August 8, 2008
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - UAB physicians are the only ones in Alabama offering patients facelift quality looks through the use of the Fraxel re:pair(TM )laser. The treatment is for people who want to get rid of wrinkles, rhytides, furrows, fine lines, textural irregularities, scars, stretch marks, pigmented lesions and vascular dyschromias.
UAB is one of the 10 sites in the United States that participated in the comprehensive clinical trials of this new FDA-approved system that is now ready for mainstream use. The Fraxel re:pair(TM) system, manufactured by Reliant Technologies Inc., provides the industry's first and only fractional deep dermal ablation (FDDATM) treatment. The laser removes and eliminates aged and damaged skin without the prolonged downtime and adverse reactions associated with conventional ablative resurfacing lasers and surgical procedures.
"This laser does not peel the entire skin surface like traditional CO2 lasers," said Marian Northington, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology and principal investigator of the Fraxel re:pair(TM) clinical trial at UAB. "It ablates microscopic columns on the skin surface with untreated bridges of skin between the treated areas. These untreated bridges fill in and repair the ablated zones within 48 hours and since only a fraction of skin is being treated, there is less downtime and less risk of pigmentation alteration and infection than with the traditional, older resurfacing methods. The results are as impressive as traditional resurfacing but safer with less recovery time afterward."
Northington said the Fraxel re:pair(TM) laser also is able to treat even delicate areas such as the neck and chest due to its tissue sparing design. Conventional bulk ablative laser skin resurfacing removes 100 percent of the epidermis and is too aggressive to treat the neck and chest, which often leaves patients with an undesirable line of demarcation after treatment of other areas and can lead to hypopigmentation.
Northington said persons with severe photodamage, deep lines and wrinkles, sunspots, and skin laxity are excellent candidates for treatment with the Fraxel re:pair(TM) laser. Also, patients with a history of skin cancer benefit from resurfacing because it decreases the risk for further non-melanoma skin cancers. Patients with surgical scars, acne scars and stretch marks also see a great deal of improvement.
Northington said patients come in to her office twice, once for consultation and once for the procedure, and usually need about a week to recover after laser ablation.
"Patients first come and are given details about the procedure and get the prescriptions needed for treatment. The day of the procedure, they arrive one hour beforehand and numbing cream is applied to the area we are treating. Patients also take some pain medication and get nerve blocks before the procedure to make them as comfortable as possible. After the procedure, patients will wear Vaseline on the treated area and do vinegar soaks for 48 hours until all the ablated zones of skin heal. Then the patient is just red and swollen for the remaining of the week."
Northington said for those using the treatment instead of a facelift, the treatment can last up to 10 years. For those patients who use the system to get rid of stretch marks, hyperpigmentation and scars the treatment is usually permanent.