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Institute of Aesthetic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, LLC

Expertise  Integrity  Artistry


What is CO2 Laser Resurfacing?
CO2 laser resurfacing is a Carbon Dioxide laser that has been used for more than 25 years in the Aesthetic Industry for treatment of skin conditions such as photodamaged and loose skin, fine and coarse wrinkles, skin lesions and uneven pigmentation, and scarring. When a CO2 beam of light is selectively applied to the skin, it heats and vaporizes various layers of the skin, instantly treating damaged skin and wrinkles while smoothing out the surface of the skin. The skin remodeling occurs with new skin and collagen growth. The healing typically involves an open surface which takes weeks to heal and typically results in loss of the baseline pigmentation leading to variable lightening of the skin. CO2 laser resurfacing is considered the gold standard for treatment of advanced skin conditions.

Fractional Skin Resurfacing and its Benefits

Fractional skin resurfacing (Matrix CO2) is a Revolutionary Delivery System that provides dramatic skin improvement without surgery. Matrix combines the benefits of CO2 laser by using microlaser columns, “points of light,” to treat the epidermis and dermal layers of your skin. It treats a percentage of your overall skin to a select and accurate depth. The treatment precisely penetrates deep in the skin to remove old, damaged skin cells, and stimulates your body’s own natural healing process, and replaces the cells with fresh growing healthy skin. It has FDA clearance for treatment of the following conditions:

  • fine wrinkles

  • irregular texture

  • sunspots and age spots (pigmented lesions)

  • sun induced redness (vascular dyschromia)

Using a computerized pattern generator and a scanning algorithm, thermal heat is dispersed evenly, treating the damaged scanned area. This particular pattern dramatically reduces pain and the need for general anesthesia and recovery. Treatments can be either superficial or deep dependent upon the condition and degree of skin damage to be treated. Treatments typically lead to smoother, tighter, more even skin tone and texture, softening of lines, and some improved appearance of redness caused by sun damage. Fractional treatment with the Matrix LS-25 has been proven safe for treatment of the face, but also on delicate skin areas like the neck, chest and hands. It may be used to treat various skin types.

Personal interview on clinical examination should be conducted to obtain relevant facts about your medical and dermatologic history, any medications you are currently taking or have taken in the recent past should be disclosed.


  • Erythema (redness of skin): The laser treated areas will have a distinctive redness representing increased blood flow due to stimulation of the skin layers and collagen. Initially after treatment there will be slight yellowish oozing or bleeding from these microscopic fractional sites. This condition will gradually fade during the first 2 days. There will be a grid pattern to the skin which will gradually fade over several days to weeks.

  • Inflammation (swelling): Treatment with the Matrix system results in mild to moderate swelling that can last for 2-48 hours with light treatments and deeper treatments may demonstrate intense swelling for 3-4 days.

  • Hyperpigmentation (bronzing): This is present after the 3rd day of the procedure, but will begin to fade, revealing younger healthy skin. With deep treatments, darker pigmentation may last weeks.

  • Hypopigmentation: loss of pigment (lightening of skin-permanent) is a rare side effect with this technology.

  • Infection: This therapy may precipitate a cold sore or skin infection, thus you will be prescribed medication before treatment.

  • Scarring (rare).

In conclusion, this technology was developed since 2004 which has become a very refined and precise treatment for aged and sun damaged skin. It is a unique skin rejuvenation option that applies current laser technology to rediscover the skin of your youth.

Matrix Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing Pre-Treatment Considerations
The Matrix Fractional Skin Resurfacing Laser is an FDA cleared device. The laser uses an intense C02 laser beam to treat selected areas of the skin. The accuracy of the system allows the doctor to control the depth of penetration limiting the effects on surrounding tissue while delivering the necessary treatment energy with artistic precision.
The laser light is applied using Micro Ablative Columns (MACs) where the depth of penetration can be controlled to remove variable amounts of tissue for a number of treatment indications. This treatment gives the doctor the ability to deliver a conservative, moderate or more aggressive treatment.
Downtime for recovery is directly related to the aggressiveness of the treatment. Conservative treatments for a condition like superficial (near surface of skin) photo damage may require downtime of only a few days but aggressive treatments for deep wrinkles, laxity or scars typically require a longer downtime of up to one week or more.
Since skin types and individual healing varies from person to person, most patients will obtain significant improvement after a single treatment while others may need additional treatments to achieve optimum results. Most patients will experience a sunburn sensation after the treatment. Depending on the aggressiveness of the treatment pinpoint bleeding and/or oozing of clear fluid may occur. Redness, swelling and mild discomfort may occur initially with flaking over subsequent days. Occasionally patients may have complications or reactions to the topical agents or drugs used during the treatment. On rare occasions scarring or pigment changes may be observed in the treated areas.
To maximize long term effectiveness patients need to continue or implement a good maintenance skin care program following treatment. It is strongly recommended to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 whenever you go outdoors.
Before and after pictures are needed to demonstrate your initial needs and post treatment improvements. You may also be asked if these photos can be used for the purposes of public education, medical study or research and as documentation for your medical records.
Before you can be considered for Matrix Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing your doctor will complete your History and Physical examination and decide if you are a good candidate for this procedure or an alternative procedure. Patient's that are pregnant or nursing, healing impaired or have a serious medical problem will not be considered for this procedure. Patients that cannot follow pre and post instructions for skin care will not be considered for this procedure.


Updated 1/27/10

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