Fraxel Treatment is a safe, non-invasive procedure that allows you to rediscover the fresh, healthy skin of your youth.
Unlike traditional CO2 lasers, which perform a thin, general ablation of the entire skin surface, the Fraxel re:pair laser uses microscopic treatment zones (MTZs) to ablate tissue deep within the dermis. Even though the laser does not protect the stratum corneum, the unique Fraxel technology spares much of the surrounding healthy tissue in the demis. This results in immediate coagulation and tissue shrinkage – which leads to faster wound healing and skin tightening.
No other CO2 laser combines the efficacy of ablative skin resurfacing with the faster healing times of true fractional delivery.
Over the years there have been many lasers developed to rejuvenate skin. Back in the 90’s it was the CO2 laser. It started out with a bang but within a short time the problems with this technology became evident. The patients had incredible smooth and wrinkle free skin, but because the CO2 laser could not be used on the neck there was a definite demarcation line at the jawline. In addition, the CO2 laser produced other complications such as hypopigmentation (loss of pigment) and even scarring. These problems were primarily the result of ‘deep thermal damage’, or excessive heat that went too deep into the tissue. The recovery was long, requiring bandages for a week or more followed by a period of redness lasting several weeks.
Soon, the erbium laser came onto the market. It was very similar to the CO2 laser but it did not have the ‘deep thermal damage’ issue. The results were very similar to the CO2 and the recovery was shorter but bandages were still required and downtime was several days. With this laser the demarcation lines and hypopigmentation issues were resolved.
Then came the first of the Fraxel lasers, the Fraxel re:store. This laser was heralded as the gold standard for non-ablative fractional skin resurfacing. It was (and still is) effective, safe and predictable and could be used on all skin types, on and off the face – with minimal disruption to the patient’s daily routine. Typically four treatments were performed spaced about a month apart with great results for photodamage, mild to moderate periorbital wrinkles, acne scars, melasma and actinic keratosis.
The newest Fraxel is the Fraxel re:pair, a fractionated CO2 laser. This treatment can be delivered in one session. Return to work can be as soon as 3 days. It addresses the same issues as the Fraxel re:store but also results in skin tightening. I have spent many months following the literature to feel comfortable that the new fractionated CO2 lasers would not have the same side effects as the original version. In addition, I compared the top CO2 lasers before deciding on the Fraxel re:pair. There are several on the market but Fraxel re:pair is by far the best fractional CO2 available.
The most significant benefit of fractional lasers is the fact that the recovery time is much less because the technique involves treatment of a fraction of the skin at one time. If you can visualize a photograph with the pixels, this treatment would treat every 5th pixel. Because a smaller area of tissue is removed at a time healing is much faster, post-treatment redness lasts only a few days and each pulse can be delivered to a deeper level resulting in more collagen regeneration. Results with both Fraxels will be complete in 6 months but improvement will be evident within a few days.
As you can probably tell I have a fondness for fractional lasers. As with other technology, lasers have come a long way over the past few years and I enjoy learning about and using these new technologies for the benefit of my many patients.
Fraxel re:pair treatment is the only CO2 laser on the market that delivers the results of traditional bulk ablative lasers with the faster healing times of true fractional delivery.
The Fraxel re:pair laser has all the benefits of traditional ablative resurfacing lasers without the prolonged downtime and significant risk of side effects. With Fraxel re:pair treatment, the skin heals vertically instead of horizontally as with traditional bulk ablation. In addition, clinical data suggests that Fraxel re:pair treatment, unlike conventional CO2 lasers, is safe for off-the-face treatments.
Other key differentiators for Fraxel re:pair treatment:
As a non-ablative laser, Fraxel re:store treatment coagulates epidermal and dermal tissue, while penetrating the stratum corneum as if it were a window, leaving it completely intact. As a result, there is no clinical downtime. And depending on the aggressiveness of the treatment, social downtime is only 1-3 days. The ablative Fraxel re:pair laser, on the other hand, still treats the skin fractionally, but it microscopically removes all layers of the skin in its treatment zone, including the stratum corneum. Due to the removal of the skin’s protective barrier, there is a very small risk of infection following the treatment, as with any ablative laser system. However, thanks to the fractional modality, these risks are much lower than traditional bulk ablative lasers. Depending on the aggressiveness of the treatment, clinical downtime may last up to 2 days and social downtime may last 5-7 days.
Clinical studies suggest that for most people, maximum results are realized in just one Fraxel re:pair treatment. The treatment was specifically engineered to enable you to tailor the treatment to your patient’s particular needs. Depending on the aggressiveness of your treatment, a patient may have up to a week of social downtime.
First, cleanse the skin. Then, 60 to 90 minutes prior to treatment, apply a topical numbing agent to the treatment area. You may also choose to give another medication, such as Ativan, to relax the patient. The procedure takes approximately 30-40 minutes for a full face.
Most patients describe an increased sensation of heat during the treatment, and there may be some discomfort or pain. However, unlike the experience in traditional CO2 treatments, patients will feel quite comfortable immediately after a Fraxel re:pair treatment.
Depending on the aggressiveness of treatment, patients may have some pinpoint bleeding following the procedure, as well as some oozing for up to 48 hours until the wounds close up. The most common side effects are edema, which usually subsides after a week, and erythema, which may last up to a month, depending on the aggressiveness of treatment. Other temporary side effects may include minor itching, dry skin, peeling or flaking, and a bronzed skin appearance. Some of these skin reactions may not occur with all patients.