Don't Ever Do Fraxel to "Delay" a Facelift - Seattle, WA

I asked my derm if I was reaching the age for a...

I asked my derm if I was reaching the age for a facelift and she said I could delay the need for that kind of work with four sessions of Fraxel: restore.

I had three treatments in three months, got scared and stopped. My fair skin has turned ruddy, and I have developed long wrinkles beside and under my eyes and around my mouth. My derm says fair skin is prone to redness and that she will give me a reduced rate on IPL sessions to treat the redness, but I don't know if I trust her anymore. I wonder if Fraxel is not the first step in a long process of treatments to correct side effects of prior treatments.

If my skin stays like this, I will need a plastic surgeon. I regret, regret, regret it.

Bellevue Dermatologist

A different doctor did my first Fraxel treatment slowly and carefully. She said things like, "You're doing great...how's the pain?" During my second treatment, Dr. Chiu gossiped to the tech the whole time, never spoke to me, and whipped through the treatment with lightning speed. When I came for the third treatment, the tech asked if the previous treatment had gone well, and I told her truthfully that a big area above my eye had apparently been missed. The third treatment seemed to last forever while Dr. Chiu again gossiped with the tech. When she finished, Dr. Chiu she said she hadn't missed any areas because she had done six passes. I didn't come for any more treatments after that because the recovery that time was awful. At the follow-up, Dr. Chiu was hurried, didn't let me ask any questions, and just kept squealing, "You look GREAT!! You look GREAT!!" Then she left the room. In reality, my skin was a mess.

2 out of 5 stars Overall rating
2 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
2 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
2 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
2 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
3 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
4 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
4 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
Was this review helpful? 6 others found this helpful

Comments (60)

Sort by

I am so sorry for what happened to you...the same thing happened to me too...tiny holes that connect and make lines on treated areas...when I pointed them out to my Dr he said he couln't see them but at the end contradicted himself and said that my skin will eventually heal and improve! He never mentioned this as a possible side-effect only hyper pigmentation in case of sun exposure and minimal results. I am now 8 weeks post fraxel one and only procedure and praying that my skin will eventually go back to normal... Could you tell me how your skin is doing now? Are things better? What products did you use? I have very sensitive skin so can't use retin-a, vitamin C...so my options are limited. I am only 34 and so worried that my skin will look that way for ever!!
  • Reply
i don't trust any doctors anymore after what happened to me with Fraxel.

they all have god-complexes and don't care about their patients. they just want money.

they aren't doctors anymore. they're just greedy business people in doctor coats.
  • Reply
Seattlite: Please give an update? Are you seeing improvement in the pattern or texture?
  • Reply
I have pin pricks- gives my skin almost an orange peel appearance from where the laser destroys little columns of tissue. Fraxel also made old scars reappear- a reality which doctors repeatedly deny is possible, but I have chicken pox scars that have resurfaced on my forehead from when I was a kid that had previously been gone for many years. Stick with the Retin-A. You need to use it consistently for 6-12 months to see improvement.
  • Reply
I had Fraxel 1 year ago. I am having complications. My skin looks awful in certain lighting and is scarring. I am trying to find a doctor that knows about Fraxel laser damage or just damage from lasers in general. I want to know if there is something to do to stop the scarring. I am using Retin-a, but that doesn't seem to help. Is there a way to look at the dermis, like a VISIA that would determine what damage I have to the dermis. Is there anyone else on here that has experienced scarring from Fraxel?
  • Reply
What type of scarring are you seeing? I had my first fraxel March 2009. I had 5 in total, my last in Dec 2009. In the last month I have started to notice small pit like marks. I am seeing a dermatologist who is also a plastic surgeon that does fraxels to see if the damage is from the fraxel.
  • Reply
By the way, Seattlite, what I said was meant to be supportive of you, and in return I feel you attacked me (and were inaccurate in doing so). I am very wary of a doctor who offers no actual information but tries to sell something with a "free" consultation. To be frank, I came to his site because I thought it was for patient support and information, and not for doctors to try to sell things. And now I'm done with the site. Good luck!
  • Reply
Correction: I shouldn't say I worked "alongside" practicing surgeons; that overstates my role. I worked with them in an academic setting on their written clinical studies, case reports, articles, i.e., helped them in publishing their articles/research results. We were employed by the same hospital.
  • Reply
Seattlite17, I wish you well. I am not out to argue with you because I think you have suffered enough. If you found Dr. Rand's comments helpful, that's great. However, please know I was not out of line in suggesting that a plastic surgeon publish a report. I worked for 10 years as a medical editor (with researchers, surgeons -- including plastic surgeons -- and physicians). And what you say is not correct. Clinical studies are written by physicians who direct the studies and seeing the patient outcomes; case reports, likewise, are written by physicians about individual patients who come to their offices for clinical visits. Rightly or wrongly, objectivity is presumed. Basic science research is done in a lab; that is a different career path. Those who would publish studies on Fraxel would be those who are observing the effects, be they case studies on individual patients or based on data only. Physicians/surgeons also do literature reviews. You should see my plastic surgeon's list of 20 articles! Particularly in academic settings, such as teaching hospitals like the one I worked at in Houston, a practicing surgeon must publish, and as I'm sure you know, many plastic surgeons also do Fraxel. With regard to your condition, the important thing is that you feel that Dr. Rand is helping you, and that's great. Sorry I misinterpreted. I do wish you well, but I feel compelled to correct your error because I worked hard in the area of academic publishing alongside practicing surgeons for many years.
  • Reply
Dr. Rand was not out of line to suggest I see him for a consultation--he's trying to be helpful. Dr. Rand wouldn't publish research on Fraxel because, first, Fraxel is not his specialty and second, he is not a researcher. Instead, he's a practicing surgeon. This is like expecting a sculptor to conduct research on American portrait artists. In any credible study, researchers (who usually have an MD plus a Phd) ideally evaluate a large sample of patients that they have not personally treated. This preserves objectivity. Conducting rigorous studies of healthcare outcomes is a different job entirely that normally involves a different career path than Dr. Rand's. No, I don't know Dr. Rand. Yes, I am anxiously waiting for my skin to improve after Fraxel, and to some extent, it is.
  • Reply
I am sure many people on this site will relate to my feeling that it doesn't matter if it's "few and far between" if you are one of the unlucky few. I honestly think that only you can answer the question you have asked. At least you know the risks, though. Better to be informed before making the decision because that way you can research and find the best possible person if you decide to go for it. Good luck.
  • Reply
I am considering having one treatment of fraxel repair laser. I've seen the before and after results on a patient at the dermatologist I'll be going to and the results were tremendous. Are these "bad" cases few and far between or should I run now?
  • Reply
I know a hand-ful of us that could benefit from plastic surgery after Fraxel. I can't believe "they" are letting this happen to more and more people!
  • Reply
And what I am saying is that if you think that there's a possibility that Fraxel causes a problem so extreme that surgery is the answer, that needs to be in the medical literature. My reading comprehension skills are just fine.
  • Reply

