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Dermabrasion and Dermaplaning Skin Resurfacing

Birmingham AL Dermabrasion at Hedden & Gunn Plastic Surgery

Dermabrasion and Dermaplaning are most often used to improve the look of facial skin left scarred by accidents or previous surgery, or to smooth out fine facial wrinkles such as those around the mouth. They are also sometimes used to remove pre-cancerous growths. Dermaplaning is commonly used to treat deep acne scars.

Dermabrasion and dermaplaning at our Birmingham, Alabama cosmetic surgery center help to "refinish" the skin's top layers through a method of controlled surgical scraping. These treatments soften the sharp edges of surface irregularities, giving the skin a smoother appearance.

Both dermabrasion and dermaplaning can be performed on small areas of skin or on the entire face. They can be used alone or in conjunction with other procedures such as a Facelift, Scar Removal or Revision or Chemical Peel.

Dermabrasion Candidates

Dermabrasion and dermaplaning can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence, but neither treatment will remove all scars and flaws or prevent aging. Before you decide to have a skin refinishing treatment, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your plastic surgeon.

Most surgeons will not perform treatment during the active stages of acne because of a greater risk of infection. The same may be true if you have had radiation treatments, a bad skin burn or a previous chemical peel.

Insurance usually does not cover cosmetic procedures, but dermabrasion or dermaplaning may be covered when performed to remove precancerous skin growths or extensive scars. Check your policy or call your carrier to be sure.

Alternative Procedures

If you are planning "surface repairs" on your face, you may also consider a Chemical Peel, an alternative method of surgically removing the top layer of skin. Dermabrasion and dermaplaning use surgical instruments to remove the affected skin layers, while chemical peels use a caustic solution.

Many plastic surgeons perform dermabrasion, dermaplaning and chemical peels, selecting one or a combination of procedures to suit the your individual needs. Other surgeons prefer one technique for all surface repairs. In general, a chemical peel is used more often to treat fine wrinkles, while dermabrasion and dermaplaning are used to treat deeper imperfections such as acne scars. A non-chemical approach may also be preferred for people with slightly darker skin, especially when treating limited areas of the face. Dermabrasion and dermaplaning are less likely to produce extreme changes and contrasts in skin color.

Microdermabrasion is a less-invasive form of dermabrasion.

Your Dermabrasion Consultation

By choosing a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) for your dermabrasion procedure, you can be assured that you are choosing a highly-trained, board-certified plastic surgeon. ASPS Member Surgeons must meet rigorous standards for training, ethics, physician practice and research in plastic surgery.

In your initial consultation, be open in discussing your expectations with your surgeon and do not hesitate to ask any questions or express your concerns. Your surgeon should explain the factors that could influence the procedure and results, such as your age, skin condition and previous plastic surgeries.

Your surgeon will discuss your medical history, conduct an examination and photograph your face. He or she should explain the procedure in detail, including the risks and benefits, recovery period and costs.

Dermabrasion Risks and Safety Information

Dermabrasion and dermaplaning are normally safe when performed by a qualified, experienced physician. You can reduce your risks by choosing a qualified plastic surgeon and closely following his or her advice.

The most common risk is a change in skin pigmentation. Permanent darkening of the skin may occur in some patients due to sun exposure in the days or months following surgery. On the other hand, some patients find that the treated skin remains a little lighter or blotchy in appearance.

African-American skin, Asian skin and other dark complexions may become permanently discolored or blotchy after a skin refinishing treatment. People who develop allergic rashes or other skin reactions, or who get frequent fever blisters or cold sores, may experience a flare-up. If you have freckles, they may disappear in the treated area.

You may develop tiny whiteheads after surgery. These usually disappear on their own or with the use of an abrasive pad or soap. Occasionally, they must be removed by your surgeon. You may also develop enlarged skin pores, which usually shrink to near normal size once swelling has subsided.

While infection and scarring are rare with skin refinishing treatments, they are possible. Some people develop excessive scar tissue (keloid or hypertrophic scars). These are usually treated with steroid medications to soften the scar.

Preparing for Dermabrasion

It is especially important that you find a doctor (generally a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist) who is trained and experienced in dermabrasion and dermaplaning, especially since your face, the most visible part of your body, is involved.

Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating, drinking and avoiding aspirin and other medications that affect blood clotting. You may be given special instructions regarding the care and treatment of your skin prior to surgery. If you smoke, you will probably be asked to stop for a week or two before and after surgery. Smoking decreases blood circulation in the skin and impedes healing.

