Surgical Procedures for Rosacea
If your rosacea has caused unsightly redness, enlarged blood vessels, and rhinophyma (bulbous nose), then procedures such as laser surgery, electrosurgery, or dermabrasion may be treatment options to consider. Laser surgery may result in improved skin appearance with little scarring or damage. If you have rhinophyma, laser and other surgical methods may help reduce the size of the nose and improve your appearance. Since rosacea cannot be cured, further surgical treatment may be required at a later time.
For Redness, Pimples, and Red Blood Vessels
After medical therapy removes the redness, bumps, and pimples, small red blood vessels (telangiectasia) may become more visible. In most cases, a surgical device called a pulse dye laser can be used to erase these visible blood vessels without pain or discomfort. Heat from the laser’s energy causes the blood vessels to disintegrate. The short pulses ensure that only the abnormal blood vessels are targeted, thus reducing or eliminating the chance of damage to surrounding facial tissue. Other lasers such as a KTP or long-pulse Nd:YAG laser or an intense-pulse light device may also be used.
A recent study of laser therapy for rosacea found that the procedure substantially reduced visible blood vessels and helped reduce redness and flushing after an average of three treatments. After the procedure, you may experience redness, swelling, and soreness within the first 12 to 24 hours. You may also have some peeling, similar to that of sunburn, and some bruising under the skin that lasts from 5 to 10 days. Visible blood vessels disappear in one to three weeks.
For Rhinophyma (Bulbous Nose)
Rhinophyma, the unsightly overgrowth of tissue on the nose, can also be corrected with pulse dye laser. If necessary, a CO 2 or Erbium:YAG laser can be used as a bloodless scalpel to recontour the nose. Early treatment often shrinks the nose and helps prevent further development of the condition.
Electrosurgery may be used to treat small red blood vessels (telangiectasia). In this procedure, an electrical "spark" is applied through a tiny needle electrode to coagulate each tiny vessel from its center. This procedure is quick and only mildly painful. It is a good method if you have only one or very few small red vessels. A small crusting sore follows and heals quickly with good results.
American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org/default.htm .
Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology . McGraw-Hill; 2000.
National Rosacea Society website. Available at: http://www.rosacea.org/index.php .
Last reviewed February 2009 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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