Can I Get Laser Resurfacing w/o Sedation?

I do not want any sedatives as I don't need any. I heard a doctor around here wouldn't even do it without patient being sedated. However, have heard of some that just use local anesthesia with an OPTION for sedative or iv sedation. Please let me know if this is absolutely necessary. I really don't need to be sedated in my opinion (as long as I am pain free with the local)

Doctor Answers 9

Laser resurfacing without sedation

The pain of laser resurfacing depends on the type of laser and the depth of the resurfacing.  I use a fractional erbium laser and microlaserpeels without sedation. We use a topical anesthetic applied for an hour before the procedure.

The deeper the penetration of the laser the better the results of the procedure, but the more painful it is.  If I need to use more depth, I do local blocks with lidocaine.

Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Laser skin resurfacing and pain

The pain involved in Laser Skin Resurfacing truly depends on the type of laser being used and the depth of the procedure. With the fractional Co2 Laser I typically use some type of anesthetic either topical, or via blocks, or intravenous. This is a decision discussed per each patient's wants and desires at their consultation appointment and reviewed in the preoperative process. There are many options available for every patient. Pain tolerance differentiates from patient to patient and this is well discussed to meet each patients needs.

Michael Elam, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 208 reviews

Can laser resurfacing be done without sedation

Laser resurfacing can certainly be done without sedation if you want. The amount of pain that a laser treatment causes depends on the type of laser/planned depth of resurfacing. Topical numbing creams and/or injection of numbing medicine can be done in many cases.

Thomas A. Lamperti, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Fractional CO2 laser can be performed under local

I commonly perform deep fractional CO2 laser treatments without any sedation in the office.  I prefer to first place a topical anesthetic on the face for 45 minutes and follow this with nerve block injections to numb the entire face.  Lighter treatments can be performed under topical anesthetic only (a skin cream) but the results of the lighter treatment are not as good for fines lines and wrinkles as the deeper treatments.

Jacob D. Steiger, MD
Boca Raton Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Sedation not necessary for laser resurfacing

Deeply penetrating skin lasers - such as the fractional C02 ( ex. smartskin)  can provide excellent rejuvenating skin resurfacing. They are most often performed after a topical anesthetic cream has been applied for 45 to 60 minutes.

Not all numbing creams are equal. Besides the active ingredients, the emollient  aids in the absorption.

With a good topical numbing cream, applied for the appropriate time - it would be exceedingly rare to need sedation. 

Christopher J. Peers, MD
South Bend Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Laser Resurfacing without Sedation

Depending on what laser is being used, and the patient's mindset, many resurfacing procedures can be done with local anesthetic.  Both oral and IV sedation can be used as well, but in my office, with the use of the Fraxel re:pair CO2 laser, we most often use topical sedation, nerve blocks and oral medications.

Jason Brett Lichten, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Sedation not needed for laser resurfacing

You can definitely get laser resurfacing without sedation. The local anesthesia used for laser resurfacing should be 100% effective so that there is no pain during the actual treatment.

The type of local anesthesia varies with the type of laser that is used for the resurfacing. In most of my cases resurfacing with the erbium laser, which is most often used to treat specific regions of the face, can be done using only a topically applied anesthetic. After each "pass" of the laser, additional anesthetic solution is applied, so that the numbness persists even into deeper layers of the skin. The carbon dioxide (CO2 ) laser, on the other hand, requires an injected anesthetic. This is true for both conventional and fractional CO2 laser resurfacing. In most cases the CO2 laser is used for resurfacing the entire face. Even for full-face CO2 laser resurfacing, most of the anesthetic injection is nearly painless (this is because tumescent local anesthesia is used). Most patients require no sedation with either type of laser.

Please keep in mind that I developed my methods of anesthesia over the past 16 years of performing laser resurfacing, with the goal of maximizing patient comfort during this procedure. Not all laser surgeons use similar methods of local anesthesia.

Robert C. Langdon, MD
Guilford Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Sedation for laser resurfacing?

Absolutely ! We do several cases of fractional C02 per week on aggressive settings with proper blocks and tumescent anesthesia, and all patients tolerate well

Peter Malouf, DO
Dallas Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Laser resurfacing and anesthesia

the old fashioned-CO2 laser was too painful in my experience, for patients to have it done with the use of topical anesthetic cream and local anesthetic injecitons. intravenous sedation was very helpful to make them comfortable. i find the same with fractional ablative CO2 Fraxel Repair.  Fraxel Restore, however, only needs numbing cream.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

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.