Your dermabrasion treatment may be performed in your surgeon's office-based facility, an outpatient surgery center or a hospital. It is usually performed on an outpatient basis for cost containment and convenience. However, you may be admitted to the hospital if you are undergoing extensive work.

While making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and help out afterward if needed.

Dermabrasion Procedure

Dermabrasion and dermaplaning may be performed under local anesthesia, which numbs the area, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy. You will be awake but relaxed and will feel minimal discomfort. A numbing spray such a freon is sometimes used along with or instead of local anesthesia. In more severe cases, your surgeon may prefer to use general anesthesia, in which case you will sleep through the procedure.

Dermabrasion and Dermaplaning Surgery

Dermabrasion and dermaplaning can be performed fairly quickly. The procedures usually take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour and a half, depending on how large an area of skin is involved. It is not uncommon for the procedure to be performed more than once, or in stages, especially when scarring is deep or a large area of skin is involved.

In dermabrasion, the surgeon scrapes away the outermost layer of skin with a rough wire brush, or a burr containing diamond particles, attached to a motorized handle. The scraping continues until the surgeon reaches the safest level that will make the scar or wrinkle less visible.

In dermaplaning, the surgeon uses a hand-held instrument called a dermatome. Resembling an electric razor, the dermatome has an oscillating blade that moves back and forth to evenly "skim" off the surface layers of skin that surround the craters or other facial defects. This skimming continues until the lowest point of the acne scar becomes more even with the surrounding skin.

Your surgeon may then treat the skin in a number of ways, including ointment, a wet or waxy dressing, a dry treatment or some combination of these.

Dermabrasion Recovery

Your skin will be fairly red and swollen after the procedure. Eating and speaking may be difficult. You will probably feel some tingling, burning or aching. Any pain you feel can be controlled with medications prescribed by your surgeon. The swelling will begin to subside within a few days to a week.

If you remember the scrapes you got when you fell down as a child, you will have an idea of what to expect from this type of surgery. A scab or crust will form over the treated area as it begins to heal. This will fall off as a new layer of tight, pink skin forms underneath. Your face may itch as new skin starts to grow, and your surgeon may recommend an ointment to make you more comfortable. If ointment is applied immediately after surgery, little or no scab will form.

Your surgeon will give you detailed instructions on how to care for your skin after surgery. For men, this will include delaying shaving and using an electric razor your first time shaving post-surgery. It is very important that you understand your doctor's instructions and follow them exactly to ensure the best possible healing.

If you notice the treated area beginning to get worse instead of better (becoming increasingly red, raised and itchy after it has started to heal), it may be a sign that abnormal scars are beginning to form. Call your surgeon as soon as possible so that treatment can begin early.

Dermabrasion Results

Getting Back to Normal

Your new skin will be a bit swollen, sensitive and bright pink for several weeks. You can gradually begin to resume your normal activities during this time.

You can expect to be back at work in about 2 weeks. Your surgeon will probably advise you to avoid any activity that could cause a bump to your face for at least 2 weeks. More active sports, especially those involving a ball, should be avoided for 4 to 6 weeks. If you swim, stick to indoor pools to avoid sun and wind, and keep your face out of chlorinated water for at least 4 weeks. It will be at least 3 to 4 weeks before you can drink alcohol without experiencing a flush of redness.

Above all, it is important to protect your skin from the sun until the pigment has completely returned to your skin, which can be as long as 6 to 12 months.

Your New Look

Refinishing treatments can offer dramatic improvements in the surface of your skin, but it will take some time before you see the final results.

The pinkness of your skin will take about 3 months to fade. In the meantime, you will probably want to wear non-allergenic makeup when you go out. When your new skin is fully repigmented, the color should closely match the surrounding skin, making the procedure virtually undetectable.

Procedure Information © American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Hedden and Gunn Plastic Surgery

Dermabrasion at Hedden & Gunn Plastic Surgery treats scars, wrinkles and skin irregularities to give your complexion a smoother look.

Birmingham, AL Office & Surgery Suites

Hedden & Gunn Plastic Surgery
140 Village Street
Birmingham, AL 35242
205-980-1744 or 800-HeddenMD
American Society of Plastic Surgeons* American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery*
* Dr. William Hedden, Dr. Stephen Gunn
Hedden and Gunn Plastic Surgery

Contact Us Today

Questions About Skin Procedures?

Contact our Birmingham, AL cosmetic center today if you have any questions about smoothing wrinkles and acne scars with Dermabrasion or Dermaplaning.

To schedule your consultation at the earliest possible date, please call 205-980-1744.

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