Non Surgical Face Lifting: Is the Syringe Mightier than the Scalpel?
The goal of facial enhancement is always to mimic natural beauty and youth. With the advances of fillers, botox and non-surgical skin tightening devices it is no surprise why they are so popular. The surgical facelift has been around for more than 100 years however, newer techniques and approaches, such as blending and filling (more than just pulling), have continuously improved the overall results.
The aging of the face results from several factors including loss of volume in the soft tissue and skeleton causing sagging and retrusion of the soft tissues. The non-surgical approach for natural facial rejuvenation is tri-fold:
The goal of using fillers for rejuvenation is to restore the volume and natural balance that exists in the youthful face. The current problem that we are seeing in addition to people looking too pulled from aggressive face lifts in the past, is patients who can look too inflated. Most of the fillers can last anywhere from 6 months even up to 2 years.
Neurotoxins (Botox, Dysport, Xeomin) improve facial aesthetics by softening certain wrinkles around your eyes (crow’s feet), glabella (between the eyebrows), forehead (horizontal lines), neck (bands), around the mouth (marionette and smokers lines) and even balancing the brow area. They usually will last from 4-6 months.
Ultherapy or Micro Focused Ultra Sound differs from other skin tightening devices because it delivers energy to the deeper tissues creating a more effective tightening and lift of the face, brow, neck and smoothing the décolletage or central area. The energy delivered breaks up the old collagen fibers and stimulates new collagen production at different depths. The results are generally noticeable at 6-12 weeks and continue to improve for up to 6 months. Contrary to neurotoxins and fillers, the effect of this tightening can be very long lasting, however we do continue to age. This technology is very effective in treating the mid-thirties to late forties patient who wants to keep their looks and delay surgery and also the post face lift patient after surgery when they have seen some normal tissue relaxation that occurs. Various lasers work by improving the texture and surface of the skin. Radiofrequency devices stimulate tightening but only treat the superficial layers.
As plastic surgeons we believe that the facelift still is the gold standard to which every other treatment that aspires to restore natural facial rejuvenation should be compared. However the non-surgical approach using a combination of the 3 approaches discussed above can be very effective in treating not only the younger patient who wants to retain their looks for years to come but also the post-facelift patient (as adjunct treatment), and also the older patient who does not desire or cannot have surgery.
By Andrés G. Sarraga MD FACS
Michael D Storch MD FACS