Second Quarter 2008, Volume 22, Number 2

Improving your looks comes in varying degrees, from non-invasive to surgery


Confused about form or function? Why not do it for both?

Improving your looks comes in varying degrees, from non-invasive to surgery

Ask the Surgeon / Health Tip / What’s New

Get ready to expose your neck; first, reduce neckbands and jowls

Sometimes you are looking for a subtle improvement of a facial feature. People may notice you look good, but cannot pinpoint what you have done. Other times, you are looking for a major change that requires a major surgery—you have researched, saved, and planned for a procedure that you know will improve the quality of your life significantly. Of course, there are plenty of procedures along the continuum from non-invasive to major surgery. What are your options? The following overview of procedures and techniques will allow you to see what may benefit you based on the level of improvement you are seeking.

Non-Invasive Methods
If you are looking to improve the appearance of your skin tone, fine lines, sun damage, age spots, acne, and other skin ailments, a customized skin care regime is a great place to start. There are many products available over- the-counter; the key is knowing which one is going to work best for you—only your physician can evaluate your skin and match it to the right product to meet your needs. Meet with your facial plastic surgeon; besides providing expertise, the physician has access to skin care products of higher concentrations, which can be more effective than those found at retail stores. In addition, skin care products provided by or on the recommendation of your physician are most often the most technologi- cally researched formulations available today.

A relatively new treatment called IPL (intense pulsed light) photorejuvenation is a non- invasive laser treatment that does not damage the outer layers of the dermis. There is no downtime. IPL improves blemishes, sun damage, birthmarks, broken capillaries, vascular lesions, melasma, and more. It provides gradual improvement, so multiple treatments may be necessary in order to achieve the desired results.

Minimally Invasive Procedures
Many minimally invasive procedures work to delay the aging process with treatments such as microdermabrasion, light chemical peels (glycolic, lactic, and fruit acid), injectible fillers, and BOTOX®. Microdermabrasion and light chemical peels can revitalize and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. The top layers of damaged skin are removed and a fresh, supple layer emerges. Injectible fillers can be used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles or to plump up areas (e.g., lips). The popular BOTOX® is used to reduce the deep furrows between the eyebrows, crow’s feet, and marionette lines. The results are visible in a few days and last up to four months. All of these procedures are performed in an office setting with minimal discomfort and recovery.

Some patients seek minimally invasive procedures as a way to postpone an extensive procedure—they get enhancements without the downtime. The disadvantage is that the improvements may not be as significant and may not last as long. Regardless, for busy people who want to look and feel their best, minimally invasive procedures can be very attractive.

Cosmetic Surgery
Facial plastic and reconstructive surgery offers the opportunity to reconstruct, rebuild, and enhance facial features. Even with surgery, there are varying degrees of procedures depending on the individual’s needs. For example, if a patient in her 40s would like to reduce excess skin via a facelift, her surgeon may recommend a mini-lift.

This procedure removes small amounts of excess skin with limited incisions and limited undermining of the skin. A woman in her 50s may be a good candidate for a standard facelift (extended SMAS); while a woman in her 60s may benefit from the most extensive facelift called the deep plane facelift. This procedure elevates and tightens the muscle and tissue underneath the skin, then removes excess sagging skin and redrapes it.

Implants in the lips, cheeks, and chin can restore a youthful appearance and improve your profile. Rhinoplasty, surgery of the nose, can reduce a bump, shorten a drooping tip, straighten a crooked nose, etc. Blepharoplasty, eyelid surgery, removes excess sagging skin from above or below the eye; it can also reduce the appearance of wrinkles around the eyes. Necklifts and browlifts are similar to facelifts in that they reduce the skin that has lost its elasticity and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Otoplasty, ear surgery, is performed to reshape the ears, often minimizing the apparent prominence of the ears.

All invasive procedures have long-lasting results; this is the main advantage over the non- invasive and minimally invasive procedures. !