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Difference Between Old CO2 Laser and Fraxel Repair?

I had the CO2 laser done about 12 years ago and am considering trying the Fraxel Repair in an effort to turn back the clock a little. How different are the results of the two procedures? Should I expect better results from this new technololgy?

Doctor Answers (1)

The two treatments are very different

+4

The CO2 laser performed 12 years ago was known as an ablative treatment, meaning that the laser removed the entire skin surface all at once, leaving a second degree burn from which recovery was prolonged, painful and difficult.

The Fraxel re:pair laser uses the CO2 laser but in a fractionated manner, meaning that thousands of microscopic laser columns are separated from each other and evenly distributed across the skin surface resulting in tightening, pigment smoothing and collagen formation. Recovery and potential adverse effects between the two lasers are very different as well. The Fraxel re:pair recovery involves 4-5 days of hiding at home (red and swollen), without pain, and then at least 1-2 weeks of red/pink whereas the ablative CO2 laser treatment involved much discomfort and redness for months.

In addition, the chance of permanent loss of pigmentation from the older laser was much greater. To date, no occurrences of delayed hypopigmentation have occurred with the re:pair laser. Improvement in skin texture, fine lines and pigment can be quite comparable between the two lasers though in general the re:pair will have less of a tightening/smoothing effect.

I hope this helps.

Dr. Ahn


Westborough Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

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