CO2 Laser, Fractional Laser Therapy, Fraxel repair
CO2 laser therapy and CO2 fractional laser therapy (Fraxel repair) are highly effective methods for skin rejuvenation, skin resurfacing, skin smoothing, and the efficient treatment of undesired skin alterations. Wrinkles, scars, and enlarged pores can just as well be treated effectively and almost painlessly.
Skin rejuvenation and wrinkle treatment with CO2 fractional laser
The CO2 laser has become an established part of aesthetic laser medicine. Our laser clinic in Zurich has been relying on this ground-breaking approach for years - always striving to be able to offer our patients an accurate and gentle treatment method that has nearly no adverse side effects. We use the CO2 laser to achieve the following treatment results:
CO2 laser application fields
- skin resurfacing
- rejuvenation / tightening of the skin of face, neck, and cleavage
- wrinkle treatment, in particular of wrinkles around the upper lip (smoker's lines) and eyes (crow's feet)
- enlarged pore treatment
- age mark removal
- reduction of stretch marks
- all kinds of scars, including acne scars
- Eremoval of benign skin tumours
- treatment of common warts and condyloma
The advantages of CO2 fractional laser:
- extremely good results
- almost painless
- short treatment time
- short inactive period due to the treatment
The treatment course with fractional CO2 laser therapy
Prior to the treatment
A one-to-one appointment with Mr. Dr. Ledermann serves to first of all find out if the treatment will help achieving the aspired result. If so, we then prepare a treatment schedule and photo documentation. On the day your treatment takes place, you should not wear any make-up at all - and also spare applying any day cream. We recommend taking 1 g of Paracetamol 1 hour before the treatment. At our clinic, we will apply anaesthetic cream as anaesthesia to the areas to be treated.
During the treatment
Throughout the treatment, you will be wearing special laser protection glasses. The laser unit will then be applied to your skin and individual laser pulses will be released. The laser punches tiny "holes" into your skin. In the deep layers, the connective tissue fibres contract (collagen shrinking), which yields a lifting effect. At the same time, the skin is encouraged to form new collagen, and regenerative biological processes that lead to skin regeneration are triggered. The fractional approach leaves the majority of the skin in between intact, thus facilitating quicker skin regeneration. Depending on individual requirements, different areas like forehead, the eye or mouth area, or also the entire face can be treated. In our Zurich clinic, we also use the fractional laser to tighten neck and cleavage.
After the treatment
This treatment causes comparatively little pain. That means, you will feel a slightly twitching or prickling sensation, which can easily be borne, though. Right after the treatment, your skin will feel hot and be reddened. Usually, any swellings will fade within 1 to 2 days. After undergoing fractional CO2 -laser therapy, small point-shaped scabs will appear on the treated spot and flake off within 3 or 4 days. The question how many sessions are needed to achieve the aspired treatment result depends on how serious the respective dermal issue is. For instance, laser peeling to refine the skin structure is done within just one session. For treating fine-wrinkled skin severely damaged by sunlight, we usually recommend 2-3 sessions at intervals of 2-3 weeks. Of course, follow-up checks will be performed.
What kind of skin problems can be treated with CO2 laser or Fraxel repair, the fractional CO2 laser?
The CO2 laser and the fractional CO2 laser serve to tighten skin damaged by sunlight or skin sagging due to aging. Wrinkles, in particular crow's feet and peri-oral lines, can be significantly reduced. The fractional CO2 laser is also successfully used to treat all kinds of scars, including acne scars, enlarged pores, stretch marks, and age marks. The fully ablative CO2 laser furthermore allows for treating various benign skin tumours, common warts, and condyloma.
When will I see the results?
As far as laser peeling is concerned, the skin's regained vigour and smoothened pores will become clearly discernible after about 1 to 2 weeks.
However, if rather intense, staged treatments have been applied, the maximum reduction of wrinkles and skin firming will not become visible before 3-6 months have passed as regenerating also deep skin layers takes its time. If skin tumours have been removed, the result is obvious right away. However, it will take about 2 weeks until the respective spot has healed completely.
