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Laser Resurfacing

Our skin goes through a lot on a daily basis. As a protective barrier, our skin is constantly exposed to harsh sunlight, brisk winds, various chemicals and other environmental or lifestyle factors, all of which can take a toll despite our best efforts. As the years pass, we can lessen the impact on our skin, but reversing the effects may require a little extra help.

At Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC, double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Franziska Huettner can restore a smooth, glowing complexion with advanced treatments such as laser resurfacing. By combining years of experience with the latest technology, Dr. Huettner can correct a wide array of skin conditions, from environmental and age-related concerns to scarring and discoloration. With highly individualized treatment plans, Dr. Huettner can address your unique needs for natural-looking results that are all your own.

Laser Resurfacing for Beauty


What is Laser Resurfacing?

Laser skin resurfacing is a procedure that uses advanced laser technology to improve the appearance of your skin. Although commonly performed on the face, Dr. Huettner’s precision, control and expertise allow her to treat other areas of the body as well, including the chest, hands and neck. Some common problems addressed by laser resurfacing include:

  • Fine lines, wrinkles and creases
  • Sun damage
  • Age spots
  • Freckles, birthmarks and moles
  • Pigmentation or discoloration issues
  • Acne scars
  • Loose skin that has lost its elasticity
  • Broken blood vessels

Depending on your specific concerns, there are two main types of lasers used in resurfacing treatments — ablative and nonablative — giving both patients and providers flexibility in treating a variety of conditions. To determine which treatment will help you meet your aesthetic goals, Dr. Huettner at Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC will listen closely to your needs and expectations during an in-person consultation. This will allow her to develop a personalized treatment plan and recommend the laser that will provide the best possible outcome.

Ablative lasers vaporize the skin’s outer layer to remove areas affected by the sun, aging, scarring, pigmentation issues and more. By creating a controlled destruction of damaged skin, ablative lasers activate the body’s natural healing process and generate new cells, resulting in noticeably softer, smoother and tighter skin after just one treatment.

Ablative lasers also penetrate the deeper layers of the skin and increase collagen production for lasting effects, making them extremely effective at treating more severe conditions. Treatments may cause discomfort and require more downtime, but they are generally well tolerated by most patients.

Nonablative lasers are gentler and improve the appearance of the skin by stimulating collagen production and tightening underlying tissues from the inside out. Unlike ablative treatments, nonablative lasers are less invasive and don’t wound the surface of the skin, instead delivering warmth deep into the lower layers of the dermis.

This results in a healing response that improves the tone and texture of the skin, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and diminishes acne scars and other imperfections. Treatments are generally more comfortable with minimal downtime and can be completed in less than 30 minutes, but you may require more than one session to reach your aesthetic goals.

Laser resurfacing treatments are extremely versatile and appropriate for men and women of all ages wanting to improve the tone and texture of their skin. While effective at treating a variety of concerns, laser treatments are not a substitute for surgical procedures such as a facelift or blepharoplasty, however. Patients that experience advanced signs of aging, an excessive amount of loose skin, deep scars, burns and other conditions may not be good candidates and will likely need to be treated with more intensive procedures. Allergies, certain medications and darker skin pigmentation may also impact a patient’s ability to receive laser treatments.

Dr. Huettner at Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC can help determine if laser treatments are right for you during your consultation, where you’ll also have the opportunity to learn more about the procedure, discuss your aesthetic goals, talk about any concerns you may have.

Laser resurfacing treatments are highly customized procedures that will vary depending on the concerns being addressed and your desired results. Your treatment will be performed in-office by double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Huettner or the physician assistant and may take only 30 minutes or last up to two hours, depending on your treatment areas, how much correction is needed and which laser is being used.

If you want to see more dramatic improvements in the tone and texture of your skin, Dr. Huettner will likely recommend an ablative treatment with a C02 or erbium (Er:YAG) laser. Although many patients find the treatment to be very tolerable, she will begin the procedure by applying a topical anesthetic to minimize any potential discomfort. The depth and length of your treatment will affect how it feels, but ablative lasers have improved significantly over the years and now provide a more comfortable experience while continuing to deliver exceptional results. As the treatment begins, you will be given protective eyewear as Dr. Huettner aims the handheld laser at your skin. The device will emit focused laser energy that damages the top layer of skin to allow smoother, healthier skin to grow in its place. As this happens, the body’s natural healing processes will stimulate new collagen production for firmer, tighter skin long after the treatment has ended. Depending on the depth and invasiveness of the treatment, sedation and or anesthesia might be added to make the procedure more comfortable for you.

If your skin concerns are milder and don’t require an aggressive approach, Dr. Huettner will likely recommend a nonablative laser treatment. The process for nonablative resurfacing is very similar, except most patients don’t require a local anesthetic or numbing cream. When you’re ready, Dr. Huettner will use a handheld device to deliver laser energy into the deeper layers of your skin. The wavelengths produced by nonablative lasers generate heat below the skin’s surface to stimulate collagen production and cellular renewal without harming surrounding tissues. Some patients report a mild prickling or burning sensation throughout their treatment, which Dr. Huettner at Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC may alleviate with a cooling gel or other devices to ensure optimal comfort.

The results from your laser resurfacing will depend on whether your treatment was performed with an ablative or nonablative laser. Ablative lasers allow for more aggressive treatments and are the gold standard for treating severe skin conditions and deeper flaws. By removing the outer layer of skin, ablative lasers can produce dramatic results and greatly enhance skin tone and texture, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, correct discoloration and diminish the appearance of scars. Since ablative lasers also increase collagen production, you will notice plumper, firmer and smoother skin that continues to improve as you heal. Many patients achieve noticeable, long-lasting results that last for years with proper skin care after a single treatment.

Nonablative lasers work below the surface of the skin and treatments are generally more comfortable, but the results develop more slowly. In the months following your treatment, an increase in collagen production will lead to a smoother complexion and tighter, firmer skin while reducing the appearance of moderate wrinkles, blemishes and other concerns. While many patients notice an improvement after just one treatment, a series of three to six is often needed to achieve optimal results.

What is the Recovery Like?


After your laser resurfacing treatment, you will likely experience mild irritation, swelling and redness, similar to a mild sunburn. Nonablative lasers are less invasive and result in an easier recovery and less downtime, but you still may experience some of these side effects. In contrast, ablative lasers produce a longer recovery with symptoms that may also include oozing, drainage, peeling and flaking. To preserve your results and ensure a smooth recovery, Dr. Huettner will provide you with specific aftercare instructions and a direct line of communication should you have any questions or concerns during this time. At Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC, you will receive the one-on-one attention you deserve and warm, professional care at every stage of treatment. With a passion for helping patients look their best and an emphasis on client-centered care, Dr. Huettner has earned a reputation for providing each patient with a deeply personalized experience and exceptional results.

We are here to help


If you’d like to rejuvenate your skin and erase years of sun damage, acne scars and age spots from your face, laser resurfacing treatments can help. When administered by an experienced provider such as double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Franziska Huettner, laser resurfacing can greatly improve the appearance of your skin with customized treatments that enhance your natural beauty. To learn more about these treatments and how they can restore a youthful glow, contact or call Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC today at 212-495-9200.

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