The carbon dioxide laser has been a popular surgeon’s tool for the past few decades. Its use was originally limited due to the risk of scarring and pigmentary changes resulting from deep thermal damage (or heat build-up) produced in the skin. This problem was eliminated with the development of a high-energy, short pulse waveform, which reduces the thermal impact to the outer layers of the skin.
When the skin is treated with the CO2 laser, a clean, layer-by-layer vaporization of the skin occurs. Due to the high water content of the epidermis, the undesired skin literally evaporates. The laser is best-suited for those skin conditions which are superficial in nature, namely fine lines, wrinkles, forehead lines, blotchiness (dark or light patches), keratoses (pre-cancers), scaling, and acne scarring. By using the vaporizing technology of the carbon dioxide laser, the patient’s skin is resurfaced, or “rejuvenated”, to eliminate the unsightliness of these conditions.
The procedure is, bloodless, safe, and does not require general anesthesia. The initial healing process can take place over 1-2 weeks, leaving pink, smoother, “new”skin. This pink skin turns normal in color over the next month. Because the CO2 laser has a high level of precision, the risk of scarring or other complications (such as infection) is minimized. With the use of makeup it is also typical for a patient to return to their regular work or social activities within 7 days or less following laser treatment.