Cosmetic surgery satisfaction declines with time, Stanford research finds

STANFORD, Calif. - Patients who undergo laser resurfacing to help smooth their complexions are generally satisfied with the results of the procedure, though their satisfaction levels tend to decline over time, according to a study by a Stanford University Medical Center researcher.

The study included 27 patients - both men and women - who were queried at various stages within 30 months after their laser surgery procedure, designed to help smooth wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, minimize scarring from acne and correct uneven skin tone resulting from sun damage.

Though much has been written on laser resurfacing from a clinicians' perspective, the study is thought to be the first to focus on after-the-fact patient perceptions, said Sonia Batra, MD, chief resident in dermatology at Stanford and first author on the study which appeared in the October issue of the Archives of Dermatology. "We found that while patient satisfaction overall remains quite high, it's important to note that the percent of patients who felt it met their expectations declined over the 30 months," Batra said.

Within three months of the procedure, 23 patients (85 percent of the study group) said it met their expectations. By 30 months, however, only 13 patients (54 percent) said they felt this was still the case.

Laser resurfacing is a common procedure popularized in the last decade with the advent of the carbon dioxide and more recently, the erbium:YAG lasers. During the outpatient procedure, doctors apply short bursts of laser energy to remove the top layer of skin and stimulate the underlying cells, or collagen, that provide support to the skin. Patients are sedated though remain awake during the procedure, which requires about a two-week recuperation period, Batra said.

Batra became interested in patient satisfaction with the technique while a medical student at Harvard, musing one day with a mentor, Jeffrey S. Dover, MD, about the high

Contact: Ruthann Richter
Stanford University Medical Center

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