A Results-Driven with Less Down-Time Alternative.
Fractional CO2 lasers have been widely used over the past decade as an alternative to the more aggressive, fully-ablative lasers of the past. While the fully-ablative devices delivered impressive results, it came at the cost of extensive downtime (up to 6-8 weeks in most cases) and potential for pigmentary changes, lines of demarcation, risk for infection and scarring. In comparison, fractional devices cut the downtime significantly for patients. Most fractional CO2 lasers can deliver noticeable results with only 7-10 days of healing time and low risk for complication.
In my practice, we have used both Cynosure’s SmartSkin CO2 laser as well as the newer SmartXide Tetra CO2 laser which offers patients the opportunity for lighter resurfacing with the “Cool Peel” option. The Cool Peel provides a more superficial resurfacing with only 1-3 days of downtime, the perfect option for those who can’t afford to take a week off of work/life to heal. That said, with lighter settings, results are best achieved with multiple treatment sessions – I typically recommend 3-4 sessions for best results with the Cool Peel as opposed to only 1-2 with the deeper setting available on the SmartXide Tetra device.
Whether you choose to do deeper or more superficial settings will also dictate the comfort level with the treatment. The Cool Peel requires only topical anesthetic, since it’s working primarily on the surface of the skin and uses much lower power settings while the traditional fractional settings require both topical and local anesthetic plus, at times, mild sedation. Keep in mind, newer devices, such as the SmartXide Tetra have vastly improved their delivery systems, enabling users to achieve amazing results with much lower settings compared to the older fractional CO2 devices, making the treatments much more comfortable for patients than they used to be.
In my experience, patients can expect to look approximately 5 years younger after having a fractional CO2 session with significant improvement seen in fine lines, wrinkles, pigment, sun damaged skin, and laxity. Treatment cost typically ranges anywhere from $2500 - $3500 for deeper treatments and $600-$700 per session for the Cool Peel.