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Dermatol Surg. 1997 Jul;23(7):519-25.

The short- and long-term side effects of carbon dioxide laser resurfacing.

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  • 1Laser and Skin Surgery Center of New York, New York 10016, USA.



Carbon dioxide (CO2) laser resurfacing has become a very popular method of rhytide and scar removal in the recent past. Preliminary studies have been published describing the method, histology, and clinical results of CO2 laser resurfacing. However, none of these studies has dealt with long-term follow-up results.


To review all side effects resulting from CO2 laser resurfacing with regard to both short- and long-term effects.


Retrospective analysis of 104 patients who have undergone CO2 laser resurfacing for either facial rhytides and/or scarring with follow-up periods of 4-23 months (average, 8.2 months).


The incidence of side effects are generally very low for CO2 laser resurfacing, including scarring, postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, and infection. However, there is a significant and previously unreported risk of hypopigmentation in an area of the population who often seek improvement in the appearance.


CO2 laser resurfacing of facial rhytides and acne scars can be a very safe procedure by an experienced laser operator. However, careful patient selection, thorough patient instruction, and proper aesthetic analysis of treatment sites must be followed to insure the most favorable outcomes with CO2 laser resurfacing.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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