Alternatives to Plastic Surgery
Nonsurgical Techniques to Slow Down the Aging Process
Many people, men and women alike, are interested only in improving the areas of their bodies which are readily visible in a social or work setting i.e. face, neck, hands and arms. Also, many of these people, for various reasons, do not wish to undergo a surgical procedures, and so avail themselves of the many types of noninvasive procedures accessible today.
Botox has been around for many years, and was approved for use in plastic surgery approximately 15 years ago. The furrows of the brow, top of the nose and crow’s feet areas are prime targets for Botox use in plastic surgery practices, as within just a few days, these wrinkles will disappear. It generally takes a greater amount of Botox in men than in women, and generally will last longer in women than in men, usually an average of 3 to 6 months. Some people feel that the longer period of time one receives Botox, the longer it lasts, indicating less time between visits to your plastic surgeon. Botox acts as a relaxing effect on the muscle, thereby allowing the areas of the brow and crow’s feet to smooth out, as the Botox takes effect.
As we mature, the natural fat we have in our face is often atrophied, or reabsorbed by the body, and Restylane or Juvederm is a gel which is used to fill out the deep depressions which run from the base of the nose to the lips, as well as plumping up the lips themselves. The area to be filled is generally first numbed with a local anesthetic, and the Restylane is then injected into the area to be filled out. Restylane lasts for approximately 3 to 8 months.
Taking one’s own fat and injecting it into areas of depression or defects anywhere on the body, into areas of the face where fat has atrophied, as with Restylane into the depressions on either side of the nose, as well as into the lips, has been around for many years. One does not know how quickly one’s own fat may be reabsorbed back into the body, as this is very individual, and I have had several patients who underwent fat grafting to the lips and nasolabial fold areas approximately 5 years ago, and they have retained this almost 100% during this time. Others, however, have experienced a faster reabsorption rate. Fat grafting is a very viable procedure, in that it will fill out areas which have lost volume due to aging, and the procedure itself lasts much longer than other filler procedures. The downside of this procedure, compared to Restylane or other fillers, is that, depending on the amount of fat to be extracted and reinjected, you may lose a few days from work or social activities. Fat grafting can be done on any area of the body, including the face, hands and buttocks.
There are several types of lasers available for removal of fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentary changes and even hair. Down-time for laser resurfacing can be as little as one week, and as long as 2 weeks, and one must be very cautious about sun exposure after laser resurfacing. Depending on the type of laser used, and the depth and location of the fine lines and wrinkles, will dictate the type of laser used. With the advent of the lasers, TCA, phenol peels and dermabrasion are not utilized as much as they were in the past.