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Fractional Resurfacing (Photothermolysis)
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Fractional Resurfacing
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A non-invasive laser cosmetic procedure that can improve and repair wrinkles, acne scars, scars, sun damage, brown spots and other skin problems.

Length of Surgery

20 – 30 minutes





Back to work in...


Back to the gym in...

1 day

Treatment Frequency

Three to five repeat treatments may be needed


This type of laser treatment is gentle on the skin.


from $750-$2,500 per treatment


No significant risks, but side effects include redness and skin peeling.

Duration of results

Long lasting

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Click links below for detail.

Fractional Resurfacing Costs*

Fractional resurfacing costs range from $750-$2,500 per treatment, depending on factors including the extent of the areas to be treated, where you live, and the practitioners expertise.

If you are considering having fractional laser resurfacing but want to explore more about the financing options available before you make your decision, PLEASE CLICK HERE. You can discuss your financial options with your fractional resurfacing treatment practitioner, and find out if there are any loans or flexi-payment plans available to you.

Am I a candidate for Fractional Resurfacing?

The best candidates for fractional resurfacing treatment are people with:

  1. Age spots
  2. Loss of skin laxity
  3. Wrinkles
  4. Rough skin
  5. Acne scars
  6. Hyperpigmentation
Fractional laser resurfacing may suit people who do not want laser resurfacing or chemical peels, but who still want to improve the appearance of their skin.

Unsuitable candidates for fractional laser resurfacing include:
  1. People who have taken Roaccutane in the last six months
  2. People currently taking light sensitizing medications or anticoagulant medicines
  3. Those with a history of light triggered seizures
  4. People with dermatitis, active infections, sunburn or cold sores in the area to be treated
  5. Those with a history of poor wound healing

What is a Fractional Resurfacing Procedure?

Fractional resurfacing (also known as fractional photothermolysis) is a non-invasive laser cosmetic procedure that can improve and repair wrinkles, acne scars, scars, sun damage, brown spots and other skin problems. Results are immediately visible and there are minimal side effects, downtime and recovery periods.

A fractional resurfacing procedure precisely targets problem areas of the skin, leaving the surrounding skin perfectly intact. The tiny spots of laser treated skin replace old, destroyed cells with new, healthy ones, preserving the healthy skin which results in rapid healing. Fractional resurfacing stimulates collagen renewal and as the healing process begins, new cells generate leaving the skin smoother and softer.

Fractional resurfacing uses a laser to remove or reduce wrinkles, melasma (the mask of pregnancy), acne scarring, freckles, age spots and dark pigmentation. Fractional laser skin resurfacing treatments can achieve the skin improvements possible with ablative lasers, but with greater safety and faster recovery time. Fractional laser resurfacing is an extremely quick procedure, often lasting no more than 30 minutes.

Fractional resurfacing practitioners use different hand held devices to perform the fractional laser resurfacing procedure, and the way that the procedure is performed and the preparations involved will depend on the specific device that the practitioner is using. During the fractional resurfacing procedure, a topical anesthetic may be applied, along with a solution that highlights the areas that need treatment. The device is then passed over these areas until a mild redness is seen. Patients often describe fractional laser resurfacing as a "prickling" sensation. Topical numbing ointments and air cooling alleviates most discomfort from the heat caused by the fractional resurfacing treatment.

Fractional resurfacing procedures are different to ablative laser procedures in that there is less downtime, results are longer lasting, the procedure is less invasive with less pain, and results are seen much quicker. However, fractional resurfacing is not permanent and you may require follow-up procedures to maintain your new look.

Multiple fractional resurfacing treatment sessions are normally required to obtain optimal results. This typically consists of three to five treatments spaced approximately five to seven days apart to achieve a gradual remodelling of the skin.

Fractional Resurfacing Procedure Steps

The following is a typical overview of the procedure, though individual practice may vary depending on the fractional resurfacing device used.

  1. The skin is cleansed and a solution is applied to the treatment area.
  2. Topical local anesthesia may also be applied to increase patient comfort during the procedure, and a cooling device that uses chilled air to cool the treatment area may also be used.
  3. The solution highlights the contours of the skins surface, allowing the machine to precisely read the contours of the treatment area and treat the area accordingly.
  4. The fractional resurfacing laser treatment device is then passed over the surface of the treatment area in a series of horizontal and vertical actions, until a mild redness (erythema) is seen in the skin by the fractional laser resurfacing practitioner.
  5. The solution and anesthetic are washed off immediately after the fractional resurfacing treatment.
  6. Results are generally finally apparent in around two to three months.

Fractional Resurfacing Recovery and Healing Steps

For the first week or so after your fractional resurfacing treatment, your skin may peel and appear swollen and red. This redness or pinkness is a sign that the skin is healing properly. As the new tissue grows and replaces the damaged tissue, your skin will flake off, also a good sign. Applying a good moisturizer will help to alleviate any discomfort. You should avoid the sun as much as possible, and wear a sun block when outside.

However, there is little to no pain and you can continue with your normal activities immediately.

Fractional Resurfacing Risks

There are virtually no risks associated with fractional laser resurfacing. The risks of scarring or skin discoloration are extremely low as this type of laser treatment is very gentle on the skin.

Skin Rejuvenation Checklist

Skin Rejuvenation Checklist

Knowledge is power so arm yourself with the facts before making any decision about Fractional Resurfacing (Photothermolysis) procedures; click here for an essential check list to help you find the right Perfect Yourself skin specialist.

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Be sure to also visit our Expert Advice page where you can find great questions from real visitors, Answered by real plastic surgeons, cosmetic dentists, and skin rejuvenation specialists.