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AORN J. 1989 Nov;50(5):1007, 1009-13.

Facial resurfacing. Using the carbon dioxide laser.

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  • 1Southeastern Massachusetts University, North Dartmouth.


During the past three years, 130 patients have undergone CO2 laser full-face resurfacing at our facility. The patients ranged between 19 and 68 years of age. Ninety of the patients were women; 40 were men. In this series, there were no major postoperative complications. Of the 130 patients, five developed hyperpigmentation. (See "Case Study.") The condition is always temporary. It may be caused by ultraviolet light (eg, suntanning); thermal radiation; alpha, beta, and gamma ionizing radiation; and trauma (ie, chronic pruritus). Other minor complications include depigmentation (ie, hypomelanosis), scarring, and infection. Depigmentation occurs on dark-skinned faces, and it appears to be a temporary condition. This condition may become a major complication if the laser penetrates into the skin too deeply and damages the melanocytes. In that case, the condition is permanent. Potential causes of depigmentation are physical agents (eg, burns), thermal, ultraviolet light, ionizing radiation, and trauma. Scarring and infection are possible complications of traditional dermabrasion. The use of the CO2 laser has proven to be less scarring for the patient and provide uncomplicated wound healing.

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