Fraxel: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Fraxel?
Fraxel treatments use fractional laser technology, i.e., technology that exposes a controlled fraction of the skin to the laser, to treat a broad range of skin damage, such as age spots, sun spots, wrinkles and other signs of aging. Depending on patient needs, Fraxel treatment can treat minor skin damage, help prevent the signs of aging, resurface moderately damaged skin or correct severe skin damage. Fraxel treatments can be either ablative (i.e., injure the skin in a controlled way by vaporizing the top skin layers) or non-ablative (i.e., that do not break the surface of the skin). Ablative procedures are performed with the Fraxel re:pair laser, while non-ablative procedures are performed with the Fraxel re:store dual laser.
Q: How long has Fraxel been available?
The first non-ablative Fraxel device was cleared by the FDA in 2003. Dr. Chapas has been treating patients with Fraxel since 2005.
Q: How does it work?
Fraxel treatment uses patented fractional technology to target damaged skin with microscopic laser columns that penetrate deep into the skin. The laser treats only a fraction of the skin tissue at a time, leaving the surrounding tissue intact, which promotes rapid healing. This stimulates your body’s own natural healing process, replacing the old and damaged cells with fresh, glowing, healthy skin.
Q: Why choose Union Square Laser Dermatology for Fraxel?
A: Results and patient comfort heavily depend on physician technique, which is why our Fraxel treatments are personally administered by board certified dermatologists with extensive training in laser procedures, not by a nurse, medical assistant or technician. We work closely with Solta, Fraxel’s manufacturer, to improve the device and refine our treatment protocols (Dr. Chapas is on their Scientific Advisory Board). Dr. Chapas, Dr. Chwalek, Dr. Gmyrek and Dr. MacGregor have extensive clinical experience with Fraxel, have each performed thousands of successful Fraxel procedures, and are internationally recognized for their expertise in laser devices.
Q: How long is the treatment?
Depending on the size, location and condition of the area to be treated, Fraxel treatment can take anywhere between 20 minutes and 2 hours.
Q: How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments needed depends on your goals and constraints. We work with patients to weigh the aggressiveness of treatment against the downtime associated. Typically, patients require between 2 and 6 treatments. The most aggressive approach, with the ablative Fraxel re:pair, can offer results after just one treatment.
Q: What skin types and what parts of the body can be treated?
Fraxel lasers can treat women and men of all ages and skin colors. Fraxel treatment also works on delicate skin areas like the neck, chest and hands. At Union Square Laser Dermatology, Fraxel treatments are performed on the face, neck, chest, arms, legs, back, abdomen and buttocks.
Q: What kind of results can I expect?
Your skin will feel softer, look brighter and show more even skin tone. Other benefits of treatment may include:
– Smoother, fresher, younger looking skin
– Improved tone and texture
– Erasing of unwanted brown spots
– Reduced fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes
Q: When do the results appear, and how long do they last?
There are both immediate and progressive results. Soon after the treatment, the surface of your skin will feel softer, look brighter and show more even tone. The next 3 to 6 months will bring additional improvement as the deeper layers of the skin continue to heal. Results can last for several years depending on your age and skin condition.
Q: What will I look like immediately after the procedure? Can I go right back to work?
Depending on the aggressiveness of the treatment, you may experience redness or swelling after the procedure that diminishes as quickly as the next day or over the next several days. More aggressive treatments, such as ablative procedures with Fraxel re:pair, require more downtime. Our physicians will work with you to determine the best option within your lifestyle and work constraints.
Q: Does it hurt?
Most patients describe an increased sensation of heat during the treatment. We will apply a topical anesthetic ointment before the procedure, which helps minimize any discomfort during treatment. Your physician may recommend additional medications, which you can discuss during your consultation.
Q: Who performs the procedure?
Our Fraxel procedures are performed by Dr. Chapas, Dr. Chwalek, Dr. Gmyrek and Dr. MacGregor, who have extensive experience with the devices, and have performed thousands of Fraxel procedures with excellent results. For your safety and the best results, they will personally operate the device throughout the procedure.
Q: Can I get a Fraxel treatment instead of a facelift?
Non-ablative Fraxel treatments can resurface damaged skin but will not offer the dramatic results of a facelift. The Fraxel re:pair, which is an ablative treatment, can offer results that are closer to a facelift for severely damaged skin. Your physician will determine what is the best treatment for you during your consultation.
Q: Can I get a Fraxel treatment if I already had other procedures?
Fraxel procedures generally are compatible with most other cosmetic procedures, such as dermal fillers, Thermage, or Botox. As part of your consultation with Dr. Chapas or Dr. MacGregor you will discuss any past procedures and how they may affect your Fraxel treatment.
Q: Is Fraxel safe?
There is extensive research showing the safety of Fraxel treatments when performed by a physician with appropriate laser training. As with any laser procedure there is always some risk of complications, which your physician will discuss with you during your consultation.
Q: How much does the Fraxel treatment cost?
The cost depends on the areas treated and the number of treatments necessary for your desired results. During your consultation a treatment plan will be developed and you will be given a written quote based on that plan.