Dermabrasion is a surgical process that scrapes away the top layers of skin to treat scars, wrinkles, pre-cancerous lesions, tattoos and pigmentation, resulting in a more youthful appearance. When the top layers of skin are removed, the new skin that develops is smoother, clearer and, often, firmer. Dermabrasion can be performed on any part of the body, but is most commonly used to resurface the face.
It should not be confused with microdermabrasion, which is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure to treat the top layer of the skin.
Dermabrasion is best suited to lighter-skinned people, who are at less risk for hyperpigmentation. It should not be performed on those who have active acne.
Dr. Tanna will give you a detailed list of do’s and don’ts, but some of the preparation is the same as it is for any surgery:
Dr. Tanna will apply a local anesthetic but, depending on the extent of the treatment, may administer a sedative or general anesthesia to help you relax.
Once the anesthetic has taken affect, an assistant will hold your skin taut, while Dr. Tanna uses a device called a dermabrador over the skin being treated. The type of motion and tip of the hand piece will depend on the both the size and location of the area to be treated. In any case, it will have a rough surface to remove the layers of skin.
Dermabrasion can be done on an outpatient basis, without an overnight stay or hospitalization. However, it may require multiple sessions to treat a large area.
When the procedure is complete, the treated areas will be covered with a moist dressing, which is usually changed the next day.
You may experience sunburn-like symptoms, such as swelling, burning or tingling. The skin will be pink and may ooze a clear or yellow liquid and become crusted. Complete healing, including fading of the pink coloration, takes approximately three months.
As with any surgical procedure, bleeding, infection, or an allergic reaction to anesthesia is possible. Redness, rash, swelling, acne breakouts and changes in skin tone are risks specific to dermabrasion, but rarely experienced.
Dr. Tanna will recommend the optimal post-surgical regimen to promote healing. The guiding rule is to be gentle to your skin, and follow all aftercare instructions fully so healing proceeds as it should.
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