Skin Resurfacing

Skin rejuvenation and resurfacing can be achieved in a number of ways, ranging from laser, light and other energy-based treatments to chemical peels and other non-ablative methods.

The first step:

Choose a surgeon you can trust

Plastic surgery involves many choices. The first and most important is selecting a surgeon you can trust.

Choosing an ASAPS Member Surgeon ensures that you have selected a physician who:

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  • Has completed at least five years of surgical training with a minimum of two years in plastic surgery.
  • Is trained and experienced in all plastic surgery procedures, including breast, body, face and reconstruction.
  • Operates only in accredited medical facilities
  • Adheres to a strict code of ethics.
  • Fulfills continuing medical education requirements, including standards and innovations in patient safety.
  • Is board certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or in Canada by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada®.

ASAPS Member Surgeons are your partners in cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.

Look for the ASAPS Member Surgeon logo.

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Beauty for life

Enhancing your appearance with skin rejuvenation and resurfacing

If you want to improve the appearance of your skin, skin rejuvenation or resurfacing may be right for you.

Skin rejuvenation can be achieved in a number of ways, ranging from laser, light and other energy-based treatments to chemical peels and other non-ablative methods. The result is a smoother, clearer and more youthful appearance to your skin.

What can skin rejuvenation treat?

Skin rejuvenation is a treatment to resurface your skin, or to improve the texture, clarity and overall appearance of your skin.

Conditions that can be treated include:

  • Static wrinkles: These wrinkles are visible at all times and do not change in appearance with facial movements.
  • Dynamic wrinkles: These are expression lines that may appear as folds when the skin is not moving, and deepen with facial movements or expressions.
  • Pigmentation: Freckles, sun spots, melasma, or other darkened patches of skin result mainly from sun exposure.
  • Scars: As the result of acne or injury to the skin, scars may be rolling (a wavy appearance to the skin), pitted, discolored, or have raised borders.
  • Vascular conditions: Blood vessels visible on the surface of the skin, vascular lesions that appear as tiny blood filled blisters or even a constant flush of facial redness.
  • Loss of skin tone: Weakening of the supportive skin structure (collagen and elastin fibers) that results in a loss of skin firmness, or the development of cellulite.

Is it right for me?

While not as involved as surgical cosmetic procedures, skin rejuvenation is a medical procedure. You should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.

Skin rejuvenation is an option for you if:

  • You are physically healthy
  • You don’t smoke
  • You have a positive outlook and specific, but realistic goals in mind for the improvement of your appearance.

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What to expect during your consultation

The success and safety of your skin rejuvenation procedure depends very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. You’ll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle.

Consultation for Skin Rejuvenation

Be prepared to discuss:

  • Why you want the procedure, your expectations and desired outcome
  • Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
  • Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
  • Past cosmetic treatments

Your surgeon may also:

  • Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
  • Discuss the options available to you for facial rejuvenation
  • Examine and measure your face
  • Take photographs for your medical record
  • Discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment
  • Discuss likely outcomes of a skin rejuvenation and any risks or potential complications

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Important facts about the safety and risks of skin rejuvenation treatment

Safety in Skin RejuvenationThe decision to have a skin rejuvenation treatment is extremely personal and you’ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable.

Your plastic surgeon and/or staff will explain in detail the risks associated with your procedure. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks and potential complications.

The risks include:

  • Infection
  • Pigmentation irregularities
  • Textural changes
  • Skin surface irregularities
  • Burns and scarring

Be sure to ask questions: It’s very important to ask your plastic surgeon questions about your procedure. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of pre-treatment stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.

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Procedural Steps:

What happens during skin rejuvenation?

Laser resurfacing can improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles of the entire face, or those that develop in specific regions of the face, such as the upper lip and around the eyes.

Laser Resurfacing, Before & After

Laser and light treatments, or specially formulated chemical peels, resurface the skin to treat pigmentation disorders, such as sun and age spots.

Careful consideration of your natural skin color and type will determine the treatment best suited for you to minimize the risk of developing additional pigmentation or a loss of pigmentation (whitening of the skin).

