Is there a difference between Fraxel Repair and Restore?

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Are fraxel repair and fraxel restore the same thing, or am I just confused? I would love to hear any feedback or advice about if there are differences and which is the better option. Thank you!!

MJanis

F, 40, California

Fraxel Re:Pair is a fractionated CO2 laser.  This is their most aggressive but most effective laser.  It will get rid of wrinkles and tighten the skin.  The Re:Store is the Spa laser which is nonablative and less aggressive.  This is an Erbium glass laser and will require several treatments:  3 to 5 to get the optimal results.  The Re:Store will not get rid of wrinkles or loose skin.


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With laser technology constantly improving, it can be difficult to differentiate lasers from one another, particularly when they have very similar names. Both Fraxel Restore and Repair are produced by the same manufacturer, Solta Medical, and use fractionated technology. This means they treat one fraction of the skin at a time by targeting microscopic columns. The lasers differ in how they treat those targeted columns of skin.

The Restore laser is non-ablative Erbium glass laser, which means it doesn't destroy the skin. Non-ablative lasers heat the tissue and cause controlled damage. As the skin heals, these damaged columns of skin are pushed up and out as new healthy skin is layed down beneath them.

The Repair laser is ablative, and destroys the columns of skin by vaporizing and removing it at the time of treatment. The skin then heals with the support of the untreated skin between the column.

Obviously, there is a difference in downtime following treatments from each of these lasers. Restore is more gentle on the skin and recovery lasts between two and three days. Repair results in some crusting as the skin heals, and up to 10 days of downtime. The patient is unable to go to work or engage in social activities during this time. However, because Repair targets the skin at a deeper level, usually only one or two treatments are required for optimal results. Restore requires five of six treatments to achieve a similar effect.

When it comes to selecting the right laser for you, it really depends on how much downtime you can afford to take, the level of treatment you feel comfortable with, and your aesthetic goals. There is no clear better option, although many patients are very satisfied with their results following treatment with the Repair laser, as there tends to be a more marked improvement in the appearance of sun damage, fine lines and acne scars. Consulting with a board-certified dermatologist may help you determine which laser best suits your aesthetic goals.

The Fraxel Restore laser is a fractional Erbium glass laser. It operates at a 1550 wavelength, which makes it perfect for improving the appearance of scars, fine lines, and skin texture. If you’re starting to show the early signs of aging, still only have minimal wrinkles and would like to see an improvement in skin tone, Restore may represent a good option for you.

Restore also has a more evolved model, the Dual laser, which combines the 1550 wavelength laser with a non-ablative 1972 wavelength laser to target skin conditions such uneven pigmentation, sun spots and age spots. Fraxel Dual gives an enhanced improvement in skin texture and overall quality.

The Fraxel Repair laser is an ablative CO2 laser. It uses fractional laser technology which makes it safer than other carbon dioxide lasers. CO2 lasers have been regarded as the gold standard for improving the appearance of wrinkles and tightening the skin, but in the past these lasers sometimes caused scarring or hypopigmentation. Fraxel Repair avoids these issues by targeting the skin in the treatment area in columns, which means the skin surrounding the column is left intact and able to aid in healing. The recovery time is usually several days.

The Repair laser penetrates the skin to a depth of 1.6mm, which is deeper than the Restore laser can reach,  which means better results. Up to 40 to 50% of the skin’s surface can be given these ablative impulses, thus providing significant correction of surface pigment and age spots with only one session.

For patients in their late forties, fifties and sixties, Repair results in dramatic tightening of the skin and a reduction of wrinkles, the production of new collagen, and an improvement in the gravitational signs of aging. Because the laser penetrates the skin to a deeper level, however,  the healing time is lengthier, with patients usually requiring a week on average before they can resume work and everyday activities.

When it comes to deciding which option will better meet your needs, you need to take into consideration the skin conditions you would like to address, their severity, and how much downtime you are willing to take following treatments. A board-certified dermatologist can help you determine which Fraxel laser resurfacing treatment will be most suitable.

Fraxel Repair and Fraxel Restore are FDA-approved fractional laser systems. Fractional lasers treat only a fraction of the skin's surface, allowing for more rapid healing and minimal downtime after skin resurfacing.

Fraxel Restore was the first Fraxel laser released. Fraxel Restore is a non-ablative laser, which was initially developed for the treatment of acne scars and melasma. It works by heating up tissue so the skin lays down new collagen. Patients usually require several days of recovery following treatment. Depending on the depth of textural irregularity in the skin, sometimes more treatments are required. Some patients will notice an improvement after two Restore sessions, while others may require between four and six treatments. Because the treatment is quite mild, it may take up to six months to see your final results.

Fraxel Repair is a CO2 laser. This laser is ablative and performs the destruction and removal of unwanted tissue through a vaporization technique. During one Fraxel Repair session, millions of microscopic cylinders of damaged skin and abnormal collagen are removed. The skin shrinks significantly, new skin is laid down and collagen is produced, resulting in skin tightening and reduction of wrinkles. With the use of the stainless steel eye shields, the Repair laser can also be used around the eyes to accomplish eyelid tightening.

Repair is ideal for targeting surface pigmentation, age spots and deep lines, so it may be more beneficial for older patients, or those with more visible signs of aging. Patients with red skin due to sun damage see a marked improvement because of coagulation of the capillaries by the CO2 laser. A single treatment is usually sufficient for most patients, but as the healing process is longer than Fraxel Restore, approximately seven days of recovery is needed. Fraxel Repair provides immediate results that improve over time.

Fraxel Repair is also slightly more uncomfortable than Fraxel Restore, but any discomfort can be alleviated with topical anesthetics, oral and/or injectable analgesics. Most individuals are good candidates for Fraxel Repair, with the exception of African or African American patients who may experience an increased incidence of postoperative hyperpigmentation.

Fraxel repair and restore are indeed different.  One is a dual device (Re:Store) that is designed for maintenance and delivers treatment over multiple visits (3 to 5 usually).  The other (Re:Pair) is a single wavelength device that is more aggressive in removing wrinkles and tightening the skin, but also has a much longer recovery.