What is Dermabrasion ?
Dermabrasion is a procedure that is used to smooth fine wrinkles and scars left by acne or previous surgery. It involves controlled surgical scraping that 'refinishes' the top layers of the skin to give a smoother appearance. Dermabrasion can be performed over the full surface of the face or on small areas, and may be done in conjunction with other cosmetic procedures such as facelift or face peel. Dermabrasion is not an appropriate treatment for some people. Asian or dark-skinned people may experience permanent discolouration and blotchiness. People with freckled skin should avoid dermabrasion over small areas, because their freckles will disappear in the treated areas only. People who develop allergic rashes or other skin reactions are also advised against undergoing dermabrasion.
What are the Conditions treated by Dermabrasion ?
Dermabrasion is used to treat a range of skin complaints including:
Facial scars (excluding burn scars)
Scarring from prior surgery
Wrinkles and frown lines
Pre-cancerous skin growths (keratoses)
Age (liver) spots.
Collect all the information before you proceed
What should I consider before I alter my physical appearance ?
There are some important issues to keep in mind if you want to enhance or alter your physical appearance. These include:
Take care to choose an appropriately qualified surgeon.
Inform yourself fully of the risks of the procedure.
Get a full explanation of the anticipated results.
Be aware that commercial interests may sometimes exaggerate the benefits to be expected.
Consider seeking a second opinion before proceeding.
What are the topics that I should discuss with my Doctor ?
Before the procedure, you need to discuss a range of issues with your doctor or surgeon including:
Physical examination, to make sure your skin is suitable for the treatment.
Your expectations of how you will look once your skin heals.
Medical history, including any prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, herbs, or vitamin or mineral supplements you may be taking. Some preparations can interact with surgical medications and need to be avoided.
Patients who smoke are recommended to stop two weeks before surgery, because smoking decreases blood circulation in the skin and slows the healing process.
Aspirin and other medications that reduce blood clotting should be avoided before surgery.
What are the Treatment procedures ?
Dermabrasion usually takes up to 90 minutes to perform, depending on the amount of skin to be treated. The procedure may need to be performed in stages, particularly when the scarring is deep or a large area of skin is involved.
You will be given medications to help you relax. The area to be treated is wiped over with antiseptic lotion to reduce the risks of infection, and then sprayed with anaesthetic. Injections of anaesthesia may also be administered. The procedure may be done under local or general anaesthesia.
During the dermabrasion procedure, the surgeon scrapes away the outermost layer of the skin using a rough wire brush or a burr containing diamond particles. The scraping continues until an appropriate depth is reached that will make the wrinkle or scar less visible. Once the scraping is finished, the skin is treated and a dressing applied. The skin will be swollen and red. The swelling will last about one week, and a scab forms over the treated area as the skin begins to heal. Underneath the scab, new skin forms which is pink in colour and sensitive.
What should I expect Immediately after the treatment ?
After the procedure, you can expect:
Red and swollen skin
Inflammation and swelling makes talking or eating painful
Large areas of treated skin require dressings
Small areas of treated skin are generally left exposed to the air
Depending on your circumstances, you can return home the same day or you may have a brief hospital stay.
What are the Possible complications ?
The greater the amount of skin removed, the higher the risk of complications. Some of the possible complications of dermabrasion include:
Whiteheads can develop over the treated area, which may need to be surgically removed.
Some patients experience enlargement of the pores over the treated area (these usually return to normal size once the swelling has subsided).
Infection of the treated area.
Change in skin colour -may be darker or lighter.
Excessive, uncontrolled scarring (keloid or hypertrophic scars).
How to take care of myself at home ?
Be guided by our Doctor Dr.Manoj Khanna, but general suggestions include:
For two weeks, avoid any activities that may cause a bump to the face.
Avoid active sports for about six weeks.
When can I return to work after the operation ?
You can return to work one week to 10 days after the procedure.
What precautions should I take ?
It is essential that you avoid exposure to direct sunlight, because dermabrasion strips the skin of its protective layer of pigmentation. Always wear sunblock when going outdoors.
What are the Long term outlook ?
The pinkness of the skin takes approximately three months to fade. Some patients choose to wear non-allergenic makeup during this time to camouflage the appearance of their skin. It may take between six and 12 months before skin pigmentation returns completely, so sun exposure must be strictly avoided.
What are the other forms of treatment ?
Chemical peel is a similar technique to dermabrasion, but the skin layers are removed chemically instead of mechanically. A solution is wiped over the face, which is then left uncovered or masked with lotion or tape. The chemicals burn the skin and the healing process promotes new growth. Deep burns remove the most wrinkles, but also increase the risk of complications such as scarring and infection.
Where to get help ?
Dr Manoj Khanna
What are the things to remember ?
Dermabrasion is a procedure that is used to smooth fine wrinkles and scars left by acne or previous surgery.
It involves controlled surgical scraping that 'refinishes' the top layers of the skin to give a smoother appearance.
Dermabrasion removes the skin's pigmentation, so it is essential to avoid sun exposure for around six to 12 months after undergoing the procedure.