What to Expect during Laser Skin Resurfacing for Acne Scars


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The best way to approach your treatment is with all the facts. This will ensure that you are calm and in control throughout your procedure. A good practitioner should have made you aware of the specifics of the process before it begins and practice may vary between treatments. This, however, is a general overview.

Before the Procedure

Before your practitioner begins the procedure they will ensure that you fully understand and consent to the treatment. They will also make sure that you have taken all the correct steps before the treatment such as stopping smoking and avoiding certain vitamins. At this point they will make sure that you have no more questions and that you are ready for surgery.

Depending on how much resurfacing you are having done on your acne scars, you will then be given a local or a general anaesthetic. A local anaesthetic is often administered in the form of a cream, applied to the area for treatment, sometimes you may be given a mild sedative in order to minimise any pain and keep you calm. A general anaesthetic is administered through an injection, usually into the arm, which will cause you to fall completely asleep. If you are having a general anaesthetic you will not be aware of any part of the procedure from this point.

During the Procedure

During the treatment the area of your skin will first be cleaned and treated with an antibiotic to get rid of oil and any bacteria that could cause a complicating infection. Next the laser is used. It is directed at the scarred area and set to penetrate your skin to different depths depending on the type and severity of the scars. If you are using local anaesthetic you may notice a ‘zapping’ noise and smell burning. This is a completely normal part of the process.

After the Procedure

Once the procedure is completed the practitioner or a nurse will apply a dressing or cream to the treated area to protect it from infection or to reduce swelling, pain or redness. The type of aftercare provided will depend on the treatment, the patient and the practitioner and can range from a cling-film-like covering, to a bandage, to an ointment, to a gauze. At this point you should be advised as to how best to look after the scarred area, as it heals.

Presuming there have been no complications, if you have had local anaesthetic you are free to leave as soon as you feel comfortable. If you have had general anaesthetic you will be expected to wait until the effects of it have worn off and you are deemed fit enough to leave. You can eat whatever you like after the operation.


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