New procedure gets rid of acne scars in one treatment

Kevin Fitzsimmons is 48 years old and has been dealing with acne for as long as he can remember.

“Before I was 10 years old, I had acne, and still to this day,” said Fitzsimmons, who lives in Queens, N.Y.

Like most acne sufferers, Fitzsimmons tried everything from topical creams to antibiotics in order to control the problem.

He was left with deep scars on his face, which seemed to get worse as he got older.

“I have less white heads, the bumps,” he said. “There’s far less than just a few years ago -- but it’s to the point where it doesn’t really bother me as much. Now, I’d really like to get rid of the scars.”

Fitzsimmons sought the help of Dr. Eric Schweiger, a New York City-based dermatologist, who created a new laser procedure to erase the facial depressions left behind by acne.

It’s called focal acne scar treatment – or the F.A.S.T. technique.

"With the new laser, we're treating a fraction of the skin - and we're finding even though we're only treating 15-20 percent of the surface area, we're actually getting the same results as if we were treating 100 percent,” said Schweiger, founder of Schweiger Dermatology. “But we're not having the down time, and we're not having the side effects."

About 45 minutes after applying a numbing cream to Fitzsimmons’ face, Schweiger used the fractional CO2 laser to target his deepest scars.

"It works by sending heat down into the dermis, which can stimulate new collagen to fill in lines or wrinkles or scarring,” Schweiger said. “And what we're doing instead, is using fractional CO2 and very high strength, while at the same time we're leaving other areas of the skin unharmed."

Just like the name implies, the procedure is fast - only taking about 15 minutes. But since the procedure is considered cosmetic, it is not covered by insurance.

Patients only need one treatment, which costs $2,500, and they can return to work within a week.

A common side effect is redness, which fades over time – but Schweiger said the results are worth it.

"With this new procedure, patients are just really excited,” Schweiger said. “They get fast results, and they're happy; and a month later it's kind of changing their lives."

For busy patients who don’t have the time to stop into the office, they can do a photo consult to see if they are a good candidate for the F.A.S.T. procedure. Patients can email a photo of their scarring to Schweiger, who personally reviews it and emails them with feedback about whether or not they are a good candidate for F.A.S.T.

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