Dear Doctors, Does frequency of co2 fractional laser treatments matter? Does it make a difference (in results) if treatments are done every 6 weeks or every 6 months? If so, what is the optimal period of time between treatments? Thank You
Period of Time Between Laser Resurfacing Treatments?
Doctor Answers (6)
Better to wait
I advise patients to wait at least 3 months before a second fractional ablative laser treatment. As other docs have posted, it takes at least 3 months for full collagen remodeling/generation to occur. In fact, I had one patient who came back at 3 months after a fractional Erbium/Yag resurfacing procedure and had only modest improvement. However, 1 year later after the single treatment she had significant objective improvement; however, this delayed result is not the norm.
There is no evidence to suggest that waiting longer periods of time is detrimental.
Although many of us do these treatments every 4-6 weeks, there is no evidence to suggest that waiting longer periods of time is detrimental. In fact, since collagen generation occurs over a 3-6 month period of time, you may find that your results after that 1st treatment improve for months after the initial treatment.
CO2 fractional laser treatments
Depending on your skin type and the conditions you are hoping to improve, fractional CO2 laser treatments are usually performed at 2 to 3 monthly intervals. We want to keep stimulating the collagen to obtain the best result. You will still have improvement though if treatments are done further apart.
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Collagen production is known to continue for at least six if not twelve months after laser resurfacing. It may be more effective to retreat the area at six weeks than waiting six to twelve months in between the treatments, but there is no study that I am aware of that examined the results with patients having the same number of treatments but spaced out so far apart and then examining their end result at one year after the last treatment. Such a study could tell us if retreatment during the active remodeling phase of the dermal collagen is more productive of a good result than waiting for the time needed for all the collagen to be produced from one treatment. The reality is that many people don't have the down time to recover from multiple fractional ablative laser treatment such as CO2 Fraxel Repair compared to the fractional non-ablative Fraxel Restore/Dual laser. There is certainly a down time with the Fraxel Restore erbium laser in which there is slight swelling and redness then slight flaking, but nothing compared to the initial appearance after Fraxel Repair CO2.
The information provided in Dr. Shelton's answer is for educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical advice. The information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultations with a qualified health professional who may be familiar with your individual medical needs.
Fractional laser resurfacing
Usually we wait a minimum of 4-6 weeks between treatments; however, this is the minimum amount of time to wait. There is no reason to believe that waiting longer decreases the effectiveness of the subsequent treatments.
Time Between Laser Resurfacing Treatments Vary
Thank you for your question. Depending on the depth of treatment, skin condition, your skin type, and % of tissue ablated, the time in between can vary from 2-3 months to a year. Collagen building will continue for 6 months after a CO2 laser procedure. Be certain to be under the supervision of a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon with expertise in laser surgery for the most effective and safe treatments. I hope this helps.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.