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Procedure Description: NOTE: This procedure is outdated and better skin resurfacing options exist. Through controlled surgical “sanding” of damaged skin, dermabrasion allows smoother, younger-looking skin to form. The doctor will begin the procedure by covering your eyes and hair. Next, he/she will numb your skin, perhaps by injecting anesthesia or by spraying your skin with a refrigerant. Before spraying the skin, the doctor may apply a cold pack to numb the area. You may also be given a sedative. Dermabrasion consists of a measured scraping of damaged skin from the face to create an area where a new layer of skin may form. To remove the skin, the doctor uses a handheld, motorized instrument, often with a brush, or sanding wheel, containing diamond particles, which touch the skin.

Length of Procedure: Dermabrasion is a fairly quick procedure. The time that it takes depends on the size and the condition of the area to be treated. Usually, it is completed in 30 to 60 minutes.

Recovery: After the dermabrasion procedure, the treated area may be covered with an ointment, a wet or waxy covering and/or a dry covering. For a few days after the procedure, the skin looks and feels as if it has been scraped (such as in a fall). A scab will form over the treated area within 24 to 48 hours after the procedure. After several days, the outer layer of skin, including any scabbing, begins to loosen and fall off. Once this layer is gone, the skin is very pink, but that pinkness fades at about three to six weeks. During this time, special soaps and cosmetics may be applied to the area. It may be possible to perform your work duties within the first two days, although your skin may still be red and sore. Most people return to work in about two weeks, giving the skin a chance to heal.

Risks: Infection and scarring are rare, but can occur. If too much scar tissue forms, it may be softened with steroid injections. Occasionally hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) occurs, but this may be treated with bleaching cream. Skin lightening or patchiness can also occur, especially on people with darker natural skin tones. After the procedure, some patients get small whiteheads called milia. These usually disappear after washing, but some may require the doctor’s help to remove them.

Results: Dermabrasion can produce dramatic results. The outcome depends on the original condition of the skin, skin tone, the depth of wrinkles and other imperfections, as well as individual healing ability. Normal results include significant improvement in the appearance of the skin's surface after healing of the skin.

Estimated Cost: The average cost of dermabrasion is $1,367.

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