Ablative resurfacing's biggest advantage is its efficacy. With one procedure, a significant reduction in wrinkles, solar lentigines, keratoses, surface irregularities, and skin laxity is noted. Five to ten years can be removed from a person's perceived age. The effect is immediate, in contrast to nonablative methods where results improve slowly over time. The effect is also predictable and, in most cases, at least 50% improvement is noted.
Most epidermal irregularities can be removed with a single pass. Subsequent passes allow for more tightening or further sculpting. The improvement in pigmentary changes, superficial growths, scars, fine lines, and skin laxity is dramatic. Skin tones are evened out and returned to normal nonsun-exposed color. Often, pores are diminished and solar elastotic changes are removed. Nevi, sebaceous hyper-
plasia, and other dermal tumors can be flattened. Actinic keratoses are removed and any superficial basal cell carcinomas (BCC) can be treated at the same session. In fact, several patients with a long history of BCCs occurring on both facial and body areas have not experienced new tumors on the face subsequent to CO2 facial resurfacing - even though they continue to produce tumors on their nonfacial areas (S.L. Kilmer, personal observation).
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