Last week, Solta Medical presented a study by Steve Weiner, MD at the annual American Academy for Dermatology meeting. The presentation sparked a few discussions among doctors who have had some experience with the “new Fraxel”.

Fraxel Re:pair is a “non-invasive” laser treatment used for the reduction of fine to moderate wrinkles on the face, neck and chest. “As a plastic surgeon I’ve found this to be the best treatment on the market to date and I don’t anticipate anything will replace it for many years,” said Weiner. Some may argue that Dr. Weiner’s opinion is biased since he did the study on the Solta’s buck and featured his patients at several nationwide webinars promoting Solta’s lasers. However, Weiner’s research clearly shows the advantages of his technique, which are very valuable for many physicians.

How does Fraxel Re:pair compare to a traditional face lift?

A face-lift is a surgical procedure under general anaesthesia performed by a plastic surgeon, often in a specialized outpatient center or a hospital. The Fraxel Re:pair is considered to be a non-invasive treatment with the use of CO2 laser technology, which can be done by physicians of different specialties and in a doctor’s office. Results are expected to last up to 10 years. For most patients only one treatment is required, for deeper wrinkles two may be necessary, according to Weiner.

The laser effectively removes portions the epidermis and heats the dermis to tighten the skin and help with collagen elasticity, referred to as resurfacing. As with other laser treatment the new skin is exposed and wound care is necessary. This is the part where one may question the definition of a non-invasive treatment. After the Fraxel treatment the patient goes home with dressings on the face. The dressings need to be changed every 3-4 hours and you have to stay indoors for 5-7 days. Most patients would arguably call this pretty invasive.

The Fraxel Re:pair seems to work very well on mildly deep wrinkles, acne scars and brown spots, caused by the sun exposure. With some extra skill and experiens a doctor can work with Asians and Hispanics. Smokers and individuals with heavily tanned, pigmented or very dark skin types are not good candidates for this treatment.

The cost for Fraxel Re:pair ranges from $1,300 to $6,300, approximately 1/3 the cost for a surgical face lift which can cost more than $10,000.

LaserOffers comment

Our medical panel agrees that leaving the issue of cost differential aside, for the vast majority of patients the CO2 fractional treatment with Fraxel will work just as well, if not better than the surgical face-lift. The additional benefit is that the laser actually improves the skin texture, whereas the lift merely stretches the skin.

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