Virginia Oral, Facial & Implant Surgery helps patients reduce the appearance of acne scars for more youthful, cosmetically appealing skin. The practice provides two different treatment options: laser scar removal and radiofrequency (RF) therapy.
Laser scar removal takes less overall time to achieve improvement, though patients opt for RF therapy in some cases because treatment is less intense, requiring several shorter periods of recovery. As a specialist of the face, Dr. Gocke has spent years helping Northern Virginia patients realize their aesthetic goals through advanced care and technology. He will help you decide which approach is best for your needs following an extensive consultation and examination.
An Overview of Laser Scar Removal
Carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers are high-powered devices commonly used in medical and surgical procedures. Dr. Gocke’s practice utilizes a Syneron® fractional CO2 laser to rejuvenate features of the face and neck. A fractional laser splits the energy that it emits into tiny, individual columns instead of a single wide beam. This allows for an evenly spread treatment that can heal more naturally.
When Dr. Gocke performs laser scar removal, the energy in the beam he applies interacts with the moisture in the patient’s cells. This breaks down the acne-scarred skin. The process also promotes collagen development and encourages the growth of new skin. As a result, patients benefit from a smoother, healthier-looking appearance.
With laser scar removal:
- Our Northern Virginia patients require only 1-3 treatments depending on the severity.
- We typically schedule the procedure on a separate day from the initial consultation. This helps ensure that patients and our staff have all of the information they need.
- Recovery lasts from one to two weeks, though patients will need to stay out of the sun for a full month.
An Overview of Radiofrequency Therapy
Radiofrequency energy uses a different process than laser scar removal to treat acne-affected skin. This technology transfers heat through radio waves into the deep layers of the tissue.
The heat created by the RF device breaks down collagen beneath the surface of the skin and, like laser scar removal, encourages the development of new collagen and healthy skin cells. The treatment is less powerful than laser scar removal. Typically in our practice:
- Northern Virginia patients who choose RF therapy instead of laser scar removal will have 3-4 treatments spaced about four weeks apart.
- Gocke can provide patients with their first treatment on the same day as their consultation.
- The recovery time following each treatment is about two to three days.
Your Experience With Laser Scar Removal and RF Therapy
In your initial visit to our practice, you will meet with Dr. Gocke to discuss your options, recovery, and expectations for acne scar treatment. Northern Virginia patients often come to the practice with a lot of questions, and Dr. Gocke and our staff make sure that they get the information that they need to make the right decision for their care.
One of the topics we cover in detail with patients is the post-treatment experience. Laser scar removal, in particular, can be an intensive and effective way to reduce acne scars, but patients must follow the guidelines that the practice provides to have a safe and predictable recovery.
The most important of these steps is staying out of the sun completely for one month after treatment. This is to prevent serious damage to the newly uncovered layers of skin. Keeping to the guidelines that the practice provides is the best way to get the healthy and smooth skin you want.
Here’s what you can expect on the day of your appointment for laser scar removal or RF therapy:
Prep. We will wash the treatment area to make your skin as clear and clean as possible. Please do not wear makeup for this visit.
Numbing. If you have opted for the laser approach, we will provide you with a comfortable memory foam treatment chair and apply a numbing cream to the area of concern. This cream needs about one hour to take effect, during which time we can offer you a warm blanket, a personal screen for watching Netflix, and other amenities.
Sedation. Most of our Northern Virginia patients receive IV sedation before laser scar removal to make the experience as comfortable as possible. As an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Dr. Gocke holds certification to perform anesthesia in-office, has spent years providing IV sedation through training and in practice, and has conducted over 5,000 anesthesia-based procedures. IV sedation is not required for RF therapy.
Application. Dr. Gocke will apply the laser or RF device to the acne-scarred area. The duration of the process will depend on the size of the site he treats.
Post-application. When Northern Virginia patients wake up from treatment with the laser device, it’s not uncommon for them to feel very hot, particularly in the area of the application. Our staff will be standing by with fresh towels from the freezer and a cooling fan to ease their transition.
You may feel somewhat uncomfortable and have higher skin sensitivity during the initial recovery period. We advise you to continue applying the personal ice packs that the practice provides until you have cooled down from your treatment.
At that point, our team recommends using a white vinegar soak for a few days. The skin on the surface should begin to peel away over this time, revealing pink, fresh skin beneath. The peeling effect tends to be more pronounced following a laser application than RF treatment.
Laser-treated skin is particularly sensitive to exposure, so please stay out of the sun for a full month after your procedure. If you must go outside briefly, wear sunscreen and a full-coverage hat.
Once your skin has fully healed from laser scar removal, you can expect the treated area to look five to ten years younger. Improvement with RF therapy requires about three applications, once every four weeks. As a result of either approach, your acne scars should fade significantly, and you should be able to enjoy a more youthful, attractive appearance.
Schedule a skin evaluation with Dr. Gocke to find out if you are a good candidate for laser scar removal. Call our Northern Virginia practice at (703) 388-2805 or book an appointment online.