Is the treatment safe?
CO2 laser treatments have been successfully applied in aesthetic medicine for years and are considered safe and reliable. In exceptional cases, unwanted discolouration of the skin might appear. The respective risk is higher especially for rather dark skin types and if you expose yourself to intense sunlight immediately before or after the treatment. There also is a minor risk for infections or scars. The Bodyclinic Zurich deploys a certified "e-CO2" unit made by Lutronic, which guarantees safety, reliability, and top quality. This excellent device provides a huge range of accurate settings to perfectly adjust the treatment to your very own specific needs. As is generally the case with laser treatments, it is important to have a designated specialist perform the treatment. Mr. Dr. Ledermann has long experience in this sector. At our clinic, he will thoroughly inform you on all related risks and possible unwanted side effects prior to the treatment - honestly, diligently, and in a transparent manner.
How many treatments will I need?
With respect to the fractional treatment and depending on the aspired treatment result, the treatment might comprise various sessions.
Depending on the treatment's intensity, 1-3 treatments at an interval of 2-3 weeks are recommended. With CO2 laser treatments, applied e.g. to remove minor skin disorders (fibroma), one session will usually suffice.
Will I have to schedule any inactivity period following the fractional CO2 laser therapy?
Yes. After the treatment, your skin will be reddened and also slightly swollen. During the first 3 post-treatment days, it is mandatory to carefully treat the affected areas with the care products recommended by us. We advise you to avoid any public appearances for 3-4 days. Up from the 4th day, any possibly remaining redness can be covered with suitable make-up. Slight reddening might remain for a longer period (2-3 weeks). Diligently protecting your skin from sunlight for at least six weeks after the treatment is absolutely necessary.
What else will I have to ensure after undergoing fractional laser treatment?
The general maxim after each and every treatment is: observe your doctor's instructions. For instance, you should definitely avoid any exposure to direct sunlight for a term of six to eight weeks when you have been treated with a CO2 laser (of course that also applies to the solarium). Protect your skin with products that feature a high SPF. For that reason, the point of time for laser treatment should always be well-planned.
How much will CO2 fractional laser treatment cost me?
Depending on the areas to be treated and the number of sessions required, the prices differ. They vary from CHF 250.- to CHF 1250.- per session. For a detailed price list, please refer to Prices Fractional Laser. For a binding cost estimate the number of sessions required has to be previously defined by and agreed with your doctor. Mr. Dr. Ulrich Ledermann will provide you with transparent information in a one-to-one talk.
The difference between fractional CO2 laser (Fraxel repair) and the traditional "full surface" CO2 laser
CO2 lasers are ablative lasers. That means, throughout the treatment with a CO2 laser, the patient's skin is removed in accurately defined layers by being vaporized. CO2 lasers have long been used in medicine to facilitate precise cuts and the removal of various undesired structures. Also in skin rejuvenation, CO2 lasers play an important role. In former times, CO2 lasers would remove the entire facial skin surface - which yielded amazing results but also involved high risks for scarring, pigmentation change, and extended recovery periods of 2-3 weeks. By now, this has clearly changed and improved thanks to the fractional CO2 laser being developed. Fractional means that not the entire skin surface will be removed. Instead, the laser will "punch" a large number of small holes into the skin. The skin in between then remains unaffected. Starting from suchlike intact skin, the recovery process is significantly quicker (3-6 days). Skin damaged by sunlight exposure and/or featuring fine wrinkles can thus be treated very effectively without requiring extended recovery periods.
The benefits of fractional CO2 laser therapy
Compared to the fully ablative CO2 laser treatment, the skin will recover significantly quicker if the fractional approach is being applied. However, if the treatment is intense, the recovery period might also comprise 4 to 6 days. Therefore, it might make more sense to complete the treatment in 2-3 stages at intervals of 2-3 weeks. Combing the treatment with the application of platelet-rich auto-haemal plasma (PRP, please also refer to this section) will additionally reduce the recovery timed required.
Fractional Photothermolysis for Skin Rejuvenation
© The Bodyclinic: 07/2017