Laser Resurfacing

Making skin smoother and healthier-looking can subtly and significantly rejuvenate your appearance. With laser resurfacing, you can address signs of aging and a lifetime of blemishes, including:

  • Dull or dry skin.
  • Fine to medium depth wrinkles.
  • Uneven, blotchy coloring.
  • Sun damage, acne scars, and age spots.
  • Mild skin laxity.

Most of my patients request laser resurfacing for the face since it is the most visible place on the body. However, I also offer the procedure as a way of improving the appearance of hands, arms, knees, the neckline, and other areas.

70 year old female with severe wrinkling and solar elastosis. Left photo is before treatment, right photo is six weeks following treatment.

70 year old female with severe wrinkling and solar elastosis. Left photo is before treatment, right photo is six weeks following treatment.

My Approach to Laser Resurfacing

At Plastic Surgical Associates of Fort Collins, we offer three different techniques, each of which targets varying types and levels of skin-related concerns.


The erbium laser removes surface and moderately deep lines and wrinkles. I can apply the laser in different levels of power depending on a patient’s needs:

  • For some, a light application removes limited wear and offers a refreshed appearance.
  • A medium application can significantly improve hyperpigmentation and sun damage.
  • A heavy application can reduce the appearance of severe wrinkles and hyperpigmentation, restoring up to twenty years of youthfulness to the person’s appearance.

PSA also offers Halo™, a hybrid laser, which I may recommend over erbium laser resurfacing alone. It is another tool for improving tone, texture, fine lines, and wrinkles and may be a better option depending on the patient’s needs. The Halo treatment has less temporary deformity than the traditional ablative erbium, and can be performed with no anesthesia. This is an excellent option for those with little down time, or for treatment of the face and areas such as arms, hands, and knees.

Fractional Laser

Typically, I advise using fractional laser resurfacing for patients with acne scarring and mild skin laxity. It is particularly useful for improving neck lines and skin pigment.

PSA employs ProFractional™, an established solution that can achieve excellent resurfacing results with minimal downtime. The laser reduces the skin’s surface area, allowing healthier, firmer skin to come together in its place.

Why I Don’t Use CO2 Laser

In the early 1990s, CO2 lasers were revolutionary, offering a degree of wrinkle improvement only otherwise possible with the, sometimes frightening, croton oil peel. Because this laser’s mechanism is coagulation instead of surface ablation (like the erbium), it is difficult to gauge how deep you have gone. The complication rate with CO2, especially in the hands of noncore surgeons, is fairly high. Risks of the CO2 lasers include a permanent pale, waxy appearance to the skin, a very long healing time, permanent pattern marks, and full thickness burns with scarring. Because the erbium laser does not stop bleeding, there is a built-in safety mechanism. I cannot go too deep with erbium as bleeding signals me to stop. In my experience, it also requires too significant of a recovery time and can leave patients permanently unable to enjoy direct sunlight.

Radiofrequency Needling (RF)

RF (not a laser) resurfacing can address concerns that even a facelift may not improve, such as:

  • Jowls and brow drooping.
  • Marionette lines, which run straight downward from the corners of the mouth.
  • Nasolabial folds, which go from the nose to the ends of the mouth.
  • Crepey (loose and wrinkled) facial skin and acne scars.

The Fractora™ technology we use delivers energy to the skin over a scattered surface area. It promotes collagen restructuring and skin rejuvenation, and patients heal faster than if they had ablated the entire area. The secret to Fractora is that it tightens the support tissue under the skin—something that laser or a facelift cannot do. By recreating a strong support scaffold under the facial and neck skin, tissue does not tend to get as much recurrent sagging over time.

What You Can Expect with Laser Resurfacing

During the initial consultation, patients have the opportunity to discuss their concerns, learn about options for laser resurfacing, and get recommendations for treatment based on their goals.

Patients receive laser resurfacing in one of PSA’s fully accredited in-house operating rooms. The practice is rated for both general and local anesthetic procedures and we use only board-certified anesthesiologists and fully licensed support staff.

The treatment and its duration depend on the plan that we establish during the initial consultation and follow-up visits. Regardless of whether patients receive erbium, fractional, or RF, our practice provides local anesthetic and, if required, sedation or light general anesthesia to keep patients comfortable during treatment.

Recovery from Laser Resurfacing

Each approach to resurfacing has its own recovery experience. For example:

  • Patients who have a light erbium application may need only a weekend to recuperate.
  • Those who have a full erbium treatment may require 7-10 days before returning to work. Skin will appear weepy and pink for a period of time and then will look brand new; most of my patients can tell immediately that laser resurfacing reduced or eliminated their wrinkles.
  • Fractional and RF laser resurfacing create a temporary pattern mark in the treatment area. Patients can also expect some swelling, which should subside over a couple of days.

Whether you opt for lighter or more intensive rejuvenation, our practice will guide you in your treatment and support you at every stage in the process.

Address wrinkles, lax skin, and blemishes with laser resurfacing. Schedule your initial consultation with PSA by calling (970) 493-7445.