Q: How does Fraxel™ Laser Treatment work?
A: The Fraxel™ Laser creates thousands of microscopic thermal spots that form deep vertical columns or zones of treated skin tissue, which are separated and surrounded by unaffected, healthy skin tissue. This innovative approach allows us to treat a very small fraction of skin at a time as the skin heals much faster than if the entire area were treated at once. At the top of the treatment zone, the laser energy eliminates old epidermal pigmented cells on the skin’s surface. Penetrating deep into the dermis, the laser energy stimulates the body’s own wound healing response to produce new collagen growth. In this way, the body’s natural healing process creates new, healthy tissue to replace skin imperfections.
Q: How long does the procedure take?
A: The procedure (including the application of topical anesthetic) typically takes between 2 and 2 ½ hours (the actual laser treatment itself taking approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour). There’s no prolonged recuperation, no risk of general anesthesia, and treatment is well-tolerated.
Q: What does the Fraxel™ laser treat?
A: Fraxel™ Laser Treatment is currently FDA cleared to treat wrinkles and pigmented lesions, including age spots, sun spots and dyschromia.
Q: What has been the acceptance of Fraxel™ Laser?
A: Leading researchers and clinicians have been testing the Fraxel™ Laser for nearly 12 years. It was initially cleared by the FDA in 2003 and is now available to a small group of doctors in the US. Results are comparable to other treatment modalities that are associated with far more significant side effects. In all Fraxel™ treatment centers the response has been very positive. Patients are seeing rapid, significant change in their skin quality without the risks or prolonged healing time of other older lasers.
Q: Are there any negative side effects?
A: We have not experienced any significant or long-lasting adverse effects nor have we seen any evidence of post-inflammatory hyper- or hypo-pigmentation (lightening or darkening of the skin). The clinical endpoint we look for with Fraxel™ Laser Treatment is cell turnover and peeling. After treatment, the patient’s skin tends to be pinkish-red for a few days. This is normal and signifies that the dermal tissue is being repaired and there is good blood circulation. The repair process typically entails a faint “bronzing” tan like appearance that lasts anywhere from three to 14 days after treatment, followed by a flaking process of exfoliation as the reorganized epidermal skin gradually replaces dead tissue.
Q: Does Fraxel™ Laser treatment hurt?
A: Although there is some moderate stinging during the therapy, the treatments are well tolerated with a topical anesthetic ointment to alleviate discomfort. Many patients also take Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen prior to the procedure to reduce the stinging. Patients can apply Mineral make-up or shave after treatment, and most return to their routine activities the same day or the next.
Q: How many treatments will I need?
A: An effective treatment regime generally requires 3 – 5 treatment sessions, spaced about 2 – 4 weeks apart.
Q: Is there an ideal candidate for treatment?
A: Our typical patient is someone in their 30s or older who has photo damaged skin – lines and wrinkles, skin discoloration, dull or rough texture, age spots, etc. Fraxel™ Laser Treatment especially appeals to those patients who want the positive results of traditional resurfacing methods without the downtime or risks. It also appeals to those who are looking for a more dramatic result than might be achieved with non- ablative techniques.
Q: Can Fraxel™ Laser Treatment be used with wrinkle fillers, BOTOX® or other non-invasive treatments?
A: Absolutely! There is no evidence of any cross reactions between these treatment modalities. However, if you have had fillers or BOTOX®, please wait 2 weeks before getting Fraxel™ to allow these treatments to fully work.