Frequently Asked Questions About Fraxel re:pair


1. What is Fraxel re:pair? Fraxel re:pair is one of the most effective clinically proven fractionated carbon dioxide lasers or fractionated CO2 lasers on the market. It combines the effectiveness of traditional CO2 lasers with the safety of fractionated lasers. In the current April issue of Vogue it is touted by prestigious NYC dermatologists as the Next Big Thing in skin rejuvenation.

2. How is it different from other lasers?  It is the only fractionated CO2 laser that is applied in a rolling, paint brush stroke while all other lasers are applied in a stamping technique. It has over 3 years of clinical studies with over thousands of patient treatments. It has over 30 scientific medical journal articles while its closest competitor has less than 5.

3. How Does It Work?  The laser hits the skin in a pixilated pattern, like the dots on a Lichtenstein painting. The skin visibly tightens as a selected percentage of the treated surface is vaporized instantaneously, the untreated skin immediately beginning the healing process. New collagen formation is stimulated for the following 6 to 8 months.

4. How Many Treatments are required?  In the great majority of patients only a single treatment takes years off of a patient’s appearance. Some patients request a second treatment which gives even better results. I have treated 3 patients two times, and they have remarkable results (will post before and after pictures here on RS soon).  For acne and surgical scar patients 2 to 3 treatments may be necessary.

5. Is it painful and how is it done?   Fraxel repair is performed in my office using local anesthetic. It is very tolerable, the only patients who seem to have much discomfort are smokers, or those who abuse drugs or alcohol. There is no pain once the treatment is over, and during the recovery period.  We encourage patients to attempt to quit smoking before treatment and during recovery.  Permanent cessation would be best for both the skin and the patient's overall health.

6. How is recovery, painful, long?   During the recovery there is no pain, and the post treatment consists of frequent skin soaks and application of either Cutagenix foam or Aquaphor.  I encourage patients to take 7 days to recover at home.

7. How Long Before Going Out in Public?   Depends on how close the treatment is to Halloween….just kidding. Patients need at least 5 to 7 days before going out in public.  At 7 days, patients are red, like a day at the beach without sun block, but can cover up with mineral make up or tinted sun block for men.  During the second week, patients skin looks like they have been on a "sun vacation" without their sunblock.  As the color fades, they begin to recieve complements.  During weeks 3 and 4, the color returns to their normal skin color.

8. How Long Do Results Last?   Based on our experience with traditional CO2 lasers since 1994, the results should last 8-10 years, patients will always look younger than if they did not have the treatment. Some patients may opt to have treatments sooner.

9. Who is a good candidate and what type of results can be expected?  Anyone who wishes to improve their appearance and look younger. Patients look like themselves, only rested, healthy, natural, and years younger.  I have treated patients as young as 15 for acne scars, and as old as 78 for face and neck in a patient who did not wish to undergo surgery. It tightens skin laxity in the face and neck, lifts the cheeks, removes excess skin hooding from upper eye lids, smoothes lower eye lids, and improves brown and red discolorations of the skin. It is actually becoming a very popular 50’Th birthday present for many of my patients (both women and men).

10. What about Aftercare, Sun Block, Exposure?  Patients are encouraged to protect the investment that they have made in their skin by using sun block, avoiding over sun exposure, and wearing protective clothing when outdoors.

11. What parts of the skin may be treated other than the face?   Neck, décolleté, hands, eyes? The neck, eye lids, chest, and hands may all be treated.

12. Will this replace facelift?   No, but many patients will not ever need a facelift after having this treatment. It is a pre-emptive strike against a facelift.  I recently treated a patient who initially consulted for a neck and face lift, but after two re:pair treatments has a better result than I would have obtained with a face/neck lift.

13. What is the cost?   It costs about $800 per year for each year that a patient wishes to have removed. Once again just kidding. Since it does not require general anesthesia or an operating room fee, the cost is about one third the cost of a face lift, without the surgical scars, and general anesthesia. 

14. Can any doctor perform this procedure?  Fraxel re:pair is a very powerful laser and should be performed only by physicians well trained and experienced in the use of CO2 lasers. I am grateful that I am a facial plastic surgeon as well as having used CO2 lasers for the past 15 years. When used improperly, or if the laser is not calibrated, this treatment can result in severe complications.

15. Would you have the procedure done yourself?   Yes, as soon as I find someone whom I would trust with my face. I have treated family and friends (who are now very happy).

16. What is Fraxel Lite? When is the best time to have Fraxel Lite if you want to look your best for an event? Fraxel Lite is Fraxel re:pair with very low settings. Patients are red and swollen for 1-3 days, then tan for a few days. By two weeks, they have that “Red Carpet” glow to their skin. It is an excellent treatment to look your best for that big event with very little down time.  A series of Lite treatments gives even better results, but not as dramatic as a full re:pair treatment.

17. Is it effective for acne scars?   Yes, it is one of the most effective treatments for acne scarring, but usually requires multiple treatments.

18. Where can I find out more about Fraxel re:pair?  Obvioulsly here on Real Self you will find a great deal of information about re:pair.  Additional info may be found on my web site, in the "media" section.  Los Angeles' television news journalist  Marta Waller's treatment is documented in a daily video-diary.

Article by
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon