How do I choose between laser skin resurfacing and dermabrasion? I am concerned about skin bruising following skin rejuvenating procedures, as my job requires me to interact with the public. Is laser skin resurfacing a more gentle procedure than dermabras
Dermabrasion . Dermabrasion is an older, less precise resurfacing technology that has been mostly replaced by laser resurfacing. The carbon dioxide (co2) laser was the first generation of these lasers and was characterized by excessive pain, swelling, downtime and residual redness that sometimes lasted for 2-3 months. In addition, it often led to permanent destruction of skin pigment (melanin) producing cells, resulting in a permanently pale skin zones. The most versatile and useful of the current generation of resurfacing lasers is the erbium-yag laser. Although this laser can be used as a full resurfacing device (with a downtime of 7-10 days) the more current updates on this technology allow partial or fractional laser resurfacing , whereby only a fraction of the targeted skin in resurfaced in any given session, while leaving islands of untreated skin in between. This untreated skin then acts as a readily available reservoir of cells that speed up surface healing of the skin, decreasing the actual downtime to about 3-5 days, depending on the specifics of the treatment settings. With fractional erbium-yag laser resurfacing, many patients are able to go back to work in only 4-5 days.
Dermabrasion . Dermabrasion was first used in wwi to get gun powder and dirt out of wounds before they tattooed the patient permanently. With time various dremel like heads evolved by the operation is essentially a bloody and messy sanding of the skin to remove skin irregularities which is essentially inaccurate in its depth. Its down time is prolonged. Laser resurfacing has been going a long evolution since it came on the us market in the very early 1990's. The depth to which skin was removed by either old fashioned dermabrasion or modern lasers (such as the sciton joule erbium yag) determines down time. You can easily have a series of laser resurfacing procedures each with a short recovery or one procedure which is deeper but which will require a longer recovery period. The choice would depend on why your are having the procedure and how much down time can you afford to take off. Peter a aldea, md memphis plastic surgery.