What is a CO2 Laser?
We are pleased to offer our patients treatment with a type laser that will change the way traumatic scars, surgical scars and previous burn injuries are treated for years to come. Combining the safety of fractionated laser therapy with the unparalleled efficacy of carbon dioxide laser treatments, the UltraPulse Encore fractionated CO2 laser (SCARR Software) is truly revolutionary technology. With this device, microscopically small but deeply penetrating and highly effective CO2 laser "microbeams" rehabilitate scarred tissue and stimulate the body to produce substantial amounts of new, healthier collagen in the skin. This part of the treatment is called “Deep FX”. In addition, most patients also elect to have the surface of their skin treated with a second, more superficial laser pass (called "Active FX") designed to blend color imperfections and further refine the skin’s texture. Depending on the specific patient’s goals, the Deep FX and Active FX laser passes may be performed alone or in combination with other surgery and scar releases.
Who is a Good Candidate for CO2 Laser Resurfacing?
Available scar revision therapies depend on the type of scar, and range from topical creams for mild scarring, to grafting in the case of large, traumatic and burn scars. Laser scar revision is an effective method for treating a wide range of scars that improves skin texture and pigment as well as functional aspects.
The result of fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing can significantly improve the appearance of the treated skin with raised hypertrophic scars making them more uniform. Patients especially appreciate the laser’s ability to safely treat not only facial skin, but also other areas of the body.
How is the Procedure Performed?
Based on the initial consultation, your surgeon will determine which procedure is best for you.
Because this device produces tiny openings in the skin’s surface, there is a period of a few days after the treatment when patients experience significant swelling, redness, and some oozing of serum from the treated skin’s surface.
Healing after this treatment is relatively rapid with minimal care required for about a week and redness of the treated skin generally resolving over the subsequent week. Most patients' appearance will not only be substantially improved after only about ten days, but it will also continue to improve for months after this unique laser therapy as the treated skin creates more collagen.
Planning for Your Surgery
The first step is to schedule a personal consultation with your plastic surgeon. Communication is crucial in reaching your goals. You will have the opportunity to express your goals and the results you'd like to achieve. Together, you and your surgeon will reach an understanding about what you can expect from this procedure and the long-term benefits you will experience. Every patient is different, and your surgeon will choose the surgical technique and treatment plan that is right for you. During the initial consultation, you should expect:
- To provide a complete medical history, including information about previous surgical procedures; past and present medical conditions; and any medications or herbal supplements you are taking.
- Your surgeon to conduct a complete physical examination.
- To discuss possible risks and complications of the procedure.
Preparing for Your Surgery
You will be given a pre-operative information packet that explains everything you should do and know before your surgery date. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications. Whether your surgery is done on an outpatient or inpatient basis, you should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery, and to help you out for a day or two after you leave the hospital, if needed.
Where Your Surgery Will be Performed
Your procedure will take place at the University of Michigan Hospitals, which provides state-of-the-art surgical suites and recovery areas. The majority of these procedures are completed on an out-patient basis.
Types of Anesthesia
You'll remain comfortable throughout the entire procedure. In most cases, general anesthetic is used so that you will sleep throughout the procedure; although local anesthesia with intravenous sedation is also an option for some patients.
After Your Surgery
Click here for information about how to care for yourself after the surgery and what to expect during your recovery. It is very important that you follow your surgeon's instructions in order to promote healing and progress towards your new physical appearance. Also, it is important that you attend all follow-up appointments scheduled so that your surgeon can assess your long-term results and answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Because of extensive research done here at the University of Michigan in the Burn/Wound and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, our burn reconstruction surgeons are uniquely positioned to maximize the benefits of this treatment and provide our patients with the best possible care.