Worried about your facial wrinkles that seems to have aged you by 10 years and want to get rid of them for good? Try carbon dioxide laser resurfacing.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) laser vaporises water molecules inside and outside cells, causing thermal damage to the surrounding tissue, according to a new study.
Consequently, the skin produces more of the protein collagen, filling in the wrinkles. "In addition to structural changes, the healing process frequently leads to pigmentation changes," the authors of the study wrote.
"These changes in skin pigmentation may be desirable, such as when patients wish to remove evidence of ageing; however, changes in pigmentation after treatment can often be a troubling adverse effect."
P. Daniel Ward, and Shan R. Baker from the University of Michigan assessed 47 patients (42 women and five men, averaging 52 years) who underwent carbon dioxide laser resurfacing on their entire face between 1996 and 2004.
Twenty-one patients (45 percent) had no complications following the procedure; of those who did, 14 (30 percent) had acne; eight (17 percent) had hyper-pigmentation (skin darkening); six (13 percent) had hypo-pigmentation (lightening of the skin); one (two percent) developed an infection; and one (two percent) developed sagging of the eyelids.
After an average of 2.3 years of follow-up, most of these complications had resolved. Patients' scores on a scale measuring facial wrinkles improved 45 percent, and were consistent over all areas of the face.
"With the exception of one case of hyper-pigmentation, which resolved within two years of treatment, hypo-pigmentation was the only long-term adverse effect," the authors wrote.
"This complication was present in six patients (13 percent). The patients who developed hypo-pigmentation were more likely to have a greater response to treatment."
"The efficacy of treating facial wrinkles with the carbon dioxide laser is well established, and the short- and long-term utility of the carbon dioxide laser in treating solar facial aging has previously been documented," they concluded.
"In terms of results, carbon dioxide laser resurfacing remains the gold standard," writes Paul J Carnoil, of Summit, New Jersey, in another commentary accompanying commentary.
These findings were presented in July / August issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.