(Surgical Skin Planning; Skin Resurfacing)
by Monica Bearden, RD
Dermabrasion is used to remove damaged skin. This allows healthy, smoother skin to grow in its place.
Reasons for Procedure
Dermabrasion is done to help repair damaged skin. The procedure may help to renew skin by stimulating new skin growth. Dermabrasion may be used to treat the following skin conditions:
Possible Complications TOP
Your doctor will review a list of possible complications from dermabrasion. This may include:
Certain factors increase the risk of complications. Dermabrasion is not recommended if you have:
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor may:
Photographs will also be taken before and after surgery. This will help to see the changes.
A local anesthetic will be used to numb the area. A numbing spray may also be used. If the amount of work is extensive, you may need general anesthesia. In this case, you will be asleep.
A sedative medication may be given to help you relax.
Description of the Procedure
The area of skin will be cleaned and the anesthesia will be applied. The doctor will use a motorized tool with a wheel or brush. The tool with be passed over the skin. Each pass will remove a certain amount of skin. The doctor will continue until the damaged area is level with the rest of the skin.
An ointment or dressing will be applied to the area.
How Long Will It Take?
The length of time depends on the size of the area to be treated. It can range from a few minutes to 90 minutes.
How Much Will It Hurt?
Once the anesthesia has worn off, the skin will feel raw and irritated. Over-the-counter pain relievers will help manage any pain and discomfort.
Healing normally takes 7-10 days. A steroid medication may be prescribed to reduce swelling and improve healing.
Proper care will also help you heal. Steps may include:
Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions.
At first, the area will bleed. Once it heals, the skin should appear smoother and blend into the surrounding skin. Results are long lasting.
Call Your Doctor TOP
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
American Society of Plastic Surgeons
Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons
Dermabrasion. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org... . Accessed August 30, 2013.
Dermabrasion procedural steps. American Society of Plastic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.plastic... . Accessed August 30, 2013.
Harmon CB. Dermabrasion. Dermatol Clin . 2001;19(3):439-442.
Roy D. Ablative facial resurfacing. Dermatol Clin . 2005;23(3):549-559.
Last reviewed September 2013 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 9/30/2013