I wanted to write this review to help other people who want to have Co2 laser resurfacing due to the fact I found very little reviews online or actual experience with traditional Co2 laser resurfacing not Fraxel. I wanted to have Co2 for a long time as I knew it was the laser with the most productive results out there. I always had lots of fine lines under my eyes which progressed with time and unfortunately for a few years of my life I was addicted to tanning beds and tanning in general. So much that I would go once a day for an extended period of time. I can't stress enough how much damage that did to my skin and how this is one of the ways I had to pay for it years later. Nonetheless, one can't turn back time- so here I was and I had to improve it.
I did as much research as I could and found a doctor who is a laser specialist in Florida. Dr. John J. Martin came highly recommended by a former patient and two other doctors I know. I was mostly afraid of the pain involved and the downtime. In fact there was really no pain but there is a huge amount of downtime. First of all I want to say that Dr. Martin and his staff are beyond amazing. I have had A LOT, and I mean A LOT of plastic surgery and have known many doctors, have had consultations with even more-and the quality of care and after care I have received from this practice really is exceptional and almost second to none. I decided to have several procedures done at one time- the full face Co2, some scar revisions, upper lift reduction, platysmaplasty and cervicoplasty (in other words an extensive neck lift) and he reshaped my earlobes which had been left distorted by a previous facelift. The total surgical time was about 4 hours, and really what scared me the most was the Co2 laser, I was afraid it was going to burn like crazy. The only time I really felt any burning was directly after the surgery before the Flexan dressing was applied. I was complaining of the stinging right after and the nurses told me as soon as we put the dressing on it will not burn as much. They were right it did not burn at all afterwards. The wost part was my face and eyes were so swollen and the net put over the dressing was pulling my left eye down badly and when I got home my eye was really bothering me, however when I adjusted the net, it felt much better. Though the eyes were uncomfortable for several days. The most trying part was initially because you must care for the procedure by putting damp cloths constantly over the dressing to avoid it sticking to your skin and to relieve any burning or stinging and applying Vaseline to the lash lines. The dressing makes it nearly impossible to chew and sleeping is a challenge. As I mentioned there was no actual pain just a lot, and I mean A LOT of discomfort.
Three days later the dressing was removed and I looked like a tomato. The swelling was terrible and the bruising and swelling in my neck incredible. I never, ever bruise but apparently this type of neck lift causes a lot of bruising and swelling. Because I was religious with taking care of the Flexan, it came off very easy so cleaning was not difficult.
At Dr. Martin's office the after care is exceptional- you can go everyday and they will clean it and take care of it for you until you do not need to come anymore. The worst part of the cleaning was the under eyes, it was very sore at times. I was advised to apply Vaseline liberally at home and to keep applying the wet cloths, Which I did. The surprising part was that the neck turned out to be much more challenging than the Co2. I was not expecting that. There was no pain involved but the swelling seemed endless. It has been about 7 weeks post op and just recently has it begun to normalize but there is still a lot of swelling. I am still swollen over all but it is much better. What I can say about anyone considering the Co2 is that you MUST, MUST be mentally prepared for this procedure. It is very challenging mentally and you must be extremely diligent with your after care at home. I would say it is impossible to get through it the first week or two without help.
You will look ABSOLUTELY terrible for a long time. For me, I honestly did not begin to look better about 5 weeks in. As I said, it has been 7 weeks and I am still pink and the under eye skin it is still a darker pink/red. As I understand that area takes the longest, and it won't be about 6 months or so before I see the complete results overall. But now, the redness can be camouflaged with mineral make up. But I cay say I see an over all improvement in my skin already and the wrinkles under my eyes are pretty much gone. The skin is overall smoother, tighter, and very even- there are no marks or freckles from the sun left.
One of the issues I did have was slight hyper pigmentation under one eye and on a small part of one cheek. Dr. Martin gave me a product which resolved that in about two weeks. I have also been using a steroid topical (one week on and off) and started IPL laser to help with the redness. There are a tons of little 'things' with this surgery that you will deal with. Through it all, the doctor and his staff helped me deal with all of them. I can't stress enough how important it is to find someone EXTREMELY skilled to do this type of laser. It is very difficult and requires so much after care that I think a lot of plastic surgeons don't want to deal with it. Yet, you will not get the resurfacing results with any other laser that you will get with the traditional Co2. You will also need what will seem like an endless amount of patience. I am 7 weeks post op and still recovering and improving.
I hope this helps with anyone who has questions about the Co2. I will try to update it after a few weeks to provide improvements. Best of luck.