Should Be Done Under Full Anesthesia.

I am on my fourth day of recovery after my Fraxel...

I am on my fourth day of recovery after my Fraxel Re:pair procedure. My recovery has been uneventful, so far, but the procedure was unimaginably painful. It was done in a surgery center, under "twilight" sedation -- and with nerve blocking injections in my face -- but I felt everything. The passes of the laser were like being peeled with a hot knife. This procedure should be done under full anesthesia!

If you are considering having more than one thing done, it's possible to pair Fraxel with other work, such as liposuction, that is done while you are fully out. The fact that some doctors do Fraxel Re:pair in-office, with just a local injection and oral pain killers, is shocking. I have a very high tolerance for pain, and I was prepared to have this procedure hurt. Nothing could have prepared me for what it actually felt like. My body convulsed with each pass.

But on to the recovery.

After my treatment, my face looked frightening and raw, like it was covered in "road rash", as blood oozed from the laser perforations. It felt hot initially, but the nurses placed a cool vinegar compress on it, and my skin cooled. When I got home, I slept for an hour, then got up to do my first vinegar-water compress. The blood washed away, and I could see the dots of the laser's tracks. As the seepage of blood and serum continued, it looked as if I were sweating blood. I quickly applied a thick layer of Aquaphor, lay down on a towel-covered pillow, and waited for my next vinegar compress. I continued with compresses every two to two-and-a-half hours for 48 hours (setting an alarm at night). I had no pain, or stinging from the vinegar, and almost no inflammation. I slept with my head elevated, and I took a pain pill at night mostly so that I would remain still as I slept.

I was scrupulous about cleanliness when doing my compresses. I sterilized the bowl, in which I soaked my gauze, with Pinesol every time I used it. I washed my hands before touching my face for any reason, or used a tissue to press lightly on any place that tickled. I changed and washed my p.j.s and robe twice daily (seepage around my face, and sticky Aquaphor). I changed the towel on my pillow. I used a straw to drink.

On the second day, my skin was seeping only serum, not blood. There was no crusting, due to the regular compresses. My face looked red, but not overly raw. It felt deeply bruised in places. My eyelids were visibly bruised and purple. When I touched my forehead, where the skin is stretched taut, the skin felt thin and fragile, as if it might break. I made sure to keep away from the light in my bright house, and I kept up the soaks and thick slathering of Aquaphor (which by this time was in my hair, and all over my house).

On the third day, my skin was showing signs of wanting to crust. I upped the soaking times for the compresses, and applied Aquaphor as if I were frosting a cake. Some small pimples had erupted, and my skin had taken on a much redder, almost purple color. I was afraid of infection and an acne breakout, so I phoned my doctor's office and got the go-ahead to start using cleanser on my skin on day four.

Today is day four, and I was finally able to wash my hair and my face with mild cleansers (Aquaphor cleanser for my face), and switch to a mild moisturizer instead of the Aquaphor. My skin has formed a rough, almost sandpapery layer of what I assume is dead skin. In some areas it shows signs of wanting to slough off. When I applied a heavy layer of moisturizer followed by a titanium dioxide sunblock (the chemical sunblocks will sting and irritate your skin after Fraxel, so physical sunblocks are preferred), My deeply red skin turned purple, with a metallic sheen. So I strongly disagree with my doctor, who said that I would be able to leave the house on day four. I am still housebound and looking freaky.

Overall, I like the firming up I see on my skin (which I am told is partially due to temporary inflammation, as long-term improvement happens over months). I am very worried about how red my face is, and that some areas of my face seem to have diminished feeling, topically. However, that seeming numbness might be due to the layer of dead skin that hasn't peeled yet. I like that my acne scars seem to have been zapped off. It's too early for me to have a a final opinion on this procedure. But I cannot stress enough to anyone considering this: Fraxel Re:pair hurts. If I'd know what the pain level was, I never would have agreed to do this under partial sedation.

I will update this post as my face changes over the next weeks.


