The scar is cleaned and marked with a pen. Often a local or topical anesthetic is used to numb the area before treatment. Some patients are given a sedative or anti-anxiety medicine to relax. Patients being treated for facial scarring may need to wear goggles to prevent eye damage by the laser. Wet towels will be placed around the treatment area to absorb excess laser pulses. The laser is passed over the skin several times. In between passes, the scar is wiped with water or a saline solution to cool the skin.
The process may sting or burn slightly. Some patients feel a snapping sensation against their skin. Little or no bleeding occurs in most cases, although severely damaged skin may bleed. When the treatment is finished, the area is covered with a clean dressing or ointment.