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Skin smoothing surgery
DefinitionSurgical removal of the top layers of the skin.
DescriptionDermabrasion is usually performed on an awake patient using local anesthesia. Extensive procedures, however, may require sedation or general anesthesia. A surgical instrument is used to gently and carefully "sand" the surface of the skin down to normal, healthy skin. The healing tissue is treated with ointments (such as petroleum jelly or antibiotic ointments) to reduce scab formation (crusting) and therefore reduce scar formation.
Dermabrasion is helpful in reducing scars and fine skin creases ( wrinkles ).
IndicationsDermabrasion may be offered to patients with:
For many of these conditions, alternative treatments exist. Always discuss your options with your physician.
RisksThe risks for any anesthesia are:
Expectations after surgeryYou will likely be given antibiotic pills to prevent a viral infection (severe cold sores). The skin may be treated with ointment and a wet or waxy dressing. The skin will be quite red and swollen, and eating and talking may be difficult. There may be some aching, tingling, or burning for a while after surgery. Pain can be controlled with medications. The swelling will subside within two to three weeks. The skin will itch as new skin starts to grow. The freckles sometimes disappear in the treated area, but may return.
The dermabraded skin may develop whiteheads (milia) after dermabrasion which usually disappear. Enlarged skin pores may also develop but usually shrink to normal size once the swelling has subsided.
If the treated skin remains red, elevated, and itches after healing has started, this may be a sign that abnormal scars are beginning to form. The surgeon will provide treatment which can be started early.
ConvalescenceFor men, shaving will be delayed, then an electric razor is used at first.
For several weeks, the new skin layer will be a bit swollen, sensitive, and bright pink. Normal activities may be resumed and the patient can be back at work in about two weeks. Avoid any activity that could cause a bump to the treated area for at least 2 weeks; ball sports are to be avoided for 4 to 6 weeks. Stick to indoor pools to avoid sun and wind, and keep the face out of chlorinated water for at least 4 weeks. For 3 to 4 weeks the patient will experience a red flush with alcohol consumption.
It is important to protect the skin from the sun for 6 to 12 months until the pigment has completely returned. The skin pinkness will take about 3 months to fade. Hypo-allergenic make-up may be worn to conceal the scar. When full repigmentation occurs, the color should closely match the surrounding skin, making the procedure virtually undetectable.
Update Date: 8/15/2003Michael Lehrer, M.D., Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT