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Facial Enhancement Procedure

Dermabrasion and help to “refinish” the skin’s top layers through controlled surgical scraping. The treatments soften surface irregularities, giving the skin a smoother appearance.

Dermabrasion is most often used to improve the look of facial skin left scarred by accidents, previous surgery, or fine facial wrinkles. Dermabrasion can be performed on small areas of skin or on the entire face. When one considers surgery to refinish the skin, this information will give a basic understanding of the procedure, when it can help, how it’s performed, and what results a patient can expect.

The Best Candidates For Dermabrasion

Dermabrasion can enhance one’s appearance and self-confidence, but neither treatment will remove all scars, flaws, or prevent aging. Before deciding to have a skin-refinishing treatment, think carefully about personal expectations and discuss them with Dr. Hess.

Men and women of all ages, from young people to older adults, can benefit from dermabrasion. Although older people heal more slowly, more important factors are skin type, coloring, and medical history.

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Considering Alternative Procedures


For anyone planning to undergo a “surface repairs” on the face, he/she may also consider a chemical peel, an alternative method of surgically removing the top layer of skin. However, dermabrasion uses surgical instruments to remove the affected skin layers, while a chemical peel uses a caustic solution.

Dr. Hess performs both procedures. Sometimes he will select one or both procedures to suit the individual patient and the problem. Others prefer one technique for all surface repairs. In general, a chemical peel is used more often to treat fine wrinkles, and dermabrasion is performed for deeper imperfections such as acne scars. A non-chemical approach may also be preferred for individuals with slightly darker skin, especially when treating limited areas of the face, since dermabrasion is less likely to produce extreme changes and contrasts in skin color.

Preparing for a Dermabrasion

Some treatments been offered by inadequately trained practitioners. Be sure to choose a doctor who is qualified and competent. Dr. Hess is board certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery, so his expertise and experience are highly regarded by his patients. Dermabrasion usually involves the most visible part of your body–your face.

In the initial consultation, be open in discussing expectations with Dr. Hess. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions or express any concerns. Dr. Hess will be equally open by explaining the factors that could influence the procedure and results. Such factors include age, skin condition, and previous plastic surgeries.

Dr. Hess will discuss one’s medical history, conduct a routine examination, and photograph the face. He will explain the procedure in detail, along with its risks and benefits, the recovery period, and the costs. Insurance usually doesn’t cover cosmetic procedures. However, it may cover dermabrasion when performed to remove precancerous skin growths or extensive scars. One should check his/her policy or call the carrier to be certain.

Dr. Hess will give specific instructions about preparing for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, and avoiding aspirin and other medications that affect blood clotting. The patient may also be given special instructions regarding the care and treatment of the skin prior to surgery. Someone who smokes will be asked to stop for a week or two before and after surgery, since smoking decreases blood circulation in the skin and impedes healing.

When making preparations, be certain to arrange for transportation home afterwards and help if needed.

Where Surgery Will Be Performed

The treatment may be performed in Dr. Hess’ office-based facility, which is accredited by AAAASF and hold the same standards of safety and cleanliness as a hospital.

A consultation is the best means of gathering more information regarding dermabrasion.

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Dermabrasion may be performed under local anesthesia, which numbs the area, combined with a sedative to make the patient drowsy. The patient will be awake but relaxed, and will feel minimal discomfort. Sometimes a numbing spray, such a freon, is used along with or instead of local anesthesia. In more severe cases, Dr. Hess may prefer to use general anesthesia, in which case one sleeps through the procedure.

The Surgery


Dermabrasion can be performed fairly quickly. The procedures usually take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour and a half, depending on how large an area of skin is involved. It’s not uncommon for the procedure to be performed more than once, or in stages, especially when scarring is deep or a large area of skin is involved.

In dermabrasion, Dr. Hess scrapes away the outermost layer of skin with a rough wire brush, or a burr containing diamond particles, attached to a motorized handle. The scraping continues until Dr. Hess reaches the safest level that will make the scar or wrinkle less visible.

Dr. Hess may then treat the skin in a number of ways, including ointment, a wet or waxy dressing, dry treatment, or some combination of these.

After Surgery

Directly after the procedure, the skin will be fairly red and swollen, and eating and speaking may be difficult. The patient may feel some tingling, burning, or aching. Pain can be controlled with medications prescribed by Dr. Hess. The swelling will begin to subside within a few days to a week.

If one can remember the scrapes he/she got as a child, he/she will have an idea of what to expect from this type of surgery. A scab or crust will form over the treated area as it begins to heal. This will fall off as a new layer of tight, pink skin forms underneath. The face may itch as new skin starts to grow, and Dr. Hess may recommend an ointment to make one more comfortable. If ointment is applied immediately after surgery, little or no scab will form.

Dr. Hess will give detailed instructions on how to care for the skin after surgery. For men, this will include delaying shaving and using an electric razor the first time shaving post surgery. It’s very important that the patient understand Dr. Hess’ instructions and follow them exactly for the best possible healing.

If the treated area begins to get worse instead of better (if it becomes increasingly red, raised, and itchy after it has started to heal), it may be a sign that abnormal scars are beginning to form. Dr. Hess can be reached, so that treatment for this issue can begin early.

Getting Back to Normal

The new skin will be a bit swollen, sensitive, and bright pink for several weeks. During this time, one can gradually begin to resume your normal activities.

One’s New Look

Refinishing treatments can offer dramatic improvements in the surface of the skin, but it will take some time before the final results are seen. The pinkness of the skin will take about three months to fade. In the meantime, one should wear non-allergenic makeup when going out in public. When the new skin is fully re-pigmented, the color should closely match the surrounding skin, which makes the procedure virtually undetectable.