So let me just say this, as of yet I am no longer a huge fan of lasers. Initially, I had some creepiness and fine lines under my eyes and my esthetician raved about a laser procedure called “mixto” which is a CO2 laser. I trusted her and really did not understand the significance but I went for it. After the first treatment, I was a HUGE fan. OMG lasers are it. Well…..I let some time go by then I got greedy. Being only 30 years old I really did not understand the significance of CO2 or how serious or PERMANENT it could be. I was starting an endodontic residency and knew that I would be short on money for skin care, so why not go big? I had a friend who is an OCCULOPLASTIC SURGEON who was supposedly specializing in this procedure. Anyways, she never guided me otherwise and in fact, told me it was a great idea! So I got the treatment….. Instead of the downtime of a few days like my first, it was a downtime of 2 weeks. This is for MINOR lines and smoothing mind you… It oozed, it swelled, it was awful. Well, I thought this would produce excellent results, instead after it healed I noticed that something was not right. My eyelids were hard, they were stuck down to my face, my midface was completely absent and I was convinced that I lost ALL the fat in my midface around my eyes and temples. My boyfriend told me it was all in my head, the scarring was honestly so tight that if you didn’t look at me from the side you probably couldn’t have even noticed because its not like my face even moved anymore. Not only that but I was left with hyperpigmentation just about as dark as a mole. I still hadn’t fully registered the damage at this point…I thought I was going crazy. I went back to the physician and mentioned to her that I thought something wasn’t right, that things were too tight, that I was scarring and that this was unlike the first procedure I had. She basically told me that hyperpigmentation is normal, made me buy a few products and sent me out the door. Things kept getting worse…I would look in the mirror and I did not recognize myself anymore. My eyes very tiny looking, my eyeballs protruding, when I closed my eyes there was such significant scarring that my once upturned almond eyes were now turned upside down and looked sad. I still thought maybe it was all in my head at this point so I decided to pay a visit to another occuloplastic surgeon whom I had seen prior to all of this. He took one look at me and I thought he was going to pass out, I started crying. Thats when I really knew that this wasn’t all in my head. I was burned, significantly. The pain from the tightness was starting to set in. I checked myself out of life basically, only living to suffer through my day job as a dentist and wondering all day if others noticed. I was once a very social , outgoing, happy person. This changed overnight.
All I could do while going through this was scour the internet looking for solutions. The occuloplastic surgeon that confirmed the damage is a well renowned laser expert and he basically told me, theres nothing that can be done. We can try to add filler and see if we can give the appearance of normalcy. I looked sick, I felt sick. I have never been the same.
In my search I found a Dr. Jason Emer that really stood out in his expert answers, seeming very confident. I researched him extensively, looked at every review. Pondered it, scared that it could only get worse. But I could not live with it anymore. I decided to contact the office. I live in Nashville TN and I was willing to try anything, go anywhere. I got a skype consultation and sent Dr. Emer photos. He called me. The best call of my life thus far. He simply said, your friend burned you. I wish you had contacted me sooner, there’s so much I could have done for you. Mind you it had been 8 months of ABSOLUTE hell prior to this. He confidently gave me a treatment plan and told me that he would do everything in his power to help me.
I stressed out for the next several weeks. I almost did not go. I was convinced I was not going to do anything. But he insisted when I was there that it couldn’t make it any worse. I HAD TO TRY. He was so pro while he was doing it, you could tell he knew what he was doing. They gave me products and sent me on my way. I woke up the next morning expecting to die AGAIN but surprisingly, I felt LESS pain. The discoloration really wasn’t that bad, which was surprising after my major laser debacle. Then things started to change, I saw all kinds of gross things happening…things unwinding. If you don’t know what I’m talking about theres zero percent chance you could comprehend this. Your face is literally stretching, its disgusting. Fat I thought was gone was slowly filling in and things were starting to lift. I went back to the occuloplastic surgeon in Nashville for my filler post op and didn’t tell him what I had done just to see his reaction. He was surprised to see things opening up and told me that he was ACTUALLY cautiously optimistic. But it was still bad, and it still is.
By the time I am done fixing this damage that I only spent $500 to inflict I will have paid 100x that to remedy, I still will never look the same. Maybe the only benefit will be the hopefully long term positive effects that these lasers are doing for me. But I am still terrified of them, am the most difficult scared patient, and regularly don’t sleep through the night thinking about the consequences.
My advice is, if you can avoid it, especially under the age of 35, please avoid it. If you can’t go to the best, PLEASE do not go to anyone in the literal United states besides Jason Emer. As I mentioned before I have been a TERRIBLE patient. Nothing in my life has scared me more and I feel that I am trusting him with my future. Like my life literally depends on this working. So far I have had 2 sessions of fraxel dual, aerolase, and v-beam laser WITH microneedling and PRP. The settings are absolutely irrelevant because if your doctor knows what they are doing they will always customize the settings for every patient. Dr. Emer is very smart, very professional. He is sympathetic but to the point. He has a bright future ahead of him.
The road to recovery for me is extremely long and I still spend my days just absolutely obsessing over the details. I don’t really know how I feel about the fraxel, it seems to be working for me. My experience is different though because my skin is literally burned to my underlying structures. Each treatment stimulates new skin to come through. This is going to be a lifelong process to fix but I feel confident despite how much Dr. Emer may want me to not be his patient…..I want him to be my doctor 🙂 If you have concerns and are suffering from laser damage, I know you’re reading this. I am about 4 months post my first treatment and 3 weeks post my second. I am terrified for the future, but maybe it will be great.
If you are thinking of getting into lasers, I honestly probably wouldn’t recommend it. BUT I will keep you posted on my journey. Please do yourself a favor and at least talk to Dr. Emer, he is truly talented.