What does “no downtime” really mean?

What does “no downtime” really mean?

Posted on October 29, 2013

How often do you hear about “no recovery” or “lunchtime” treatments when reading about lasers, peels and other treatments in the media?  Until recently, there was no accepted definition for these terms. What does “minimal recovery” really mean – minimal to whom, the doctor, or to you?

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) has developed a set of standardized definitions that consumers and industry can use, when talking about issues like downtime, bruising, redness, swelling and pain.  We’re trying to encourage the cosmetic laser industry to adopt and use these terms in a consistent and honest way, so that consumers can really fully understand what they’re choosing, and can compare treatments while shopping around.


Downtime –the expected time to return to normal lifestyle

Essentially None: less than 24 hours

Minimal: 24-72 hours

Moderate: 3-7 days

Significant: more than 7 days


Bruising – visible on the skin without concealer

Essentially None: no bruising but there may be an immediate change in skin tone

Minimal: less than one week

Moderate: 1-2 weeks

Significant: more than 2 weeks


Redness –visible without concealer

Essentially None: returns to normal (pretreatment or improved) in less than 24 hours

Minimal: 1-3 days

Moderate: 4-7 days

Significant: more than 7 days


Swelling –obvious swelling

Essentially None: less than 3 days

Minimal: 3-7 days

Moderate: 8-14 days

Significant: > 14 days


Pain –significant discomfort associated with the treatment

Essentially None: no anesthesia or medication is needed except over the                                      counter  medication

Minimal: requires pretreatment with oral prescription medication, topical anesthetic agents                or skin cooling and/or post-treatment prescriptions for pain management.

Moderate: same as minimal but with local anesthesia (injections)

Significant: same as minimal but with IV sedation or general anesthesia


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