Laser Skin Resurfacing (Ablative)

Laser Skin Resurfacing with Erbium YAG

Erbium YAG ablative laser skin resurfacing is one of our most powerful nonsurgical tools for age reversal. We offer laser resurfacing for facial aging, as it can be safely utilized to reverse the signs of aging without causing scarring. Laser resurfacing treatments work by vaporizing the superficial skin and wrinkles that we gain over the course of our lives. Laser facial treatments can remove 10-15 years of aging in a single procedure. However, the recovery from this treatment takes time. Patients can expect to have redness and swelling in the treated skin areas for at least five to seven days, and occasionally longer. The amount of “downtime” needed is proportionate to the degree of skin rejuvenation required. Our goal at Ocean Drive Plastic Surgery is to provide our patients with the best and safest approach to facial rejuvenation. We strongly believe that the Sciton Erbium Joule Platform offers the most predictable, most effective, and safest approach to laser resurfacing. The erbium platform, unlike many of its competitors, allows us to exactly tune the depth of laser penetration. With this tool, we can safely remove wrinkles and tighten skin without creating unsightly scars.

Ocean Drive Plastic Surgery strongly believes in using the best available technology, and laser therapy is no exception. Most patients who present to our office already know that laser resurfacing works. However, they are also aware of the possibility of prolonged downtime following treatment. Our laser services are designed to maximize results while minimizing downtime following laser resurfacing. Ablative, or full field, laser resurfacing offers the most dramatic results, but it also has the longest period of recovery. Ocean Drive Plastic Surgery strongly believes in using the best available technology, and laser therapy is no exception.

Sciton erbium YAG Laser

To minimize recovery time, we invested in the Sciton Joule platform. Our Sciton erbium-YAG laser platform, which is different from most other lasers, which use a CO2 platform. Lasers exert their beneficial effects by targeting molecules in the skin that we call “chromophores”. Each separate type of laser targets a different “chromophore”. Most lasers are CO2 (carbon dioxide) lasers, and these lasers target hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a specific type of protein found in red blood cells, allowing for oxygen to be delivered to body organs, and carbon dioxide (CO2) to be taken away. Our laser at Ocean Drive Plastic Surgery targets H20 or plain water. Water is distributed throughout the epidermis and dermis, while hemoglobin (blood) is predominantly in the deeper planes. This has a number of clinical implications that apply to recovery:

  • The deeper the laser has to go, the more heat the skin has to absorb. The more heat that you absorb, the greater the skin injury, and thus, greater healing time.
  • Targeting a substance that is distributed evenly throughout the skin offers either the same or better result as targeting a substance only found in the deep layers.

The Sciton platform at Ocean Drive Plastic Surgery is the ONLY laser on the market that can separate out ablative therapy from coagulative therapy, and provide it at different times at different levels. Translated, Dr. Durkin can specifically decide whether or not he wants to vaporize the tissue, or coagulate tissue. This allows Dr. Durkin to specifically target and treat separate issues while minimizing collateral tissue damage. Our platform also allows us to precisely target the depth of treatment to within 25 microns, allowing for accurate therapy without excess tissue trauma. This process again markedly reduces recovery time without compromising your final result.

This type of laser does require light sedation. Patients will experience redness and skin inflammation after a laser resurfacing treatment. However, laser resurfacing can be done in a single procedure and offers minimal discomfort. Redness and swelling following laser resurfacing do fade over the course of days to weeks, leaving a newly rejuvenated skin that is natural, smooth, and vital. It can be done over the entire face, or just over certain areas. The most common areas of spot treatment are the lower eyelids, festoons, and around the mouth. Patients are also treated with a Zimmer chiller during resurfacing to again minimize discomfort and recovery time. Post-procedure, all ablative patients are given three separate Ocean Drive oxygen facials to promote healing. This innovative therapy aerosolizes healing factors and serum and directly imbues them into the facial skin during a light facial massage done in our on-site medical spa. Downtime is typically 10-14 days, but patients may start wearing makeup and look presentable by day 6. Results of this type of treatment are dramatic. Full field laser resurfacing is commonly employed as a stand-alone treatment, or in combination with facelift or eyelid surgery. It can also be combined with dermal filler therapy, and/or botox therapy to provide a true, nonsurgical multiplanar rejuvenation.


Translated, the laser wants to vaporize its target chromophore while limiting trauma as compared to erbium-YAG lasers, leading towards increased downtime with CO2 lasers.

Ablative and Coagulative Laser Treatments

The second benefit that our patients receive with our laser services is our ability to separate ablative therapy from coagulative therapy. This is a complex topic, but it has remarkable implications for treatment and recovery. Lasers exert their effect by directly vaporizing the tissue, or by imparting heat and coagulating deep tissue. These processes seem to be related, but in fact, they are separate processes that offer different results. If you have skin bumpiness, vaporizing the bumps will flatten the skin, and improve the appearance without the creation of scar. This also holds true for small skin tags and certain types of skin lesions. Conversely, if someone presents with wrinkly, loose skin, they want to tighten their skin to improve their appearance rather than vaporize off half of their face. The patient with looser skin wants more coagulation than vaporization. Thus, it is easy to see how many patients will want one process without the other.

Laser Menu of Services

  • HALO Laser Glow

    Patients love their HALO glow after getting this laser treatment with less pain and downtime compared to other lasers.

  • Acne Scar Laser

    The go-to laser treatment for acne scars. Also treats brown spots and improves skin texture.

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