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Successful CO2 Laser Surgery - NO SCARS!

(LONG, BUT WORTH THE READ IF YOU HAVE PITTED SCARS!!)

I don't usually post on message boards, but I like to read them. I wanted to post this time because I hope it may help others out there whose self-esteem has been affected by ugly pitted acne scars.

I'm a fair-skinned 35 year old female. I had beautiful skin all through my teens and very early 20's. When I was around 23 yrs. old and going through a very stressful divorce, my face broke out bad... not just regular blemishes, but cystic acne on both sides of my face. The left side was the worst. My skin went from smooth to pitted in a matter of a month on both sides of my face. I was devastated! I hated putting makeup on because it made the pitted scars look even worse. It took a long time to heal. I had scars on my temples too.

About 7 months after the initial breakout, in 1992, I had dermabrasion done ($4500) because it was really the only thing available at that time for acne scars. The recovery was horrible. I thought the scars would be gone, but near the end of the first week of recovery I noticed the pits coming back after the swelling went down. Even though it did soften the scars, it didn't get rid of them, which is the impression I originally got from the surgeon. I even had a cyst on the day of surgery that he should not have cut into, but he did and it left an even bigger pit in my skin than was there before. It was horrible! So, I was 23 and newly divorced. My self-esteem was at an all-time low anyway and the scars were the icing on the cake.

Over the years I've tried different things to lessen the appearance of the scars. Micro-dermabrasion (hated it!), glycolic acid peels and Smoothbeam laser, but those only had temporary effects. When my ex-husband died a few months ago at the age of 38, I decided it was time to move on and put the last bit of my divorce memories behind me. I wanted to be able to look in the mirror for once without focusing on the scars and thinking about my divorce. More and more I've been hearing about CO2 laser resurfacing and saw a phenomenal show called 'Plastic Surgery: Before & After' that showed a guy in his 50's with really bad deep pits all over his face. He did the CO2 laser resurfacing and his skin was beautiful after 6 weeks. My skin wasn't as bad as his, so I thought I'd have even better results (which I did!). smile.gif

I had CO2 Ultrapulse laser resurfacing recently ($4150). I had my full-face done so I had to go under general anesthesia. My surgeon did 2 to 3 passes on different areas. He went deepest on the cheeks. The first few days after were rough - like a bad sunburn, but as the swelling went down and the new skin started to form I couldn't believe my eyes. My skin is smooth again! After more than 12 years of suffering through being self-conscious when talking to people face to face I can't believe I finally have smooth skin again... it looks even better than it did before my skin scarred. My pores are smaller and my skin is soft and has a glow to it. I also had a really large permanent open pore on my cheek that I'd had since I was 16 years old. I used to have to put liquid makeup in to fill it up. Now it's so teeny teeny tiny you can't even hardly see it. The laser shrunk the pore tremendously. I am so happy! I'm normal again!!! Another tip, I went on Mircette birth control 6 weeks before my surgery so I wouldn't have any breakouts and my face was clear. It's a low-dose pill. I have hormonal acne and it gets worse under stress. I'm going to do everything in my power to keep this great skin. My doc is in St. Louis, but I've included a link to a website in Colorado that shows a great before & after pic of a CO2 laser patient. It's a dramatic change. That's how mine is...dramatic! From pitted to smooth. My family can't believe it. I can't believe it! Yea!!!! smile.gif

Great website B&A pics: http://www.colaser.com/acnescars.cfm

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Congratulations on your results. Unfortunately, not everybody have good results. I had full face CO2 laser resurfacing 6 years ago by one of the leader's in the field. I did not even get the 50% improvements he promised. In fact things got worse. My scars got deeper, more discolored and more visible. My skin suffered the effects of burns along the laser strokes in the scar areas (in the form of long clustered striations or wrinkles, as though the deeper layers of the skin shriveled.)

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Hi, I'm very happy for your success! I hope you use gobs of sunscreen and take care of that new skin, and go out dancing or something and live it up - you deserve it.

cocomo, I feel bad for you and others that had a bad experience with CO2. I do believe that some of them had it done with older technology, though. I may have CO2 someday myself, although that day is not near. (It's especially good for photodamaged and wrinkled skin and I don't have much of those probs) If and when I do I will have a test patch done to see how my skin reacts. Why don't all CO2 or dermabrasion patients do that?

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Congratulations on your results.  Unfortunately, not everybody have good results.  I had full face CO2 laser resurfacing 6 years ago by one of the leader's in the field.  I did not even get the 50% improvements he promised.  In fact things got worse.  My scars got deeper, more discolored and more visible.  My skin suffered the effects of burns along the laser strokes in the scar areas (in the form of long clustered striations or wrinkles, as though the deeper layers of the skin shriveled.)

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Congrats on your good outcome from Laser, most folks on this board including myself have reported negative outcomes from Laser. Perhaps your Doc was exceedingly skillful or your skin responded extraordinarilly well, either way please share some photos of yourself if you have them. The pics on that site do look good.

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That's fantastic! I had a couple of passes of co2 laser surgery as well several years ago, however the results only lasted a a couple of years for me. Hopefully your results will last longer than mine did.

