A prospective survey of patient experiences after laser skin resurfacing: results from 2 1/2 years of follow-up

Arch Dermatol. 2003 Oct;139(10):1295-9. doi: 10.1001/archderm.139.10.1295.


Background: Laser skin resurfacing (LSR) is a common cosmetic surgical procedure, yet there are no prospective long-term studies on patients' perceptions of their procedure.

Objective: To prospectively document patients' subjective experiences after LSR.

Design: Twenty-seven consecutive patients who underwent combination carbon dioxide/erbium:YAG full-face laser resurfacing for acne scarring or photodamage were surveyed at postoperative days 1 and 3, within 1 week, at 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 30 months and asked standardized questions.

Setting: Referral-based academic practice.

Results: One day after LSR, 10 patients (37%) were concerned about the outcome, and 3 (11%) considered it a "terrible" experience. At 2.7 days after the procedure, 23 patients (85%) would recommend LSR, and after 3.7 days, 24 (89%) would have the procedure again. At 3 months, the patients' mean rating of appearance was 2.3 (0-3 scale), and all 27 (100%) felt that their appearance had been improved by LSR. After 30 months, 18 patients (75%) would recommend the procedure, 17 (71%) would have LSR again, 21 (88%) felt that their appearance was improved, and final appearance was rated 1.8 (0-3 scale). Patients undergoing LSR to treat acne scarring were as satisfied as patients treated for photodamage.

Conclusions: Data on the evolution of patient perspective after LSR can improve patient preparation. This may help the surgeon and patient achieve shared, realistic expectations for the postoperative period and for long-term results.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / complications
  • Adult
  • Cicatrix / radiotherapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Skin / radiation effects*
  • Skin Aging / radiation effects
  • Time Factors