When post-op is the best time to undergo Fraxel Repair to minimize a scar on the face? Is the sooner the better? How soon exactly?
Fraxel Repair to Minimize Fresh Scar?
Doctor Answers 4
Fraxel Repair may not be necessary for minimizing fresh scar
Without a detailed history or examination, the general rule is to wait 4-6 weeks post-op until corrective laser treatments can be performed. However, the face heals well, and if you are not taking any medications after your surgery, namely blood-thinners and corticosteroids, you may be treated as early as 7-14 days after.
Numerous lasers have the capability to stimulate and renew collagen. As soon as sutures have been removed from a surgery, correction can be initiated with a pulsed-dye laser, like the Perfecta/V-Beam [by Candela]. From that time, patients should expect multiple treatments, once every 3-4 weeks apart. I have found that succeeding this with a series of erbium laser treatments, as the Fraxel Restore [by Solta], also spaced 3-4 weeks apart, is optimal. Combining these lasers allows one to target multiple layers of the skin, which, in recovering from a scar, all have different functions and needs.
Benefits in addressing these layers and needs include: promoting healthy circulation, stimulating your body to create collagen, and re-building damaged tissue. And though the V-Beam and Fraxel Restore combination brings a considerable improvement in the color, texture, and overall appearance of the scar, it can be further "polished" by a total resurfacing, a more aggressive laser treatment, like the CO2 Fraxel Repair [by Solta] as you suggested. However, renewal through skin products and topical treatments for "at-home" maintenance is often enough, and may also be recommended.
Fraxel Repair for facial scar
Fractional CO2 lasers (including Fraxel:Repair) can be used at many different times to improve or minimize scarring. The laser can be used as early as after sutures are placed during the original surgery.
However, I would recommend waiting at least 6-8 weeks before considering CO2 laser. The simple answer is, there are no studies showing optimal time for laser after scarring. There ARE, however, studies showing that dermabrasion is best at 6-8 weeks after the original surgery to minimize scarring. The reasons I would wait this long for laser treatment are:
1. When being used for scarring, lasers have a similar mechanism of action as dermabrasion (destruction and remodeling), so the timing is best around the same time (until we have studies that prove differently).
2. Performing laser at the time of surgery or within weeks after can have good results, but there are no large studies showing this. It does also slightly prolong healing time since it destroys the upper layers of skin.
3. (most important) - Scars take time to heal on their own, and the result is going to be much better after 6-8 weeks anyway. you may not even need further treatment, depending on the location and repair.
So, it can be done anytime. There is not yet a proven optimal time. It's best to wait 6-8 weeks and evaluate then.
Best Timing for Fraxel repair to Minimize Fresh Facial Scar
Usuallly one to weeks after surgery is sufficient time to have Fraxel repair to minimize scarring. You are correct in that sooner is better.
Good luck and be well.
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When sutures are out, can start using Fraxel Dual for scar control
I would not recommend Fraxel re:pair for a fresh scar. I think you would do better with the 1550nm of the Fraxel dual laser to improve the look of a fresh scar. That can be done as soon as the sutures are removed. A pulse dye laser is another alternative for improving the looks of fresh scars.