After the procedure, any treated areas are dressed for healing. Surgeons are divided on whether the wound should remain open or closed (covered) during the healing process. For example, surgeons that adopt a closed procedure can use a dressing that is primarily hydrogel held on a mesh support to cover the wound. This kind of dressing is changed daily while the epithelium (outer layer) is restored. Open wound care involves frequent soaks in salt water or dilute acetic acid, followed by application of ointment. Whatever wound treatment is used, it is important to keep the healing skin hydrated.
Full restoration of the epithelial layer occurs in seven to 10 days after treatment with a carbon dioxide laser and three to five days after treatment with a Er:YAG laser, although redness can persist for many weeks afterward.
Risks of this procedure include skin redness that persists beyond the initial healing period, swelling, burning sensations, or itching. These risks tend to be short term and lessen over time. More long-term problems can include scarring, increased or decreased pigmentation of the skin, and infection during healing. Finally, the formation of milia, bumps that form due to obstruction of the sweat glands, can occur, although this can be treated after healing with retinoic acid.
Normal results of this procedure include reduction in the fine lines found in aging skin, improving skin texture, making skin coloration more consistent, and softening the appearance of scars. In a recent study, more than 93% of patients subjectively rated their results from the procedure either very good or excellent.
Morbidity and mortality rates
The morbidity and mortality rates for this cosmetic procedure are close to zero.
Michelle Johnson MS, JD, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,