goal of the treatment, the patient and the professional opinion of the attending physician. Five treatments sessions spaced between two and four weeks apart usually offer visible and desirable results.

How long is a single Fractional Laser Resurfacing Treatment?

Fractional laser resurfacing treatments are typically performed as outpatient skin care treatments and depending on the exact region of the body being treated, take approximately 20-60 minutes to complete. The area for treatment is thoroughly cleaned and if requested anesthetic cream may be applied.

What side effects are associated with Fractional Laser Resurfacing Treatment?

Post procedural side effects of fractional laser resurfacing typically results in a mild sunburn sensation lasting approximately 1-2 hours post treatment. For the first 2-3 days following treatment the skin may be slightly swollen and red in color.

The patient may also notice that the skin may appear redder or darker for between 3 to 14 days. All patients experience a sloughing of skin cells from the treatment area, which is the natural exfoliation process that occurs for approximately 7-10 days. It is recommended to use both moisturizer and sunscreen during the healing process and for several months after the treatment.

What is the average cost of a Fractional Laser Resurfacing Treatment?
The average cost of fractional laser resurfacing treatment is $2500-$3500, though specific costs are highly variable depending on the clinic, the cosmetic dermatologist, the geographic location, and other factors.

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.org Staff
Updated: November 24, 2008

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