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Skin smoothing surgery - series



Dermabrasion may be offered to patients with:

  • Facial scars from acne, accidents, and previous surgery
  • Fine facial wrinkles, such as around the mouth
  • Precancerous growths (keratoses)

Dermabrasion is usually done while you are awake. You will receive local anesthesia. This means the doctor will numb the area to be worked on.

A surgical instrument is used to gently and carefully "sand" the scar tissue off down to normal, healthy skin. The healing tissue is treated with ointments (such as petroleum jelly or antibiotic ointments) to reduce scab formation (crusting) and therefore reduce scar formation.


The skin may be treated with ointment and a wet or waxy dressing. After surgery, your skin will be quite red and swollen. Eating and talking may be difficult. You may have some aching, tingling, or burning for a while after surgery. Your doctor can prescribe medicine to help control any pain.

Swelling usually goes away within 2 - 3 weeks. New skin starts to itch as is grows. If you had freckles, they may temporarily disappear.

If the treated skin remains red and swollen after healing has started, this may be a sign that abnormal scars are beginning to form. Talk to your doctor. Treatment may be available.

The new layer of skin will be a little swollen, sensitive, and bright pink for several weeks. Most patients can go back to normal activities in about 2 weeks. You should avoid any activity that could cause injury to the treated area. Avoid sports that involve balls, such as baseball, for 4 - 6 weeks.

Protect the skin from the sun for 6 - 12 months until your skin coloring has returned to normal.


Review Date: 10/28/2008
Reviewed By: Michael Lehrer, M.D., Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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