I think what Dr. Rand is saying is that the OP was told she could do Fraxel instead of a facelift. As it turns out, she may have just needed a facelift all along, since Fraxel doesn't do much lifting at all. I don't think he's suggesting a facelift to repair Fraxel damage (correct me if I'm wrong).

  • Reply
Sharon, I take your point. I read the original posts and the ensuing comments as saying that Fraxel actually did far more damage to her face than had she left it alone (rather than simply didn't give her a facelift effect). I read the doctor's offer to discuss a surgical option to repair Fraxel damage as an implicit recognition of the potential damage of Fraxel, but perhaps I'm mistaken as Dr. Rand made no remark about the potential of Fraxel to cause harm. Nevertheless, that was my point. If doctors or surgeons even consider that a possible outcome of Fraxel is that bad, WHY is it done, and WHY aren't there more reports of these bad outcomes in the literature? As long as it's not reported, the concensus is going to be "It's safe."
  • Reply
And maybe Dr Rand chose the wrong forum to make his offer? He is writing on a review about a Fraxel disaster which means that there is likely to be some scepticism and cynicism towards doctors in general. The people writing here have been damaged by procedures performed by doctors so that is understandable. In the review, Seattlite is suggesting that Fraxel is no interim measure to delay a facelift. But Fraxel has already been done and I think that the real question Seattlite need an answers to now is: Can a facelift be SAFELY performed on a face damaged by Fraxel or could it make the damage worse? Over to you, Dr Rand...
  • Reply

In Dr. Rand's initial comment, he offered to consult with Seattlite (for free) to discuss the options. It's very difficult for a doctor to make recommendations with any certainty prior to performing an exam and learning a patient's pertinent medical history.

Good luck, Seattlite!

April

  • Reply
Pardon but I clearly didn't say that surgery was the answer or that "you need a facelift" to solve your problems. Please just re-read the post. What I am saying is that the "hawking" of services is mostly done by the non-plastic surgeons out there who will tempt unsuspecting patients into thinking they don't need surgery when actually they do, and that the non-surgical options they can offer will substitute for well done surgery when they won't.
  • Reply

Sorry about the problems you are having. If you want an honest estimate of what a facelift can do for you, please call my office and I would be pleased to spend an hour discussing your options for free.

  • Reply
Dear Doctor: If you honestly believe that surgery is the answer to a bad asthetic outcome with a common cosmetic procedure like Fraxel, then you need to be publishing that in the medical literature. Sorry, but the profession has a responsibility to us to do more than hawk more services to cover up their failures.
  • Reply
Unbelievable!
  • Reply
I really don't understand all of this; I feel as though I'm reading about an alternative universe. As I read these posts, I'm thinking, How on earth does the industry get away with this? These things carry risks that are just enormous. I don't have a clue why the FDA isn't stepping in to ban any of this.
  • Reply
I could not agree more, but not only is the FDA failing to ban these treatments, it is actually approving them!!! I share your sentiment that this industry has become an unregulated runaway train (wreck) and the whole thing just beggars belief. I too am completely shocked and the more I learn, the more disappointed I become. Whatever happened to the tenet that underpins the practice of medicine: First, do no harm????????
  • Reply
It *might* change if there were enough media coverage/pressure on the FDA/manufacturer of Fraxel. I'm a reporter and may take up the cause, even though neither science nor consumer complaint writing is my bailiwick. Hmmm. I may refer the idea to someone more qualified. It is pretty disgusting. All of us are afraid we're damaged for life. I know for sure that only medical intervention (IPL) will get rid of the broken capillaries that Fraxel caused under my eyes--and that's getting off easy compared to some people!!!
  • Reply