Fraxel™ Laser Treatment
Lasers have been used by plastic surgeons and other physicians as a surgical instrument for many years. Laser energy can be used to cut, vaporize or selectively remove skin and deeper tissues. There are many different methods for the surgical use of lasers.
Traditional laser skin resurfacing procedures (using CO² and Erbium lasers) involve ablative techniques, resurfacing broad areas of skin. These carry a high-risk profile, procedure problematic side-effects and entail prolonged post-operative healing and recovery times. Non-ablative techniques (using various other lasers or Intense Pulsed Light) carry fewer risks but generally produce only limited improvement.
Fraxel™ laser treatment is a new approach, using fractional photothermolysis, providing many of the benefits of invasive skin resurfacing performed with traditional devices, but with fewer side-effects and less recovery time.
Fraxel™ laser treatment is used to treat conditions such as fine wrinkles, fine lines, surface roughness, acne scars, enlarged pores, brown spots and pigmented lesions.
The Fraxel™ laser procedure requires multiple treatments over a period of several months. Photographs may be taken to document the changes that take place. With your consent, these photos may be used for publication or presentation in a scientific journal or lecture; however, your name will remain confidential.
You will be interviewed to obtain information regarding your medical history, and a clinical examination will be conducted to assess your skin type and to determine if you are a good candidate for this treatment.
Prior to treatment, you will be asked to remove any make-up you are wearing.
The area to be treated will be anesthetized with topical numbing cream.
Following your treatment, you will experience swelling, redness and flaking similar to moderate sunburn for 3 to 14 days.
The use of a sun screen is a must after any laser treatment.
Light flaking or peeling of the skin may also occur.
The use of moisturizers and make-up can help mask the appearance of flakiness and redness, however, please inform the physician what products you are using or intend on using. Some products contain ingredients that are too active or harsh on the skin and are not recommended. If in doubt, NoviSkin has put together a package of basic products safe to use with your Fraxel™ laser procedure.
Skin treatment programs may be recommended both before and after the Fraxel™ laser treatment in order to enhance the results.
Mechanism of action
Fraxel™ laser treatment produces thousands of tiny treatment zones on the skin, known as microthermal treatment zones. The target chromophore for the Fraxel™ laser is water; however, only a small fraction of the skin is treated at one sitting.
Each wound field is composed of thousands of microthermal zones and surrounding spared tissue units that comprise “nodes” of cutaneous repair.
The wound healing response differs from that in previous techniques because viable cells exist between treatment zones, including epidermal stem cells and transient amplifying cell populations. Each laser hit produces a 30- to 70- μ m plug of microscopic epidermal necrotic debris that naturally exfoliates in approximately 14 days.
During this time, the skin takes on a bronzed appearance. The top layer of the skin (stratum corneum) contains relatively little water; therefore, it remains intact after treatment with the Fraxel™ laser, preventing water loss and reducing the risk of infection. The Fraxel™ laser energy passes through the stratum corneum, thermally denatures the epidermis, and penetrates into the dermis.
The results are both immediate and progressive. Soon after the treatment, the surface of your skin will feel softer and smoother, look brighter and show a more even tone. The next 3 to 6 months will bring more improvement as the deeper layers of the skin continue to create new collagen. Results are long lasting depending on your lifestyle, age, skin condition and skin care regimen.
There are 2 different approaches in treating one’s skin with the Fraxel™ laser:
the gentle approach (performed by one of NoviSkin’s qualified therapists) means less downtime/recovery time 6 to 72 hours) , however, more treatments are needed (generally 8 to 12). We refer to this treatment as Fraxel™ 2+ (for texture and rejuvenation) or Fraxel™ 4+ (for texture, rejuvenation and pigmentation).
the stronger, slightly more aggressive approach (performed by one of NoviSkin’s medical aesthetic physicians) means longer downtime/recovery time (5 to 7 days), however, fewer treatments are needed (generally 4 to 6). We refer to this treatment as Fraxel™ 8+ (for texture, rejuvenation, pore size, scarring and pigmentation).
Given that Fraxel™ laser treatments can treat many indications, please discuss alternative options specific to your aesthetic needs with your physician. Some alternative treatments can include:
- Surgical procedures such as Dermabrasion
- Chemical peels
- Excisional surgery
- Other types of laser treatment such as CO², Erbium and Intense Light may be substituted.
In certain situations, Fraxel™ laser may offer a specific therapeutic advantage over other forms of treatment. Alternatively, Fraxel™ laser treatment may not always represent a better alternative to other forms of skin treatment, surgery or laser. Risks and potential complications are associated with alternative forms of treatment.
It is advised that you do not undergo Fraxel should you be affected by any of these contra-indications:
- Skin infection – at the treatment site.
- Skin Cancer / Skin Disorders – laser skin treatments may not offer protection against developing skin cancer or skin disorders in the future. Laser energy directed at skin lesions may potentially vaporize the lesion. Laboratory examination of the tissue specimen may not be possible.
- Damaged Skin – skin that has been previously treated with deep chemical peels, dermal abrasion, or radiation therapy may heal slower than normal skin following treatment by lasers. The occurrence of this is not predictable. Additional treatments may be necessary.
- Roaccutane® (isoretinoin) – Roaccutane (or any of its generic froms) is a prescription medication used to treat acne and other skin diseases. This drug may impair the ability of skin to heal following laser treatments or surgery for a variable amount of time, even after the patient has stopped taking it. Individuals who have taken this drug should advise Dr Duvenage, Dr Nadesan and staff and allow their skin adequate time to recover from Roaccutane (or any of its generic forms) before undergoing laser skin treatment.
Be aware that Fraxel™ Laser Treatments may influence:
Dermal fillers – A variety of injectable products are used to plump up deep wrinkles and facial lines. These products are injected into the dermis or inner skin and are known as “dermal fillers”. The most commonly used fillers are Hyaluronic Acid-based fillers and Collagen-based fillers. Fraxel™ laser treatment performed over these products is usually safe, but the treatment is likely to cause these dermal fillers to disappear.
Other wrinkle fillers, including liquid silicone, are longer lasting and more likely to cause prolonged skin irritation with Fraxel™ laser treatment.
The occurrence of problems with laser treatment over dermal fillers is unpredictable. It is essential that you inform your NoviSkin physician if you have ever been injected with dermal fillers.
Distortion of Anatomic Features – Laser skin treatments can produce distortion of the appearance of tattoos and permanent make-up such as liners used on lips, eyelids and eyebrows. Please inform Dr Duvenage, Dr Nadesan and staff of such at each treatment session