Carbon Dioxide Laser Treatment


Carbon dioxide laser treatment is a procedure used to remove scars, warts, and skin tags. A carbon dioxide laser harnesses light energy and delivers light beams to the skin in a scanning motion. The light from the beams is absorbed by the cells in the skin, which overheats them. The cells will degrade due to the intense heat resulting in the removal of the targeted abrasion.

What is it?

Carbon dioxide laser treatment is a method used to remove thin layers of skin with minimal effects on the surrounding skin. Heat is generated from short pulsed light energy layers for a controlled removal of skin. This laser treatment is effective in treating wrinkles, scars, and other benign growths like warts, birthmarks, and skin tags.

What should I do to prepare?

To prepare for carbon dioxide laser treatment, patients will sometimes have other procedures performed in advance, such as chemical peels, to toughen the skin and prepare it for healing. Patients should not tan before this procedure.

What happens during the process?

Carbon dioxide laser treatment is an outpatient procedure that uses local anesthetic and other sedatives via mouth vein. General anesthesia is sometimes used if the entire face is being treated, but typically a local anesthetic is issued at the site of treatment. The laser scans the affected region and then that area is bandaged with a special Telfa dressing.

What are the risks and potential complications

There are several risks and complications that are possible with carbon dioxide laser treatment, including several possible side effects. Some side effects include:

  • Milia (small white bumps or cysts)
  • Acne flares
  • Hyperpigmentation
  •  Bacterial infection
  • Swelling
  • Scarring
  • Skin sensitivity


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