What is Laser Resurfacing?

Laser resurfacing is an advanced treatment available at the practice of our skilled plastic surgeon, Dr Craig Layt. The laser is a machine that generates light of a single wavelength. This light has energy that is absorbed by different objects depending on the colour (wavelength) of the light coming from the laser. In the case of laser resurfacing, we use an Erbium-Yag laser which is absorbed by the water in the cells of the skin. This causes the cells to vaporise. As healing occurs the skin is refreshed and tighter and wrinkles are improved. As opposed to most other resurfacing procedures, the depth of penetration of the laser can be precisely controlled. The procedure is usually performed under a general anaesthetic as a day stay patient. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified practitioner.

Who is a candidate?

Patients who been effected by time, sun and the environment, age spots or uneven skin due to acne or scarring can be candidates. Laser often forms part of a regime of skin care, surgery and laser to achieve the best results. The aim is to achieve a smoother looking skin with an even texture.

What can you expect after the operation?

Depending on location, the treated areas are covered with a tape like covering or with ointment. Healing should be complete at 7-10 days. Redness (pink colour) will usually last from 1 to 6 months. Makeup can be worn once healing is complete (7 to 10 days). Your skin will be very sensitive to the sun and an appropriate sunblock should be worn at all times.

What are the potential risks?

Every surgical or laser procedure involves certain risks and complications (as per the ASPS brochure) including, but not limited to:

Asymmetry is evident physically in every person.  No two sides of the body are ever exactly symmetrical in shape, position or size and the surgeon will make every effort to achieve as close to symmetry as possible but some asymmetry is normal.

Delayed Healing, Infection and Skin Reactions can all be possible healing issues and may require antibiotics or in some cases surgical exploration.

Bleeding, Haematoma or Seroma Collections may resolve themselves but, in some cases may require further surgery.

Loss of Sensation and Numbness may also be experienced. In most cases this will improve over time on its own. In some cases this can be permanent.

Bruising and Swelling may also be a short term effect from surgery and will usually settle in one to two weeks.

Allergies to dressings, medical lotions, sutures or other materials can occur with some patients. You will be advised to cease the use of the dressing, lotion or material that is causing the reaction. In some cases anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed.

Breathing Difficulties may be due to a general anaesthetic or breathing tube during the operation which has caused some swelling, noisy breathing or discomfort.

Blood Clots can also occur in some surgeries and may require urgent treatment and hospitalisation.

Pain thresholds vary from patient to patient. This may lead to different pain management and/or different recovery times to resume normal activities.

Achieving excellent results with minimal risk is a joint effort. It is important to disclosed to the surgeon and clinic and understand the following:

Full disclosure of your medical history including: allergies, personal, physical and mental history, previous surgeries, current medications and co-morbidities (including but not limited to, smoking, vaping, diabetes, prescription and illegal drug addictions, blood or heart disease, obesity or anorexia).

Co-morbidities may impact on outcome and healing post surgery.

Smoking, vaping, or taking recreational drugs must be ceased in the 6 weeks prior to some operations and during the healing phase. Failure to do so may increase the risk of complications, decrease your healing ability and affect your surgical outcome.

You should not take aspirin based prescription drugs 14 days prior to surgery and during the healing phase of the operation unless advised otherwise by the surgeon.

As per the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), all non-rebatable (cosmetic) procedures require a validated screening of Body Dysmorphia to be undertaken.

If Dr Layt is concerned about your mental state or physical state prior to the procedure, he may request evaluation by a psychologist, psychiatrist, general practitioner or other specialist. This referral is to assess your suitability, increased risks during surgery or any underlying physical or psychological problems which may affect your recovery or mental health.

In some cases this may require surgery to be postponed or cancelled by the doctor in his primary role to consider your care and personal well-being.

Every patient is an individual and therefore final surgical results will vary from patient to patient. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified practitioner.

Modern surgery is safe. There is, however, no such thing as risk free surgery or laser. The important thing is to understand any potential risks and minimise their occurrence. We cover all aspects of pre-operative and post-operative procedures to ensure you are thoroughly informed in regards to your surgical experience, recovery phase and final outcome.

Specific Pre-operative Instructions

WASHING:  Wash the evening prior to surgery and the day of surgery paying particular attention to the area to be operated on. This decreases the bacterial count and should decrease the risks of infection.

PRODUCTS:  Do not apply moisturisers, make-up, perfume/deodorant, nail polish or hair products after washing. Remove all jewellery.

CLOTHING:  Wear loose, comfortable clothing and footwear.

FASTING:  You should have nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours before your operation. If you are required to take medication during this time please speak with your physician to check if this can be taken before the 6 hour fasting period or after your procedure.

MEDICATION:  If you are having the operation as a day case, you will be given a script for antibiotics and pain relief tablets that you will need to purchase from the chemist and bring with you on the day of your procedure. Do not take these prior to surgery. The nursing staff will advise you and your carer after your procedure on how to administer them.

Certain over the counter products and prescription medicines can cause complications before and after surgery. They can reduce the ability of your blood to clot and could increase your tendency to bleed during and after surgery. Do not take any medication containing or related to aspirin 2 weeks prior to your procedure. This includes NSAID’S, anti-Inflammatory medications, blood thinning medications. Please see your doctor regarding if and when to cease medications. *This is not an all inclusive list*.

Also avoid Vitamin E supplements and red wine. Stop all herbal medications before surgery. The most common herbs used are Echinacea, Ephedra, Garlic, Ginseng, Ginkogo, Kava, St. John’s Wort, and Valerian. They may adversely effect anaesthetic drugs, prolong bleeding and impair healing after surgery. Please consult your physician before ceasing any medication.

If you are taking Roaccutane please inform Dr Layt as this slows down healing.

SMOKING:  Smoking and vaping increases the risks of complications significantly and should be ceased 6-8 weeks prior to surgery.

ADMINISTRATION:  Unfortunately, paperwork is a necessary evil. Each theatre complex has its own procedures. We have attempted to make it all easy by providing a simple series of steps to follow titled “THINGS TO DO FOR YOUR PROCEDURE” specific to the surgery centre you are attending. Please follow these instructions. If you have any queries about this or anything else don’t hesitate to contact us on (07) 5597 4100.

Specific Post-operative Instructions

POSITION:  Sleep on your back with your head elevated on a few pillows for the first few days if the face is swollen.

DRESSINGS:  The treated areas are covered with Vaseline. It is normal for the resurfaced area to ooze after the resurfacing. Excessive ooze can be absorbed by using clean gauze swabs. You will need to clean the area with cooled boiled water frequently (3 hourly) and apply Vaseline until healed (You do not need to wake from sleep to do this). Do not pick at scabs as this may lead to permanent scarring.

MEDICATION:  Take your pain relief and antibiotic medication as directed. Any medication you ceased prior to surgery must not be taken after your surgery until you are completely healed or as directed by your physician.

SUNLIGHT:  You must be extremely careful with sun exposure during the post laser treatment period. Your skin will be very sensitive. Once you have healed you must wear a 30+ sunscreen at all times. You will need to use one suitable for sensitive skin – advice regarding this is available from our clinic.

DRINKING AND EATING:  If the skin around your mouth is swollen or tight, drink from a cup or a spoon. DO NOT USE STRAWS as this action will cause creases around your mouth.

ACTIVITIES:  Avoid strenuous exercise for two weeks to avoid irritating the skin.

TED STOCKINGS:  You may be required to wear TED stockings for compression to prevent DVT (blood clotting) post-operatively. If required these will be fitted at the hospital on your admission day. The nursing staff will advise you on how long you need to wear these for.

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.