This is a more invasive laser treatment that involves ablation or destruction of tissue. It is indicated for the treatment of severe sun damage, lines, wrinkles, acne scars and other scars. Fractionated laser treatments are usually done on the face but can also be done on the neck, décolletage and the back of hands.
Carbon dioxide laser light is preferentially absorbed by the water molecules in the skin. It causes a controlled burn in the skin. The fractionated technology is the latest in laser advances and means that each laser beam divides into small columns of light energy at the skin surface. This creates very thin and evenly spaced columns of heat damage penetrating deep into the dermis. This promotes increased collagen production in the dermis. The skin then heals from the columns of undamaged skin between the damaged columns. This healing takes time and so this treatment that needs some down or hiding time.
The fractionated carbon dioxide laser has a large number of variables in parameters and treatments can be effectively tailored to the individual patient. Treatments can be lighter with less laser energy and rapid healing times or a more aggressive treatment which will need longer healing times. The entire face can be treated or specific areas such as around the mouth or under the eyes may be targeted.
Before this treatment topical local anaesthetic cream is applied and some local anaesthetic injections may also be used. If you are prone to cold sores you will be asked to start a course of preventative medication starting the day before your treatment. Antibiotic tablets may also be prescribed.
The treatment takes about 30-45 minutes and then cold compresses and Vaseline are applied. You should not drive home. For the first 4-6 hours the treated area will feel hot and cold compresses should be applied. Paracetamol can be taken if needed. After the initial phase the aim is to keep the treated area moist with gentle cleansing and Vaseline.
Healing will take 3-7 days depending on the depth of treatment. The skin keeps improving for 3-6 months after the treatment.
This treatment is performed by Dr Anne Evans so if you are interested please ring to make an appointment to discuss it with her.
Medicare and private health funds do not provide any rebate for fractionated carbon dioxide laser treatments.