Home/Blog / Anti-Aging News: Recovery From Laser Treatments

Anti-Aging News: Recovery From Laser Treatments

The different terms used by physicians to describe what patients may experience during and after laser treatments often leave patients feeling confused. Since patients who undergo laser treatment experience varying degrees of discomfort, the American Society for Aesthetic Surgeons (ASAPS) came up with standard terms that doctors can use to help patients understand what will happen during and after the treatments. With the right information, patients will be better able to cope with the discomforts associated with laser treatment.

If your doctor is certified by the ASAPS, you can be sure that he or she will prepare you well for recovery. At Pinsky Plastic Surgery, we make it a point to discuss with our patients the things that are likely to happen during and after the treatments. Our board certified doctors are always ready to answer questions from our patients.

Anti-Aging News: Recovery From Laser Treatments

by Joan Kron, Contributing Editor At Large, October 31, 2011, 3:04:51 PM

“There’s minimal downtime.” “The pain will be moderate.” ” There is no swelling.” Anyone who has fallen for those soothing words, only to wake up after a laser treatment with her face on fire and looking like a slab of beef carpaccio, knows how misleading recovery terminology can be. To help ease the confusion, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has come up with a lexicon of terms for doctors to use that they hope will help quantify for patients the downtime, bruising, redness, swelling, and pain associated with laser and light-based treatments.

Talking Downtime
No downtime: Means it will take more than your lunch hour but less than 24 hours to look like yourself.
Minimal: You can expect 24 to 72 hours of downtime.
Moderate: It will take three to seven days to recover.
Significant: You’ll want to hide out for more than a week.

Talking Bruising
No bruising: Well, this one is not exactly true. There can be some pigment change, but it should fade fast and can easily be covered up with concealer.
Minimal bruising: The bruising will take a week to go away.
Moderate: Bruising will fade in one to two weeks.
Significant: It will take more than two weeks for the bruising to disappear. Buy some heavy duty makeup to wear in the meantime.

Talking Redness
None: Again, not exactly accurate. You may see some redness in the first 24 hours.
Minimal: You can expect one to three days of redness.
Moderate: Count on four to seven days of redness.
Significant: Don’t do this treatment the week before you’re having your picture taken. It will take more than a week to look like yourself again.

Talking Swelling
Essentially none: Again, this means some. It will resolve in less than three days.
Minimal: You’ll be puffy for three to seven days.
Moderate: This is not so moderate—eight to 14 days of swelling.
Significant: This is really significant swelling that takes more than two weeks to heal.

Talking Pain and Discomfort
Essentially none: This means you may need to take something like Tylenol for any pain you have.
Minimal: You may require a topical painkiller during treatment and a prescription painkiller after.
Moderate: Same as above, plus some local anesthesia before treatment.
Significant: You’ll require some intravenous sedation or general anesthesia before treatment. (Translation: This treatment is going to hurt. You’ll be knocked out.)

Have you had a laser treatment? Did you doctor prepare you well for the recovery?

Creating One Language to Speak about Light- and Energy-Based Technologies for Aesthetic Procedures

ASAPS initiative aims to standardize terminology, images used in data reporting and marketing

New York, NY (October 17, 2011)– “No downtime.” “Moderate redness.” “Minimal bruising.” When it comes to the many light- and energy-based devices used for aesthetic procedures from hair removal to body contouring, what do these claims really mean? Lacking a standard terminology that truly captures aesthetic concepts, plastic surgeons, patients, and device marketers may be talking about very different things even when using the same words to describe the outcomes of cosmetic procedures that employ energy- and light-based tools.

To promote a more fair, standardized, and impartial discourse about these devices, the Light- and Energy-Based Therapies Subcommittee of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) has begun to more precisely define standard terms and develop recommendations for device manufacturers—such as the use of standardized lighting, patient positioning and labeling for before and after images—to help physicians and patients better evaluate the different technologies. This initiative is discussed in “Back to Basics: Understanding the Terminology Associated With Light- and Energy-Based Technology,” an editorial available online ahead of print in the November 2011 issue of Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

“Our goal is to facilitate a baseline for communication about light- and energy-based technologies in the aesthetic realm,” said Michael I. Kulick, MD, Chair of the Light- and Energy-Based Therapies Subcommittee. “We hope that manufacturers will begin to incorporate the subcommittee’s definitions and recommendations into their collateral and marketing efforts, which we believe will help facilitate acceptance of their respective devices and allow physicians to more readily understand their claims.”

The Subcommittee has developed standard definitions for some of the most common terms used in marketing light- and energy-based devices for aesthetic procedures, particularly terms used to describe the recovery process. For example, the definitions describe how to define the different degrees of swelling, bruising, and pain, from “essentially none” to “significant.” Other terms will be added to the list as the Subcommittee moves forward to develop a full and comprehensive nomenclature.

“It’s important that everyone clearly understands definitions when talking about the outcomes of energy- and light-based aesthetic procedures, whether you are a patient, physician or device manufacturer,” said Foad Nahai, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Aesthetic Surgery Journal. “The burden to sort through all of the competing claims currently rests on the physicians. This initiative will help patients and physicians realistically understand the claims associated with the many different devices in this growing field, and allow plastic surgeons to make more informed decisions about incorporating new devices into their practices.”