A dermatological surgical procedure using a rotating instrument that sands the skin, reducing scarring and some wrinkles. This procedure requires intense pre- and post-operative care. Dermabrasion is a type of surgical skin planing, generally with the goal of removing acne, scarring, and other skin or tissue irregularities, typically performed in a professional medical setting by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon trained specifically in this procedure. Dermabrasion has been practiced for many years (before the advent of lasers) and involves the controlled deeper abrasion (wearing away) of the upper to mid layers of the skin with any variety of strong abrasive devices including a wire brush, diamond wheel or fraise, sterilized sandpaper, salt crystals, or other mechanical means. Dermabrasion should not be confused with microdermabrasion which is a newer and non-surgical cosmetic procedure performed by non-physician personnel, nurses, estheticians, medical assistants, and most recently untrained individuals in their homes. Dermabrasion procedures are surgical, invasive procedures that typically require a local anaesthetic. Often, they are performed in surgical suites or in professional medical centers. Since the procedure can typically remove the top to deeper layers of the epidermis, and extend into the reticular dermis, there is always minor skin bleeding. The procedure carries risks of scarring, skin discoloration, infections, and facial herpes virus (cold sore) reactivation. In aggressive dermabrasion cases, there is often tremendous skin bleeding and spray during the procedure that has to be controlled with pressure. Afterward, the skin is normally very red and raw-looking.
Depending on the level of skin removal with dermabrasion, it takes an average of 7–30 days for the skin to fully heal (re-epithelialize). Often, the procedure is performed for deeper acne scarring and deep surgical scars. Dermabrasion is currently rarely practiced and there are very few doctors who are trained and still perform this surgery. Dermabrasion has largely been replaced by technologies including lasers, CO2 or Erbium:YAG laser. Laser technologies carry the advantage of little to no bleeding and are often less operator dependent than dermabrasion. The purpose of surgical dermabrasion is to help diminish the appearance of deeper scars and skin imperfections. Often, the goal is to smooth the skin and, in the process, remove small scars (as from acne), uneven skin tone from scars or birthmarks, sun damage, tattoos, age spots, etc. Dermabrasion is a mechanical surgical skin planing method which has remained popular partially because it may afford an overall lower cost and may provide similar or superior results as newer laser methods for certain skin conditionsDermabrasion is a mechanical surgical skin planing method which has remained popular partially because it may afford an overall lower cost and may provide similar or superior results as newer laser methods for certain skin conditions.
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