Full-face laser resurfacing using a supplemented topical anesthesia protocol

Suzanne L. Kilmer, Vera Chotzen, Brian D. Zelickson, Marla McClaren, Susan Silva, Jacqueline Calkin, David No

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: Laser resurfacing has become a popular modality for the treatment of photodamaged skin, rhytids, and acne scarring. In many cases, this procedure is performed under general anesthesia or intravenous sedation in conjunction with nerve blocks and local infiltration. Objective: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of facial carbon dioxide laser resurfacing using a supplemented topical anesthesia protocol. Design: Nonrandomized case series of patients observed for 1 year. Setting: Outpatient surgery center. Patients: Two hundred consecutive patients undergoing treatment for facial rhytids or acne scarring. Intervention: Full-face carbon dioxide laser resurfacing procedures were performed using a supplemented topical anesthesia protocol. Pretreatment medications included diazepam, oral analgesics, and intramuscular ketorolac tromethamine. Main Outcome Measures: Tolerability of procedure, healing times, and adverse effects. Results: Topical anesthesia provided effective and sufficient anesthesia in most cases. Only 10 of 200 patients required additional anesthesia (regional nerve blocks and/or local infiltration). Substantial improvement of rhytids, photodamage, and acne scarring was observed. Posttreatment hypopigmentation was seen in 1 patient. Scarring was not observed. Conclusion: A supplemented topical anesthesia protocol for full-face laser resurfacing is a safe and effective alternative to traditional anesthesia strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1279-1283
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Dermatology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003


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