Laser Treatment, Before & After

Laser and fractional resurfacing, or mechanical resurfacing such as dermabrasion or dermaplaning, can improve the appearance of acne scars as well as other skin conditions.

The degree of scarring, your skin type and color will determine the treatment options available to you.

Laser resurfacing, Before & After

What about my long-term recovery? A series of treatments are required to achieve improvement in skin texture and clarity and repeated treatments are essential to maintain your results.

Illustration of Long-Term Recovery

A special note about sun exposure: Absolute sun protection is essential for the first year after any of these resurfacing treatments to prevent irregular pigmentation. Diligent sun protection for life will help to maintain your new, younger, smoother skin.

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My recovery

When your procedure is completed, you will be instructed on how to care for the treated skin. You will also be reminded about:

  • The expected duration of your results
  • Specific concerns to look for in treated skin
  • When to follow up with your plastic surgeon

The results of skin resurfacing and rejuvenation are variable depending on the technology or treatment prescribed for you.

Following your treatment, whether skin resurfacing or rejuvenation, your skin will continue to age naturally and you may develop similar conditions to those that have been treated, or other skin conditions.

Results and outlook

Skin resurfacing and rejuvenation procedures can produce a marked improvement in skin conditions and your overall appearance.

The technologies and treatments available are advancing rapidly and you may be surprised at the improvement that can be achieved by relatively simple procedures.

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How much will skin rejuvenation and resurfacing treatments cost?

Cost is always a consideration in elective procedures. Prices can vary widely. A surgeon’s cost may vary based on his or her experience as well as geographic office location.

Many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans, so be sure to ask.

Cost may include:

  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Facility costs
  • Anesthesia fees
  • Prescriptions for medication, and
  • Medical tests

Your satisfaction involves more than a fee

When choosing a plastic surgeon for skin rejuvenation treatment, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.

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Words to know

  • Ablative: Resurfacing treatments that remove the uppermost layers of the skin (epidermis and dermis) to varying degrees.
  • Dynamic wrinkles: Expression lines that may appear as folds when the skin is not moving, and deepen with facial movements or expressions.
  • General anesthesia: Drugs and/or gases used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness.
  • Intravenous sedation: Sedatives administered by injection into a vein to help you relax.
  • Laser and energy therapies: Ranging from ablative to non-ablative, these treatments use laser energy, light energy, radio waves, ultrasonic energy, or plasma energy to treat the skin.
  • Local anesthesia: A drug injected directly to the site of an incision during an operation to relieve pain.
  • Loss of skin tone: Weakening of the supportive skin structure that results in a loss of skin firmness, or the development of cellulite.
  • Nasolabial fold: Deep creases between the nose and mouth.
  • Non-ablative therapy: Treatments that do not remove any skin but rather penetrate the skin or treat the skin superficially (only on the surface).
  • Pigmentation: Freckles, sun spots, melasma, or other darkened patches of skin result mainly from sun exposure.
  • Scars: As the result of acne or injury to the skin, scars may be rolling (a wavy appearance to the skin), pitted, discolored, or have raised borders.
  • Static wrinkles: Wrinkles that are visible at all times.
  • Tear trough: Deep creases below the lower eyelids.
  • Vascular conditions: Blood vessels visible on the surface of the skin, vascular lesions that appear as tiny blood filled blisters or even a constant flush of facial redness.

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Questions to ask my plastic surgeon

Use this checklist as a guide during your consultation

  • Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
  • Are you a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS)?
  • Were you specifically trained in the field of plastic surgery?
  • How many years of plastic surgery training have you had?
  • Do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure?
    • If so, at which hospitals?
  • Is the office-based surgical facility accredited by a nationally- or state-recognized accrediting agency, or is it state-licensed or Medicare-certified?
  • Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
  • What will be expected of me to get the best results?
  • Where and how will you perform my procedure?
  • How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
  • What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure?
  • How are complications handled?
  • How can I expect my skin to look over time?
  • What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the cosmetic outcome of my procedure?
  • Do you have before-and-after photos I can look at for this procedure and what results are reasonable for me?

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Excerpted from the ASPS/ASAPS Patient Education Brochures
© ASPS/ASAPS 2008

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