Dermabrasion is a surgical procedure whereby the skin's surface irregularities are diminished by abrading or "sanding" the skin with special diamond rotary instruments. Your surgeon carefully reduces the skin surface to a specific depth and after a period of healing the skin is smoother with fewer irregularities.
Often, more than one technique is used to give the best improvement in the appearance of facial scars and wrinkles. For example, frequently a dermabrasion will be performed several weeks after scar revision. Sometimes, dermabrasion and chemical peel are performed together or in sequence to treat deeper wrinkles, such as those occurring around the lips.
Most of these procedures are performed using a light intravenous sedative and local anesthesia. Sometimes a surgeon will apply cold packs to the face before dermabrasion. Depending on the amount of area to be treated, surgery usually lasts between 30 to 90 minutes. You should experience little, if any, discomfort.
In general, during the first several days after surgery the skin is somewhat tender and swelling can be expected, most prominently around the eyes. Usually after several days the treated areas appear as if you have had a bad sunburn. In most cases you are able to camouflage the areas adequately with makeup after about one week. It is not at all unusual to have some persistent redness, sometimes lasting several months. Sometimes, several weeks after surgery small white dots, resembling acne, may appear. These disappear in a short period of time. Occasional areas of darkened skin color may appear. This is usually temporary and may be treated with prescription facial creams. Sometimes the treated areas will appear lighter than untreated areas. While this is sometimes permanent, it is usually quite subtle.