Post Operative CO2 Laser Resurfacing Instructions
The following is a list of general instructions for your care following surgery. Please read them carefully several times as most of your questions should be answered here. Instructions for your care will also be reviewed the morning after surgery. Carefully following these instructions should help you get the best results from your surgery.
Following your surgery you must have another adult stay with you the first night. You should plan on remaining within thirty miles from the location of your surgery for this first night. It is also important for you to keep your head elevated the evening after surgery as well as for the first two weeks following surgery. This can be done by either sleeping in a recliner tilted at 45 degrees or sleeping with two pillows underneath your head. Avoid rolling onto your face. Sleeping on your back for the first two weeks helps to ensure this.
Following your laser procedure, a Silon dressing will be applied over your face. This dressing, which looks like Saran wrap, will provide a moist environment for quicker healing and less discomfort. It will be left in place for the first three days following your procedure. During this time do your best to leave the dressing in place covering all of the resurfaced areas. For those areas uncovered you may begin applying Aquaphor ointment four to six times a day to keep them lubricated.
On the third day after your resurfacing procedure, we will see you back in the office to remove your dressing. At this time we will also review your daily care from this time on.
This care will be reviewed following the removal of the Silon dressing:
- Taking 4×4 gauze soaked with cool or tepid tap water, gently go over all resurfaced areas six times a day. The goal with each cleaning is to remove the exfoliating skin and crusting that develops with this. This should be a gentle process with no scrubbing or abrading. If you have pain or develop bleeding you are scrubbing too hard. Lots of water and frequent cleanings are most important.
- After each cleaning apply with Q-tips a thick coat of Aquaphor ointment. This should look like icing on a cake. This will provide the moisture your skin very much needs during the healing process.
- Following these directions and keeping your skin well lubricated will help quicken the healing process.
- By day ten to twelve your skin will be completely resurfaced. At this point you may still use the Aquaphor ointment as needed for moisture. At this point we will coordinate a make up session to review skin care and demonstrate how to camouflage the pink color of your skin.
What to expect
Swelling will vary patient-to-patient. Swelling may actually increase the first three to four days before subsiding. Most of your swelling should resolve over the first two to three weeks. Do expect, however, to have minor fluctuations in the remaining swelling over the course of the next two to three months. Things to do to minimize this swelling include keeping your head elevated as much as possible over the first two to three weeks, avoiding bending over or heavy lifting for the first three weeks, and avoiding prolonged sun exposure for the first three months.
Bruising will vary like swelling from person to person. Most bruising and discoloration should resolve over the first two weeks. Make up, with Dr. Hamilton’s permission, can be applied ten days to two weeks after surgery.
Your face will be numb following the procedure because of local anesthetics that we inject at the time of surgery. Expect this to wear off during the first six to twelve hours.
It is not uncommon for patients to go through a period of mild depression after cosmetic surgery. This typically occurs the second week after surgery while some of the swelling and bruising still persist and yet the patient is anxious to see a final result. Realize this is a temporary condition and things will improve. Focus on diligently following the wound care as well as other activities to help divert your mind.
- No strenuous exercise for at least two weeks.
- No heavy lifting for three weeks.
The healing time for laser surgery is often less than expected and the results are worth the wait. While most discoloration will fade over the first three months, your healing will continue for the entire first year. I will follow you through this entire process, but be patient.
Please do not hesitate to ever contact our office.
Mark M. Hamilton, M.D., F.A.C.S.