Just wanted to remind folks to do ample research before making a decision to have any invasive surgery performed. Weigh the pros and cons and make the decision that's right for you, personally.

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Wow! I'm so happy for you, you sound so thrilled!

I was considering dermabrasion but now I'm back to thinking about the laser since it does seem a lot more precise...But I think I would rather have just one cheek done with only one pass maximum. I don't care at all about the cost I'd much rather do it again if i wanted even smoother skin than risk a worse outcome! those before and after pics look extremely impressive, my scars are a lot milder but i have a lot of ugly little ones....My current derm who has a lot of laser experience said an ablative laser would give me dramatic, very good results..hmmm, but i just can't afford the downtime! May be in a year i'll do it!

Like you I got my scars in my early twenties dutring a out with a serious illness so my scars psychologiocally remind me of when i was ill and my life was really badly affected, I have chicken pox scars that are wosre than the acne scars and those have no affect on my self esteem at all but the acne scars are constantly remind me of that horrible time in my life maiing me unable to move on emotionally.

i'm in my mid twenties now...and I can't imagine suffering with them for much longer it's caused such self esteem issues that there are days i feel suicidel!

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My current derm who has a lot of laser experience said an ablative laser would give me dramatic, very good results..hmmm, but i just can't afford the downtime! May be in a year i'll do it!

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Very pleased to hear the news, i can tell by your post you are so excited!

I've been considering doing this procedure for a while. I'm fair skinned (I was born in Polandd, live in Aus now), 21 yrs old, which i suppose will help with the healing being younger... medium acne scars i guess. Decisions!

Meet Pete, you have had this done in Sydney somewhere? Where abouts was it again? Was it the CO2 ULTRAPULSE laser aswell? How much did it cost? Sorry for the questions just wondering.

Also Oursfan you said your improvement only lasted a couple of years. How much improvement did you get initially? From another thread i remember that you said the improvement diminshed largely due to your age? Am i correct?

Hehe sorry for the questions, just trying to find out important info. Once again, very happy to read this post, good to know when procedures go well.

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Also Oursfan you said your improvement only lasted a couple of years. How much improvement did you get initially? From another thread i remember that you said the improvement diminshed largely due to your age? Am i correct?

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Thanks for the detailed reply! Some people have said they've stayed very red for months after CO2, that would not work for me at all!!! Hmmmm, i tend to scar if i scab but rarely do if i don't scab so maybe dermabrasion would be bad for me. I saw after pics at my derm of people who had erbium and they looked great!

I doubt I'd do CO2, perhaps erbium, but again, how long did it take for your skin to FULLY heal and have no trace of pinkness/redness? 9 days sounds very quick for the skin to look presentable after that, YAY! Also how deep were your scars? I have scars that resemble enlarged pores (maybe some are just that lager pores rather than scars???) But anyway, have you done TCA peels before?

My skin looks horrible from super bright lighting shining underneath or from above, but then again even unflawed skin looks bumpy, indented, uneven from that angle so i always wonder if that's just the way natural skin looks? in regular decent resolution digital cam pics my scars don't look bad and appear very mild so i don't know which lighting to trust since overhead and underneath especially can create shadows and exaggerate depth

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Hey, congratulations you! How long ago did you have your surgery? Doesn't the swelling last a while? I had a CO2 laser resurfacing in 1999 (i was 26 then) with a very novice surgeon and I think my skin worsened from that nightmare. I am sure the technology has improved then. I guess I feel the exact opposite. I had a bad experience with CO2 and am going to try dermabrasion.

I'm always cautious about before and after photos. That link you pasted...the results look good, but 1, the lighting looks very different in the before and after photos and 2, it looks like the one woman on the right is wearing a bit of makeup in the after pic and none in the before pic. Just my thoughts.

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Also how deep were your scars? I have scars that resemble enlarged pores (maybe some are just that lager pores rather than scars???) But anyway, have you done TCA peels before? 

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Thanks for posting your experience. I am considering the CO2 laser for myself and up to this point their havent been many posts regarding this treatment. Its good to see such a glowing review. I look forward to seeing your pictures.

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i`m glad you had a great result. I`m less convinced about the pictures in that gallery though. They seem to have emplyed the same lighting tricks they do with all the others.

The before pictures are lit from the ceiling and this is about the least flattering light your skin can be seen in as it shadows every scar. Secondly the after pictures have flattering lighting with the person wearing makeup (see the skin coulour differences)

I `m glad you got a great result but laser is laser and no matter who does it there will be alot of people who get less than favourable results and a few that get great results. Even some still who end up worse than when they started. Its an expensive gamble. I hope everyone doesn`t jump on the bandwagon like iwth every other treatment.

It seems all that is needed is one person to have a decent result and a kind of madness takes over where everyone jumps up and get sthe treatment done like with smoothbeam, dermabrasion and now laser....they are still the same treatments that they were last year!

my two pennies!

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I'm so happy for you. I wish I had the money to afford it. But, like I'm poor I have to deal it with it.

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