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Surgical Facelifts Alternatives: Fillers, Laser, Radio Frequency

Whether it’s a Fraxel, Ulthera or Thermage treatment to tighten the skin, or a filler such as Sculptra,or Radiesse to replace volume and enhance face shape; patients will have plenty of options to meet their goals.

Aging not only occurs at different rates in different individuals, but also on different areas of the body. While no one can prevent aging, there is a variety of non-invasive approaches that are becoming the preferred treatments of choice because they can ensure optimal aging by reducing the effects of volume loss, sagging skin and sinking appearance without the necessity of surgery. The face ages very specifically with a combination of bone, fat, collagen and elastin loss, which results in sagging and sinking of the skin and wrinkle formation.

Tight, firm facial skin is a distinct sign of youth, while the sagging of skin is a known sign of aging. Aging skin loses its elasticity and has difficulty bouncing back, characterized by definition loss along the jaw line, droopy eyes and cheeks, and the development of jowls. The only way to fix this problem is by tightening, with the most dramatic results being a surgical facelift. But for those that are surgery averse, there are several treatments that can provide realistically desired results. In addition, it’s possible to delay or replace an actual facelift by starting non-surgical facelift treatments early on.

1. Ulthera: Dermatologists are more and more frequently recommending Ultherapy to patients who wish to tighten loose sagging skin in the face, neck, under the chin, along the jaw line and brow. Ultherapy emits focused ultrasound energy below the skin’s surface to lift the layers, essentially tightening and smoothing out wrinkles and sagging skin.

The ability to treat the skin’s foundation without disrupting the outer layer, as well as creating underlying support from thin side out makes Ultherapy one of the most innovative skin-tightening treatments available today. This 60 to 90-minute treatment will progressively show results two to three months afterwards and continued improvements for up to six months. Ultrasound’s defining feature is its ability to deliver deep treatment through the skin and subcutaneous tissue, which is the deepest layer of the skin and where the connective and elastic tissue lies.

2. Thermage is another effective non-invasive treatment to smooth, tighten and contour the skin into a more natural and youthful appearing skin. A smooth hand piece delivers treatment with radio frequency technology, which safely heats the deep layers of skin and stimulates collagen while also promoting new collagen growth. The new and tightened collagen will strengthen and tighten the skin’s foundation into a younger face, and results will improve over a two to six month time period gradually following a single treatment session.

3. Fraxel: Another treatment option which will help smooth out wrinkles is fractional resurfacing with Fraxel laser, which will both tighten and smooth out wrinkles without surgery. It is also an effective treatment for discoloration, sun damage, age spots, acne and surgical scars. Dr. Rokhsar was involved in the development of the Fraxel laser and worked with the prototype in 2003.

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4. Fillers: For those that are surgery averse but wish they could slow down the aging process, there is a wide variety of treatments to treat sinking skin such as simple filler injections. Fillers are specifically designed injectable substances used to replace lost volume due to aging. Each filler is designed for each particular cosmetic goal, whether it’s to treat hollowed-out under eye bags, deep wrinkles, thin lips, sagging jowls or flattening cheeks.

Sculptra is made of natural, plant-derived acids that is used to restore volume and stimulate collage in deeper layers of the skin, which will allow a gradual and natural enhancement of your skin. Radiesse is a different filler that has an additional advantage to stimulating the skin to produce collagen. It’s made of calcium spheres that float in a gel to keep skin firm and youthful looking, which make it a prime choice for enhancing face shape.

For filling in under-eye bags and lip enhancements, Juvederm and Restylane are both effective fillers that will provide natural looking, smooth looking results. Juvederm is a smooth gel made out of hyaluronic acid, a natural substance that the body makes to maintain skin water content, that lifts the skin and reduces age sinking skin. Restylane uses the same specially formulated clear gel to visibly enhance volume and reduce facial wrinkles and folds.

Fillers are ultimately designed for patients who are ambivalent about a surgical facelift, for those would rather improve their appearance with a non-invasive approach, or for the busy individual who doesn’t have time for long procedures or the recovery time that follows. Smooth cheeks and fresh faces are attainable and don’t have to be lost to older age and the natural effects of time. Technology has come a long way for cosmetic treatments, and non-surgical options are increasingly in demand because of their promising youth replenishing effects.

Dr. Rokhsar, is the leading authority in laser surgery and non-invasive techniques, Dr. Rokhsar, has extensive training and expertise in the field of skin tightening and wrinkle reduction.

About author - Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD, FAACS, is the founder and medical director of the New York Cosmetic, Skin, & Laser Surgery Center. Dr. Rokhsar is a graduate of Harvard College and NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Rokhsar is double board certified in dermatology and micrographic dermatologic surgery, being one of the few select dermatologists in the country who is also fellowship trained in laser surgery. A researcher and innovator, Dr. Rokhsar is the creator of the non-surgical nose job and has been instrumental in the research and development of laser systems such as the Fraxel, CO2, Mirady, Vbeam, Themitight, and Ulthera devices. An Associate Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC, Dr. Rokhsar actively teaches the cosmetic dermatology clinic to the resident at Mount Sinai. An expert injector of fillers, and a trainer for many companies, patients fly in from around the world to see Dr. Rokhsar in his Garden City and Manhattan offices in New York.

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