American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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Dermabrasion

Minimally Invasive Procedure

Dermabrasion is most often used to improve the look of facial skin left scarred by accidents or previous surgery, or to smooth out facial wrinkles.

What should I expect before dermabrasion?

What should I expect during a consultation for dermabrasion?

During your dermabrasion consultation be prepared to discuss:

  • Your surgical goals
  • Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
  • Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use
  • Previous surgeries

Your plastic surgeon may also:

  • Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
  • Take photographs
  • Discuss your dermabrasion options
  • Recommend a course of treatment
  • Discuss likely outcomes of dermabrasion and any risks or potential complications

Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon questions. To help, we have prepared a checklist of questions to ask your plastic surgeon that you can take with you to your dermabrasion consultation.

It's very important to understand all aspects of dermabrasion. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether it's excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.

How should I prepare for dermabrasion?

Because these treatments have sometimes been offered by inadequately trained practitioners, it's especially important that you find a doctor (generally a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist) who is trained and experienced in the procedure. After all, dermabrasion and dermaplaning usually involve the most visible part of your body-your face.

In your initial consultation, be open in discussing your expectations with your surgeon, and don't hesitate to ask any questions or express any concerns you may have. Your surgeon should be equally open with you, explaining the factors that could influence the procedure and the results-such as your age, skin condition and previous plastic surgeries.

The surgeon will discuss your medical history, conduct a routine examination and photograph your face. He or she should explain the procedure in detail, along with its risks and benefits, the recovery period and the costs. Insurance usually doesn't cover cosmetic procedures, however, it may cover dermabrasion or dermaplaning when performed to remove precancerous skin growths or extensive scars. Check your policy or call your carrier to be sure.

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

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

What are the risks of dermabrasion?

Dermabrasion and dermaplaning are normally safe when they're performed by a qualified, experienced board-certified physician. 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 the treated skin remains a little lighter or blotchy in appearance.

You may develop tiny whiteheads after surgery. These usually disappear on their own, or with the use of an abrasive pad or soap (the surgeon may have to remove them occasionally). You may also develop enlarged skin pores; these usually shrink to near normal size once the swelling has subsided.

While infection and scarring are rare with skin-refinishing treatments, they are possible. Some individuals develop excessive scar tissue (keloid or hypertrophic scars); these are usually treated with the application or injection of steroid medications to soften the scar.

You can reduce your risks by choosing a qualified plastic surgeon and closely following his or her advice.



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