Over the last several years, advances in technology known as fractional resurfacing has made the factional CO2 laser popular again. Fractional resurfacing fractionates the laser beams into small beams, drilling tiny microscopic zones throughout the skin. In the case of the SmartXide Dot laser, it makes small columns known as Dots within the skin. Between these microscopic zones, there exists intact skin that was not affected by the laser. These untreated areas allow for faster recovery and healing compared to the traditional factional CO2 laser. This means that patients can return back to work in a matter of a few days as opposed to weeks. In addition, the fractional technology makes the factional CO2 laser a lot safer as well.
Fractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing
Fractional CO2 laser is an ablative laser, meaning that it drills a microscopic zone within the skin. The skin is vaporized and allows for collagen to stimulate and fill in the column that was created (see image below). The combination of skin vaporization and collagen stimulation allow for skin tightening, removal of pigmentation and wrinkles, and enhance the texture and tone of the skin.
Fractional CO2 Laser Procedure
The new Fractional technology offers all of the benefits of the traditional CO2 but with less pain, discomfort and downtime. Instead of a having a recovery of 4 to 6 weeks, the new fractional CO2 laser has about less than a week downtime without the significant sloughing, crusting and oozing of the traditional CO2. Most patients feel like they have had a sunburn and most resume normal activity in about 4 to 5 days. After the first few days, there may be some residual redness but patients can resume normal activity and the redness can be covered with a makeup.
Each treatment usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes. Topical numbing is used prior to the procedure for maximal comfort. Unlike non-ablative lasers, the Fractional CO2 requires only 1 or 2 treatments, as opposed to 4 or 5. For maximal results, 2 treatment sessions are recommended. The result is a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, smoother and more radiating younger looking skin, less pigmentation and a tighter skin. It can also be used on the neck, chest and hands for removal of age spots and sun damage.
Fractional CO2 laser works very well for acne scars as well. It typically needs at least 1 to 3 treatments, depending upon the severity of acne scars, skin color, downtime etc. Below are before and after pictures of acne scars.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits?
This is a non-surgical facial rejuvenation for the treatment of wrinkles, lines, pigmentation, age spots, large pores, acne scars and general sun damage. CO2 laser resurfacing will give you a smoother, more vibrant and glowing skin.
Is there an initial Consultation?
Yes. Dr. Behnam will meet with you. You will have the opportunity discuss what bothers you about your skin. He will then examine your face and explain the various treatment options available. He will tell you if the SmartXide Dot Fractional Resurfacing laser is right for you. If Dr. Behnam thinks you are a good candidate, he will explain the entire procedure in detail, step by step. He will show you pictures, testimonials and videos. You will have opportunity to ask as many questions as you like and will make sure you feel comfortable, knowledgeable and educated when you finish your consultation with him.
What are the indications for Fractional CO2 Resurfacing?
Age spots, deep and soft wrinkles around mouth and eyes, sun damage, rough texture, poor tone, large pores, pigment irregularities and acne scars. The result is significant reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, smoother more radiating younger looking skin, less pigmentation, improved texture and tone, smaller pore size and a tighter skin. The CO2 laser is the gold standard in the industry for the treatment of wrinkles and pigmentation.
What is Fractional CO2 Resurfacing?
The gold standard in the industry for removal of acne scarring, wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation, age spots and general sun damage has always been the CO2 laser. The traditional CO2 laser was very effective, however it fell into some disfavor because of its prolonged downtime. The new generation of CO2 laser uses a new advanced technology known as fractional photothermolysis, where microscopic zones of skin are vaporized by the laser. Instead of a having a recovery time of 4 to 6 weeks, the new fractional CO2 laser has about 5 days downtime without the significant sloughing, crusting and oozing of the traditional CO2. Most patients feel like they have had a sunburn and most resume normal activity at day #5. There is some residual redness that can even be covered with makeup.
How does Fractional CO2 work?
SmartXide Dot Fractional CO2 Laser drills tiny microscopic zones throughout the skin. These small zones allow collagen to fill the area and regenerate new skin. It is this process that smoothes wrinkles, eliminates pigment and enhances the texture and tone of the skin.
Are there many brands of Fractional CO2?
Yes. Many brands do exists. We have tested many of the lasers on the market today and noticed that the SmartXide CO2 laser by Deka gave the best results with the minimal amount of pain. SmartXide CO2 laser by Deka is used by many plastic surgeons and dermatologists across the country.
How many treatment are required?
It all depends on skin color, degree of improvement desired and downtime. Typically one to two treatments are required. Most patients are very delighted with just one treatment. Some darker skin individuals may need two treatment to get satisfactory results.
Are there more or less treatments needed than the non-ablative Fraxel?
The non-ablative Fraxel requires anywhere between 4 to 5 treatments to see improvement, each costing about $850. With the Fractional CO2, you will see significant improvement after one treatment.
How much result will I see?
In clinical studies of the SmartXide Dot Fractional CO2 laser published in February 2009 of Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, the study demonstrated greater than 50% improvement in almost all of the 32 patients with those undergoing treatment for wrinkles and pigment. In our clinical experience, results do vary from patient to patient, with some patients having their wrinkles almost eliminated while some had significant smoothing of the wrinkles. Deeper wrinkles may require more than one treatment whereas softer wrinkles might just require one treatment.
When do I start to see result?
The results are seen almost immediately as well as gradually as collagen continues to form weeks after the procedure is performed.
Is general anesthesia required?
No. Fractional CO2 resurfacing does not require general anesthesia. Only topical numbing and nerve blocks are used prior to the procedure for maximal comfort. You are awake and comfortable.
How painful is the procedure?
Most of our patients are very comfortable during the procedure.
Is there pain afterwards?
Most of our patients tell us that there is very minimal to no pain after the procedure.
How long does the procedure take?
The procedure takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Patients come an hour early prior to their appointment for the topical numbing.
Can the laser be used for other parts of the body besides the face?
Fractional CO2 resurfacing can also be used on the neck, chest and hands for removal of fine wrinkles and age spots.