Fractional Laser Resurfacing
Fractional laser resurfacing refers to the process of creating individual vertical channels of injury into the skin, leaving the majority of the skin intact. Through this process, the thermal channels created by the laser breaks down scar tissue and damaged skin, stimulating a natural healing response. By using laser energy that penetrates into the deep dermal layers of the skin, collagen production is stimulated, thereby closing in the open channels and creating a stronger, healthier foundation to the skin. Similar to aerating your lawn, it creates small areas of injury which stimulates the process of developing healthier skin. This type of technology is used to treat all types of scarring, but is also used as a preventative treatment to stimulate collagen growth to replace the collagen that we lose through the natural aging process.
Our Fractional Lasers
In our office, we have two different types of fractional lasers. The Ultrapulse Co2 Deep Fx Laser is the premier, state of the art laser technology that creates thermal injury leading to dermal repair. The SP Dynamis Erbium Fotona Laser is the newest generation of fractional laser technology that allows us to adjust the amount of heat and depth of injury, which is important in preventing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in darker skin types. Both of these lasers allow us to adjust the amount of energy that is required when treating specific types of injuries to the skin. As only a “fraction” of the skin is damaged, the treatment is less painful and the healing response and the recovery is much quicker than with fully ablative procedures. We can also adjust the density (number of channels of injury) with each pass, using higher density in more damaged areas and lower density in less damaged areas. As the majority of the skin remains intact, there is also much less risk of infection or other complications.
With fractional laser resurfacing, multiple treatment sessions will be required to effectively breakdown the scar tissue and stimulate collagen growth. However, there will be an immediate improvement to the overall texture and tone of the skin. As the full process of collagen remodelling and stimulating new collagen production is gradual, patients will continue to see ongoing improvement for a full 6 months following the last procedure. When treating scars with this type of fractional technology, a realistic goal is a 50% level of improvement after 3 treatments sessions. For deeper scars, injectable hyaluronic acid fillers may be required to fill in atrophic scars. Although the fillers are not permanent and will eventually be broken down by the body’s natural processes, these type of scars tend to have some longer term, permanent improvement as the scar tissue is stretched during the injectable filler process.
For preventative treatments to stimulate collagen production and minimize the aging process, the best results are obtained by combining annual in office laser procedures, with a high quality medical grade topical regime. This will include a topical retinol, that stimulates epidermal cell turnover leading to healthier, younger looking skin.