The New Facial Rejuvenation Procedures: Surgical Vs. Non-Surgical Options
The Three Ways of Facial Aging – Facial aging has always been associated with the visual signs of sagging skin. For decades, the favored treatment of this sagging skin has been a facelift. When aging recurred, another facelift was done, and so on. After a second or third facelift, the individual no longer looked natural, and instead had a “tight or pulled” appearance. Over the last 10 years, there has been a general “awakening” and acknowledgment among plastic surgeons as to how aging really occurs. Aging in the face occurs in three ways:
1. There is a loss of fat or volume in the face.
2. There is photo damage from the sun’s harmful rays
3. There develops an abundance of hanging excess skin.
So what do each of these components look like?
— Loss of fat or volume in the face leaves a sallow, hollow or deflated appearance. Areas most commonly affected by fat loss are the tear trough (the groove that forms below the lower eyelid fat bag), the cheeks, temples, lips and upper eyelids.
— Photo damage is caused by solar radiation. The sun’s radiating rays physically break the elastic fibers in the skin and damage the DNA of the skin causing cells to grow with abnormal coloration (sun spots and freckles) or even to develop skin cancer. Those who have spent too much time in the sun will manifest the sun damage as fine wrinkles around the eyes and lips, sun spots and freckles, and a dull leathery texture to the skin.
— Aging, the sagging skin, is seen as large hanging bags under the eyes, eyebrows which hang so low as to hood the eyes, hanging jowls, and loose skinned necks.
From the 1960’s through the 1990’s, each of these three distinct signs of aging was solved with one procedure: the facelift. At the time, this procedure was complex and had a long recovery time. Newer “mini-lift” techniques were then developed which gave the same or better results than a traditional facelift with less risk and recovery time. In more recent years non-surgical facial procedures have become very popular. The results of these office procedures are more subtle and far less expensive than a facelift and there is minimal downtime. Anyone who has looked into these new procedures knows that the options seem endless – Botox, fillers, peels, lasers, Thermage, SilkPeel etc…. the list goes on. The big question is, how do you choose?
Botox, Fillers and Volumising– If an individual has a gaunt, sallow face, then deep fillers or “volumizers” are an appropriate choice. These include fillers such as Sculptra, Juvederm and Restylane. These fillers are used in a non-traditional way to make the face look fuller and more youthful i.e. instead of just “plumping” a specific wrinkle or crease, the fillers are injected deeply to globally “lift” the deep tissues, fat and skin of the face. This is like blowing air back into a deflated balloon, making it look more taut and firm.
Sculptra is a synthetic injectable material known as poly-L-lactic acid. Once this bio-stimulator is injected below the surface of the skin, it helps your body regenerate its own collagen. Sculptra is used to plump up larger surfaces of the skin, creating an overall smooth appearance without any scarring. Its effect will last two to three years.
Botox is a muscle relaxer and is not a filler. Botox is best at treating expression lines because it relaxes the muscles underneath the wrinkle site, therefore relaxing or eliminating the wrinkle. Botox is also the only product that prevents new wrinkles and makes sure that current wrinkles don’t deepen.
The product or combination of products you choose is dependent on what you want to correct, how long you want your results to last, and how much you are willing to spend. A trained plastic surgeon can guide you through the myriad of options.
Laser Skin Resurfacing for Photo Damage -To treat the effects of too much time spent in the sun (ie. freckles, sun spots, leathery skin texture), the options include chemical peels, laser peels, SilkPeel dermabrasion, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), Photodynamic Therapy or a combination of these options.
One of the more interesting laser treatments is called Fractionated Laser Treatment, i.e. the Sciton Profractional Laser. This treatment performed under a topical anesthetic produces thousands of tiny laser columns that reach deep beneath your skin. These lasers can minimise unwanted pigmentation and cause new collagen growth and tightening within the dermis. Because the laser beams are fractionated, i.e. hundreds of tiny beams instead of one large one, they leave skin in between laser spots unaffected and intact. This allows the skin to heal much faster than with a traditional laser treatment. Therefore, the visible side effects are much less intense and there is less downtime.
A New Kind of Surgical Face Lift-If loose or excess skin and/or excess fat of the face or neck is your main concern, the best option for you may be a surgical facelift. Advancements in facelift techniques now allow plastic surgeons to work faster, more safely and in some cases less expensively. With this new kind of facelift, smaller incisions are made which not only result in less swelling but also in less visible scarring. Depending on the patient and the procedure they are having done, the anesthesia can be general (asleep) or local (“freezing”). These new “mini lift” procedures are most often done as a day surgery and patients can usually return to work or social activities in 10 – 14 days.
Facial rejuvenation in 2010 offers an incredible variety of safe and effective options, with even more choices on the horizon. The choice of fillers, lasers or lifts will depend on your esthetic goals, your timeline and your budget. In order to best achieve your goals, make sure that your doctor has the qualifications and experience to offer you all of these different options. Your results should not be limited by your doctor’s training. At your consultation, be prepared with a list of questions and keep an open mind. Remember that no single treatment can by itself treat sun damage, volume loss and sagging. The best results usually require a combination approach.
Disclaimer: This blog or article is for information purpose only, and should not be treated a professional advise or price protection guarantee.