Ablative Skin Resurfacing With a Novel Microablative CO2 Laser

February 2009 | Volume 8 | Issue 2 | Original Article | 138 | Copyright © February 2009

Robert H. Gotkin MD, Deborah S. Sarnoff MD, Giovanni Cannarozzo MD, Neil S. Sadick MD, Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas MD PhD

Carbon dioxide (CO 2) laser skin resurfacing has been a mainstay of facial rejuvenation since its introduction in the mid 1990s. Re- cently, a new generation of fractional or microablative CO 2 lasers has been introduced to the marketplace. According to the concept of fractional photothermolysis, these lasers ablate only a fraction of the epidermal and dermal architecture in the treatment area. An array of microscopic thermal wounds is created that ablates the epidermis and dermis within very tiny zones; adjacent to these areas, the epidermis and dermis are spared. This microablative process of laser skin resurfacing has proven safe and effective not only for facial rejuvenation, but elsewhere on the body as well. It is capable of improving wrinkles, acne scars, and other types of atrophic scars and benign pigmented lesions associated with elastotic, sun-damaged skin. Because of the areas of spared epidermis and dermis inherent in a procedure that employs fractional photothermolysis, healing is more rapid compared to fully ablative CO 2 laser skin resurfacing and downtime is proportionately reduced.

A series of 32 consecutive patients underwent a single laser resurfacing procedure with the a new microablative CO 2 laser. All patients were followed for a minimum of 6 months and were asked to complete patient satisfaction questionnaires; a 6 month post- operative photographic evaluation by an independent physician, not involved in the treatment, was also performed. Both sets of data were graded and reported on a quartile scale. Results demonstrated greater than 50% improvement in almost all patients with those undergoing treatment for wrinkles, epidermal pigment or solar elastosis deriving the greatest change for the better (>75%).