How do I prepare for laser skin resurfacing?
Your surgeon will provide thorough pretreatment instructions, take a detailed medical history, and perform a physical exam to determine your fitness for surgery.
In advance of your treatment, your surgeon may ask you to:
- Stop smoking before undergoing surgery to promote better healing.
- Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs, and some herbal medications that can cause increased bleeding.
- Hydrate before and after surgery for safe recovery.
- Follow a pretreatment program during which you will apply special creams, lotions or gels to your skin for a few weeks or longer (depends on the depth of your laser skin resurfacing treatment).
- Take certain oral medications prior to your treatment.
- Take a prescription antiviral medication before and after your treatment to prevent a viral infection (if you have a history of herpes infections around your mouth).
- Avoid unprotected sun exposure. Too much sun up to two months before the procedure can cause permanent irregular pigmentation in the treated areas. Discuss sun protection and acceptable sun exposure with your surgeon.
- Discontinue topical skincare products that might increase the risk of complications from laser.
Laser skin resurfacing is usually an outpatient treatment. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after treatment and to stay with you at least the first night following your procedure.
What can I expect the day of my laser skin resurfacing?
Be sure to consult with your surgeon before your treatment so you have the most accurate expectations.
- You may have your laser skin resurfacing in an accredited hospital, free-standing ambulatory facility, or office-based surgical suite.
- On the day of your procedure, you should come with a clean face without makeup or products.
- Most laser skin resurfacing procedures take an hour to complete but may take longer, depending on the extent of skin damage and wrinkling.
- The surgeon will administer medications for your comfort during the procedure.
- Depending on the laser treatment chosen and the area treated, local anesthesia may be adequate; however, for larger areas, your surgeon may recommend sedation or general anesthesia.
- For your safety during the treatment, various monitors will be used to check your heart, blood pressure, pulse, and the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood.
- Your surgeon will follow the treatment plan discussed with you before your treatment.
- After your treatment, you will go to a recovery area for continued monitoring.
You likely can go home after a short observation period unless you and your aesthetic plastic surgeon have made other plans for your immediate post-treatment recovery.