Traditional CO2 laser resurfacing of photoaged skin has been the gold standard of the industry for many years. Unfortunately, problems associated with this procedure included hypopigmentation, the loss of melanin in the skin creating white areas, extended downtime, delayed wound healing and infection. The surface of the skin was completely removed creating an open wound that required several weeks to heal.
To decrease these complications, laser companies began looking for alternatives, including using different wavelengths and attempting to create collagen stimulation with non-ablative therapies that heat the deeper tissue without creating an open wound. These therapies required multiple treatments with mixed results.
Today, the pendulum has swung full circle with the invention of fractionation of the CO2 light—small columns of tissue are penetrated and areas of unaltered skin remain between the columns. This allows the untreated skin to assist in wound healing, decreasing downtime. Because the entire skin surface is not treated, the risk of hypo or hyperpigmentation is dramatically reduced, as is downtime and infection risk.
Lumenis® has recently introduced an improvement in their CO2 system that includes the DeepFX™ bridge therapy, creating even deeper areas of penetration to stimulate collagen production which acts in concert with their ActiveFX™ treatment to provide an even more impressive treatment. The goal of fractional laser treatments is simple: replace damaged skin with new fresh skin.