No Signs of Change After Fraxel Laser

I am entering into my fourth week of recovery after undergoing Fraxel CO2 surgery. I do not know specifically the brand name (re:store, re:pair, etc.) of the laser, but it was definitely a Fraxel CO2 laser. I am in complete agreement with the other people on this site who have share this experience. It was enormously painful - and my doctor did not discuss this with me at all. Additionally, I ended up with not one, but TWO Corneal abrasions from the "metal shields" they place in your eyes during the procedure, and was virtually blind for the first 3 days out. This not only was extremely painful, but has served to undermine my confidence in my doctor, who is supposed to be one of the leading authorities on this procedure in New York.

After the treatment, I had pretty aggressive breakouts, which required cortisone injections to reduce the inflammation of the blemishes. I now have several new acne scars on my face (that were not there before the procedure) and have not noticed, to date, one iota of improvement - not one single scar or depression that has diminished - not one pore or wrinkle that has disappeared.

My doctor has given me assurances - spoken with great conviction - that this procedure requires 3 months before you see any definitive improvement, but i haven't noticed ANYTHING! After the swelling subsided, and the break-outs calmed down there have no signs that my skin is changing (no additional peeling, no lightening of scars). Is this normal? is the condition of my skin really going to improve? Or have I just spent $5,000 purchasing the emperor's new clothes?

Doctor Answers 1

Fraxel re:pair is more painful than Fraxel re:store

These issues need to be addressed with your treating physician. Fraxel re:pair is a more painful procedure than the Fraxel re:store(SR1500) because the CO2 laser actually vaporizes tissue. It helps to have a strong numbing gel applied for 60-75 minutes. A local anesthetic nerve block is used in about 1/2 patients. The local nerve block makes the procedure much more comfortable.

For my patients who "do not want to feel a thing" we offer a trip to the out patient surgicenter for a brief IV sedation. Corneal abrasions are a risk when the upper eyelids are being treated with the Fraxel re:pair, but they should be extremely rare with proper lubrication and smooth corneal protectors. It sounds like you have had a history of acne scarring.

It is not uncommon to have a flare up breakout, particularly around the chin area after a Fraxel treatment. You should continue treatment with your top NYC doc, as your doc will want you to have the best results possible. In some patients further treatment is required, although I would advise nerve blocks if you have Fraxel re:pair again. If that is "not going to happen", then a series of Fraxel re:store treatments should be helpful.

Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
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