I hope it goes well for you, Melanie. First, if you don't have a spouse or partner, do arrange for someone to stay with you during the first three days of recovery. You absolutely cannot go out, and you might need something to be purchased for you, and you might feel rotten enough that you need help. The day of the procedure, you will be completely wiped out. You need another human there just to feel cared for. As Cyn, said, infection is the biggest threat. Keep your hands off your face, wash them before you touch your face for any reason, change your bedding and clothing often, keep your hair well off your face (I recommend getting one of those wide, terry headbands that are used in spas), and keep the wound clean and constantly hydrated with ointment. Follow your doctor's instructions to the letter. I was given a surgery packet of arnica tablets (an herbal anti-inflammatory) for before and after the procedure. I think the helped keep the swelling down. Have lots of towels on hand (early on, they will likely get blood and yellow seepage stains on them, so don't use your best ones). A gel pack that can be refrigerated or frozen might be welcome if you swell. Eye drops feel good when the Aquaphor migrates into your eyes. Straws for drinking are nice to have for the first couple of days, to keep your skin clean and keep the ointment out of your mouth. Before you have your procedure, go around your house and make sure you can darken a few rooms enough to be comfortable moving around until the fourth or fifth day when you can wear sunscreen -- I was confined to just a couple of rooms in my very bright house, which has few window coverings. Drink lots of water! And I would suggest (confirm with your doctor) having Neosporin on hand for that later part of the healing, when you might have some small areas of broken skin. If you are doing the vinegar soaks, buy several packs of gauze pads. I went through, I think, five packages (but I did the soaks for more days than required). I'd also suggest preparing the person who is taking you home from the surgery center (especially if it's a husband!) by showing him or her some "Fraxel Day One" photos. My husband admitted yesterday, now that I am looking fairly normal, that I really scared him when I was wheeled out of the recovery room, my face seeping blood. I hadn't thought that part through beforehand. That's all I can think of right now. No reason to be scared, though. The procedure itself is quick, and if you are to be fully sedated, you should feel nothing. I had no post-procedure pain, and minimal swelling. The itching and prickles I 've written about here seem to be normal, and do subside. TWO WEEK UPDATE: I still itch, but it's getting better. Not so crazy-making. I am no longer looking flushed, but am still very slightly pink, as if I've been in the sun. My forehead is redder than the rest of my face, especially in the area of the upper temples, where the skin is very thin. The skin there is darker and slightly redder even than the rest of my forehead, and it feels a little rougher and harder. I assume that I will peel again on my forehead. Overall, my forehead looks ruddy, and I can see broken capillaries and red dots on it. The one spot (about the size of a quarter) where I had a problem with broken skin is healed, but it looks as if I might get a scar there -- it is healing rougher and darker than the surrounding skin, and is slightly raised. I suppose I can deal with that later on with some other treatment. I am getting more feeling in my temples day by day. Unfortunately, as the nerves wake up, they seem to cause a deep itch that can't be scratched. It doesn't last long, but it's dreadful. Under my jawline, where my Fraxel treatment ended, I have a rough line of demarcation (in skin color) and strange, prickly nerve sensations when I rub the skin. I don't have complete feeling in the skin at the joint of the jaw. I think this is related to the Novocaine injections that numbed my temples. The skin discoloration is similar to what you get after a poison oak rash heals. It is not alarming, and it looks like it will even out over time. I have been using olive oil on my skin, and it seems to have improved the formerly angry, bumpy, raw look of my forehead. The skin there has calmed down and smoothed, compared to what it was a few days ago. But it is still on a different healing schedule than the rest of my face, as mentioned above. This is a difficult time, psychologically, because the minor (and flattering) inflammation that Fraxel caused has deflated. Many of my wrinkles have returned -- and my scars -- and now I just have to wait for a couple of months to see whether my collagen takes over the repair work. I do see some improvement around my eyes, though. Where I once had crinkly crowsfeet, I now have a few creases, and I think that I have less laxity underneath the eyes. But the bottom part of my face looks about the same as it did (as far as wrinkles and scars go) before Fraxel. Maybe even worse, since I haven't had any line fillers there for so many months now. Also, a detail about me that I didn't include in my review, but should have, is that I am nearing age 50, am post-menopausal and am on hormone replacement therapy (a low dose).
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I am having Fraxel Repair Friday. I am scared to death. Any suggestions besides full sedation.
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Melanie, Be careful of infection! I was on Keflex but still got an infection[ it was resistant to it] When I was put on Cipro, the infection cleared, but it had already done its damage. I am one month out and still have severe red and bumps where the infection was on my face. It really set me back on my recovery. Good luck!

