Post Operative Care: Laser Skin Resurfacing
ICE PACKS: Apply the ice pack provided over the areas treated starting on your way home. Use green peas (or ice chips) in zip lock bags as ice packs at home. The peas should conform nicely to the face. Once they have thawed, they may be placed back in the freezer and used again. These should be used liberally for the first day to help decrease swelling. Apply continuously as much as possible. If necessary, rest for 15 minutes then reapply. For the next several days and nights, it should be applied as much as possible while the dressing is on. The coolness may also help relieve discomfort and prevent swelling. Icing can be continued as long as needed to keep swelling at a minimum.
After the dressing has been removed, ice can be used to decrease any stinging or warm feelings. However, once the dressings are off, apply a piece of DRY gauze (over the Aquaphor — see below) between your skin and the ice. Prior to the procedure, you should make four rings of peas to keep in the refrigerator. These should be changed every hour the first 24 hours. Packs: place peas in 5 small zip-lock bags about 1/2 full. Take the rest of the air out and seal the bags. Then used duck tape to tape the bags into a tight circle. There should be a 1-2 inch opening in the center. This hole is where your nose will be.
DRESSING: For the first several days you will be applying Aquaphor healing ointment on all exposed areas. Continue to do this until the skin is dry to the touch prior to reapplication or until instructed otherwise by our staff.
WOUND CARE: Your wound care instructions may vary depending upon the area treated. Please follow your individual instructions precisely. Meticulous wound care is necessary to optimize healing.
Soaks are done FIVE times a day, and can be used anytime to help relieve discomfort. Place 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar in 1 cup of cool water. Store this in the refrigerator. This solution will be used to dampen all gauze used. If it stings too much you may cut back to 1 teaspoon of vinegar and slowly increase, as your skin will tolerate it. The procedure is divided into 4 steps:
1. Use the damp gauze to remove any residual Aquaphor, crusting, oozing, etc.
2. Use the damp gauze to soak the area continually for 10 minutes. This will loosen any crusts.
3. Use the damp gauze to gently remove crusts. There will be some pinpoint bleeding with this. Do not force them; they should come off with gentle care.
4. Apply Aquaphor liberally to all treated areas.
Liberally apply your ointment (Aquaphor Healing Ointment) as a thick coat on all areas treated. Apply immediately after soaks and keep close at hand to apply as needed. It is important to keep it covered in order to prevent crust formation. The areas must be kept moist. Do not pick at any crusts that may form.
If your hands have been treated, please keep them elevated and above the level of your heart as much as possible during the first week. This will help keep swelling to a minimum and will expedite your healing process.
BRUISING AND SWELLING: Redness and oozing will be most noticeable on days 2-3. Swelling should be at a maximum on days 2 to 4 and start to decrease after this. You may also have some bruising. This is normal and should resolve over 7-10 days.
POSITION: You should sleep with your head elevated on several pillows to help decrease swelling. Or, you can sleep sitting in a lounge chair. Please do this for the first 7-10 days. You will want to put old sheets and pillowcases on to avoid ruining good sheets.
CONTACT LENSES: If you have the procedure performed around the eye area, contact lenses may NOT be worn until all swelling has subsided and the skin has healed. This should be approximately 2 -4 days.
FOOD: If you have the procedure around the mouth, try liquid and soft foods for the first few days after surgery. Advance to solid foods as tolerated. Avoid excess mouth motions (i.e. talking, etc.) during the first days to aid in healing.
ACTIVITY: You may return to your exercise routine 5-8 days after the procedure. You will, however, need to have your follow-up appointment prior to this being approved.
ACTIVITY/SPORTS: We want you to avoid straining or any aerobic activity for at least 3 weeks after surgery. This is to avoid bleeding, bruising, and swelling. Do not resume strenuous exercise for 3-4 weeks. Dr. Zubowski will give you clearance to increase your activities according to the progress of the recovery period.
DRIVING: You may resume driving when you feel you are able, but wait at least 2 days after surgery. Keep in mind that you must have full use of your reflexes. If pain will inhibit them, don’t drive!
SEXUAL ACTIVITY: You may enjoy sexual activity as your body allows with the following restriction: Please reread Activity/Sports above and apply the same concept to sex.
SUN EXPOSURE: If your scars are exposed to the sun, they will tend to become darker and take longer to fade. Sunscreen can help. Take extra care and precaution if the area operated on is slightly numb — you may not “feel” a sunburn developing!
WORK: Follow whatever plan you and Dr. Zubowski have agreed upon.
AS YOU HEAL
SWELLING AND BRUISING: The area treated will be red and raw and will then heal in about 3-7 days for the face and 7-12 for the hands and chest. Swelling and bruising should be resolved over the same time.
REDNESS: Persistent redness to pinkness is usually limited to 2-3 weeks. However, on the chest and hands, it may last for 3-6 months. This can be easily covered.
MILIA: Some patients may experience milia (small white clogged glands) during the healing phase. Please contact our office if this begins.
If the treated area becomes thickened or darkened, please notify us promptly.
SCRATCHING: If you find that you are scratching at night, please wear white cotton gloves to bed. These can be purchased at the pharmacy.
INCREASE IN PAIN: Any sudden increase in pain or the development of itching should be promptly reported to our office. Other signs to report are: an increase in the area that is open, golden yellow crusts, blisters or fever.
PIMPLES: Occasionally, some patients will experience pimples as their skin heals. This is not uncommon and should not alarm you. We will, however, want to see you if this happens.
MAKEUP: After 3-7 days, you should be able to wear makeup. For the next two weeks, it will be drier than usual and will need moisturizer frequently. You may also experience a sensation of tightness, which will gradually resolve. You can move and exercise your face to help with this.
Please follow these instructions carefully. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call our office at (201) 261-7550.