Monica Bearden, RD
Dermabrasion is used to remove damaged skin. This allows healthy, smoother skin to grow in its place.
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:
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
Dermabrasion is not recommended if you have:
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.
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.
The length of time depends on the size of the area to be treated. It can range from a few minutes to 90 minutes.
Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
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:
At first, the area will bleed. Once it heals, the skin should appear smoother and blend into the surrounding skin. Results are long lasting.
During your procedure, the staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
If you think you have 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/public/publications/pamphlets/cosmetic_dermabrasion.html. Accessed August 30, 2013.
Dermabrasion procedural steps. American Society of Plastic Surgeons website. Available at:
http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/dermabrasion.html?sub=Dermabrasion%20procedural%20steps. Accessed August 30, 2013.
Harmon CB. Dermabrasion.
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Roy D. Ablative facial resurfacing.
Dermatol Clin. 2005;23(3):549-559.
Last reviewed September 2013 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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