A note on why I did not provide the name of my...

A note on why I did not provide the name of my doctor: I have purposely left off the name of my doctor so that I can be completely honest about the details of my Fraxel experience-- good and bad. I have encountered some reviews on this site that appear to be blatant promotions for medical practices. I do not agree with the practice of listing the name of the doctor for that reason: it invites such disguised advertising. For the record, the doctor who did my Fraxel is a well-respected, Board-certified plastic surgeon. The price I was charged is the going rate for my area.

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All previous updates on recovery are in the posts...

All previous updates on recovery are in the posts below. Two weeks after the procedure, my skin is almost normal, and I am back to my regular life. Since some of the immediate improvements from Fraxel:Repair do regress before your collagen replacement takes over, I am still undecided as to the usefulness of this procedure. My choice of the "it's not worth it" button is based entirely upon the level of pain I experienced. No beauty treatment is worth that much pain to me. Done under full sedation, I would not consider this such an onerous procedure. My recovery process was relatively easy, though I did have a few side effects (including some potentially permanent facial numbness). Had I been fully sedated, would I have considered Fraxel "worth it"? My answer to that depends on whether I regain full feeling in my face. If I do, I'd say "yes". If I don't, then I would have to say "no way". Right now, I'm sticking with the "no". I would urge anyone considering Fraxel Re:Pair to do a lot of reading about it first, and consider all the risks -- large and small -- before going ahead with it. Try to find someone who has had it done, with whom you can talk in person. Then ask yourself whether it's worth it for you. This is a cosmetic procedure. It's optional. Always keep that in mind.


My maths sucks...haha.....please pay no attention. I am around 64 hours post op. I'm soooo itchaayyyy!!! ;)
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Hi guys! Your comments have been most helpful although, I wished I had found them earlier. I turned 41 on my birthday April 1st and as a gift to myself, I had IPL and Pixel both done April 9th. I only had the topical numbing cream and honestly (for me) it was tolerable except when they got to my forehead (which she saved for last) and holey moses that was the worst pain EVER! Felt like hot matches!!! I even had my chest done and it didn't hurt anything like my forehead. I have been careful to keep my hands washed, used my vinegar and water solution to clean my face twice daily and am keeping aquafor on at all times. So, had treatment Monday afternoon and this is Thursday early has been approximately 81 hours since my treatment and suddenly I have developed blistery patches on...guess where? forehead!!! They are very painful. From my temples down, I am already itchy and peeling and no longer sensitive to the touch (which makes me a happy camper because it's healing nicely) forehead is going to eventually scab over and obviously take much longer to heal. I am worried about that area scarring. After reading some comments on infection and me now having blisters, I immediately started taking Keflex just for good measure. Thankfully I had a bottle on hand! What this is going to achieve for me remains to be seen but I can say this....if I have it again, I will not let them treat my forehead! I was told they treated my chest, half power and my face, full power. Maybe...just maybe I wouldn't have these blisters if she would have used half power in my forehead. I asked them if I'd be able to wear make up and be back at work on Saturday....they assured me I would be. Yeah right! I'll be at work, doing hair, looking a hot mess!! I guess they LIE about the down time because few people would actually get it if they knew it would take 2 weeks before they could (comfortably) emerge from solitary confinement! I'm just undecided, about this whole ordeal, as of now.
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I had Fraxel Repair done three years ago and I am so sorry I did, I have hypopigmentation on both sides of my face that I have to work HARD to cover with makeup. I also have spots of hypopigmentation on my cheeks. It did NOTHING for me! I was60 years old and I do not think any laser works on rejuvenating collagen espcially after 50. Dont forget infection is a real side effect. I did get an infection and it cause extra scarring... STAY AWAY FROM THIS LASER>
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Name not provided

I am neither recommending him nor warning people against him. I am reviewing the procedure, not the doctor.

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