Most people get about 90% of their total sun exposure before age 21! Over time, the damage to the skin from ultraviolet radiation exposure, oxidants in the environment, cigarette smoking, and other lifestyle choices becomes manifest and can lead to the appearance of premature aging. As a result, the skin may start to appear thickened and dull, fine lines and wrinkles appear, and the pigmentation becomes “blotchy”. Skin can also start to sag. Coblation is a procedure that effectively treats damaged skin and recreates a long lasting youthful appearance to the skin.
Coblation is a skin resurfacing tool that evolved from deep chemical peels such as phenol and TCA peels, and later, CO2 skin resurfacing. These techniques use chemical or light energy to remove superficial damaged skin, and create a new, smoother, younger appearing skin.
Coblation uses radiofrequency (RF) energy to achieve the same result. The RF energy is generated precisely by a computer and delivered to the skin through a hand piece. Several passes with the hand piece are usually needed to achieve the desired resurfacing.
Coblation works by removing the top layers of skin that are damaged by sun, oxidants, cigarettes, and aging. The RF energy accomplishes the desired result by disrupting the damaged skin cells, through heat and other complex mechanisms.
Coblation does not penetrate the skin as deeply as the CO2 laser and therefore is not as aggressive as the laser. Results of Coblation are usually about 85% as effective as the laser; however the recovery is easier, and. Additionally, laser patients usually suffer a degree of de-pigmentation, leaving the treated area much lighter in color than non-treated areas. This complication is much less likely when Coblation is used for skin resurfacing.
Who are the best candidates?
Patients with fair complexion or light skin coloration are the ideal candidates, however, more pigmented skin types can also be treated safely. The best candidates are patients who are generally in good health. Your weight must be stable, blood work must be in order, and you must be emotionally ready to go through a large operation and recovery. Smoking increases risks of just about all complications, so it is best to not smoke for at least one month before and after surgery. For your health, you should quit smoking anyway.
Preparation for surgery:
On your pre-operative visit, you will be given specific instructions on medications to avoid. You will need to have someone to drive you to and from the office, and stay with you after surgery. You should plan to have help around the house for about a day or so.
On the day of surgery, you should wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes. You should wear a button or zipper up shirt, and flat, safe, comfortable shoes. Dr. Kasden will in Abdominoplasty is a major operation, so you should be in the best best physical condition possible. I recommend that you consult with your primary physician to design a fitness program to optimize your cardiovascular status prior to surgery.
After surgery, you will need to walk and sleep with your head elevated above heart level. To help with this you will need to get a recliner or a “bed buddy”/”husband” reading pillow. The pillow is inexpensive, and can be purchased at a local discount store.
Type of Anesthesia:
Local anesthesia with sedation is usually employed.
Coblation is not a “major” operation in the way that say, an Abdominoplasty is. However, Coblation is performed on the face, and after surgery, there will be swelling, some bruising, and wound care. In short, there will be a period after surgery that you will not look good. You must prepare yourself for the fact that you will not be ready to be in the public eye for about 2 weeks. You must also be prepared for the swelling, redness, and some oozing from the Coblation process. This may be scary for you at first, but will improve over time.
Coblation requires an appropriate commitment on your part to the recovery process. Most people report that they look worse than they feel after the procedure. The skin starts to feel tight like it is pulling, and is accompanied by mild to moderate discomfort, not unlike as sunburn. This may last for several days to about a week, and I will prescribe appropriate analgesics to help you stay comfortable.
After surgery, you will likely feel fatigued. Stamina usually starts to return after a few days and you should feel almost back to normal in about four weeks. Your bruising may last several weeks, and the redness will last slightly longer. After about two weeks, any skin redness or pink discoloration can be concealed with makeup. I will advise you when it is safe to resume full activities.
The expected outcome of Coblation is improvement in the appearance and structure of the treated skin. Specifically, the damaged and thickened skin will be thinned out and smoother. Pores that were widened as a result of sun damage will shrink. Blotchy pigmentation will be more uniform. Most importantly, fine lines and wrinkles will be smoothed out resulting in a more youthful and rested appearance.
The results of the procedure are “biphasic”, meaning that there is an early result, followed by a later result. The immediate improvement is seen as a result of the thermal injury to the skin- the skin acts like “shrink wrap” and the wrinkles smooth out. This result is augmented by the fact that the high points of the wrinkles are taken down, making the depth of the wrinkles shallower, and less noticeable.
The later result is seen over the first year or so after treatment. As a result of Coblation, the collagen and elastic tissues beneath the skin re-form, and restructure to a more youthful configuration. This tends to give the deeper layers of the skin more strength, elasticity, and thickness, and in effect, reverses the damage caused by sun exposure. The new collagen and elastic tissue “plumps up” the low points of the wrinkles, and this further reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Therefore, your appearance continues to improve for the first year, and potentially remains stable for many years, depending on how you care for your skin.
Your results will vary depending on condition of your tissues, your life style choices, and genetics. Regardless of the condition of your skin pre operatively, you should see a marked improvement after Coblation. As long as you have realistic expectations, you should be very happy with your results.
Coblation usually performed without complication. However significant complications may occur from time to time. The most serious complications include skin de-pigmentation or hyper-pigmentation, scar formation, and activation of Herpes (cold sores). Although these complications are possible, they are not likely, and usually resolve without significant long term problems.
The risk of other complications may apply to you depending on your particular medical history. Be sure to share with me all information about your medical history so that we can minimize your risks.
The information on this site is intended to help you with your quest for knowledge. Any decision to undergo a treatment or surgery is an individual decision which can only be made in consultation with your plastic surgeon.
Although it is expected that your surgery and recovery will go well and you will be happy with your outcome, complications occasionally occur. Although we attempt to anticipate and avoid problems, healing sometimes can be unpredictable. No guarantees or warranties either expressly or implicitly regarding your results are made. I have attempted to portray this information honestly, fairly and accurately. If you find any errors, please bring them to my attention so that I can correct them by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.