Undergoing 1540 laser treatment to correct (acne and surgical) scarring - Finding information from real people who have undergone this treatment was a bit challenging so I thought I would blog my experience here.
Naturally, I was nervous going into the procedure because most of the reviews I had read on-line were negative or neutral, with very few positive accounts. Really, the people who are more apt to post on-line are those with negative experiences, so I wasn't surprised by the lack of input from people with positive experiences.
After filling out paperwork, the technician applied numbing gel to my entire face and upper neck. For 20 minutes, I waited for the doctor who performed the procedure. After putting eye protection on me, he began with one cheek and it felt like he was pressing a pencil eraser lightly into my skin, but each time he did so, it felt like a bee was then stinging me. During the procedure, he used difference energy settings so sometimes the bee sting felt more painful, yet tolerable. He moved from one cheek to the next cheek and then to the forehead and then to the jaw/chin/mouth area. It seemed to take forever. There is a burning smell that I smelled periodically as well.
For me, the most painful area was my forehead. When he proceeded to do a second pass (this means he is starting all over again), I requested that he not do my forehead. He did lower the energy output a bit, and even so I found it to be more painful the second time around (probably b/c my skin was already sore from the first pass). He did do a third pass, and included my forehead this time. With each pass, it felt more painful.
I'm unsure I could have endured a fourth pass. If I had to rate myself, I would say I have a somewhat low pain threshold. During the procedure, my eyes teared up once but I did not cry.
After the procedure, the technician handed me a mirror and I didn't look too bad (not as I was expecting to anyhow based on reviews I had read on-line). My skin was blotchy (red and white) and definitely puffy and swollen. There were no blisters or open lesions, no bloody or seeping fluids. Just red and white blotchy skin... and I did feel like I was on fire. The process is 'drawn out' and 'painful' because it does feel like you have just been stung hundreds of times all over your face. Before I left the technician put sunscreen on my face and neck - this did not irritate my skin.
After the procedure, I felt a little off balance. I think my body was self-medicating and I felt a little bit funny. Can't really explain it. My drive home was ~30 mins. and I had to be very careful. By the time I was home, I still felt like I was on fire but not as bad. Within THREE hours of the end of the procedure, my skin (though still hot feeling) didn't hurt much at all. It still looked swollen and blotchy, however. My focus and concentration are optimal, again.
My doctor said I should avoid icing my skin or taking ibuprofen (but I could take Tylenol) because he wanted the inflammatory response to occur naturally to provoke collagen genesis.
I have committed to undergoing three sessions and until I have finished all three, I will make no judgements about this procedure until I have undergone all required treatments but I will post here periodically to keep a running log of my adventures with Palomar 1540.
hope it helps someone.
P.S. Cost is $500 (1st session), $450 (2nd session), $400 (3rd session).
Palomar 1540 - Scar Removal - North Carolina, NC
12/9/2010 Undergoing 1540 laser treatment to...