Type of Surgery
Last updated: 11/24/2009
Laser skin resurfacing involves the application of laser light to the skin in order to remove fine wrinkles and tighten the skin surface. It is most often used on the skin of the face.
We look at our skin everyday, but what does the skin look like up close and just under the surface. This animation shows what the skin would look like under magnification. The narrator explains the various things found within the skin such as hair follicles and sensory nerve endings.
Laser resurfacing is a technique used during laser surgery wherein molecular bonds of a material are dissolved by a laser. It is used for the treatment of wrinkles, solar lentigenes, sun damage, scars (see acne scar treatment), stretch marks, actinic keratosis and telangiectasias or "spider veins" - a symptom of ataxia telangiectasia.
It can be combined with liposuction when this is done to remove excess fat from the chin and jaw area. The skin may be wrinkled after fat is removed and laser resurfacing can help tighten and smooth over the new contours.
Laser resurfacing is usually done with an Er:YAG 2940nm wavelength or CO2 10,600nm wavelength laser. Complete resurfacing was first done with a CO2 laser. More commonly now, a laser resurfacing is done with a fractional laser. The term fractional pertains to the method in which the laser light is transferred. Tiny pinpoints of laser light are used to deliver the laser to the surface of the skin in only a fraction of the area. Several hundred or thousands of pinpoints may be used per square inch, leaving healthy skin in between the ablated areas. This allows more rapid healing, and less risk.
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