Friday, May 9th, 2014
As a general rule most plastic surgeons agree that starting early is better. But keep the procedures minimal and more frequent. This will help to maintain a NATURAL look. Find a plastic surgeon who will help you keep the procedures reasonable and appropriate. Use your own good judgement too. Stay away from “cosmetic or aesthetic” doctors who have little training, experience, or judgement and are not real plastic surgeons. Stick to board certified plastic surgeons. The best source for fully trained, board certified, ethical plastic surgeons is the American Society of Plastic Surgeons - www.plasticsurgery.org.
Chronological age is not as important as your physiological age. People develop the stigmata of aging at different times and at different rates. Fortunately, today, we have many different options to maintain a youthful appearance. Patients in their 20’s and 30’s should be using sunblock, a good skin care program, and possibly doing laser treatments. Botox and/or fillers may be helpful, but be conservative.
For most people, from 40 years on, the skin begins to sag, sun damage is more apparent, pigmentation irregularities occur, there are volume shifts and volume loss. When these factors first become apparent it is time consider more aggressive maintenance and correction. Because botox, fillers, and lasers are simple and quick they are common treatments in my office for patient who are 40+ years old. Again it is important to avoid being overdone. In my opinion, fillers do NOT cause significant lifting unless they are overdone leading to a “balloon” look. For sagging and drooping, lifting procedures are best. Ultherapy (ultrasound) is a non-surgical office procedure to tighten and lift. It is great for minimal to moderate sagging.
I am doing many more “mini face lifts”, neck lifts, and fat injections in patients in their 40‘s and 50’s than ever before. Although I still do “full” face lifts, this is usually in older patients who have not done any maintenance. Consider two 45 year old patients- one doing nothing for 15 years and then having a full face lift, the other having 2-3 mini lifts during this same 15 year period. In my opinion it is better to do 2 or 3 mini lifts over 15 years, than wait until everything is severely sagging and be forced to do a full face lift. Obviously, if you do multiple mini procedures you will look better during the 15 years. In addition, at the end of the 15 years, the patient doing minimal maintenance procedures will have a better and more natural look.
Mini lifts are very simple procedures that involve less surgery and minimal down time (usually 2-3 days). A mini lift is performed with local anesthesia or sedation. There are many options regarding the components of the min lift and possible additional procedures. I tailor my recommendations to the individual’s particular problems and preferences. My priorities are safety, keeping a natural look, and maximal improvement, in that order.
Wednesday, May 7th, 2014
For many years fillers have been injected with a syringe and multiple sticks with a small sharp needle. This was moderately uncomfortable but relatively quick, taking 5-10 minutes. The only way to decrease discomfort was to apply numbing cream or do nerve blocks. Numbing cream is messy and needs to be applied 30-60 minutes prior to the injection. The affect is variable and even at its best does not eliminate much pain for most patients. Nerve blocks, injecting regional nerves with novocaine, need to be performed 5-10 minutes before the filler injection. Most patients find doing the nerve block itself hurts more than the actual injection of filler. Both of the techniques can distort the tissue, making it more difficult for the physician to determine the amount and location of filler injection.
A number of years ago most filler manufacturers started adding numbing medicine (xylocaine) to their filler. This decreases discomfort quite a bit, but the first few needle pricks can still be felt. The numbing medicine definitely helps when the physician has to make 2nd and 3rd injections in the same spot, which is not uncommon. Patients tell me they greatly prefer the filler with the numbing medicine.
The latest advance for filler injection is the “blunt needle” technique. There is no question that this technique also significantly decreases discomfort and minimizes the risk of bruising. Only 2-4 very quick pinches are required. A tiny blunt tipped needle is threaded under the skin to deposit the filler. Because the needle is rounded at the end, not sharp, it slides around blood vessels and nerves and causes less tissue trauma than a sharp tipped needle. Discomfort is minimal and the risk of bruising is decreased. This technique is great for injecting the lip, which is an extremely sensitive area. It can also be used for cheeks, marionette lines, eyelids, and other areas of the face. Most fillers can be injected with this method, but blunt injection can not be used when the filler needs to be injected very superficially.
In my office, I use fillers with numbing medicine and the blunt needle technique whenever possible. Although we have not eliminated discomfort, it is much easier today have fillers with these newer techniques.
Thursday, October 4th, 2012
Get the best results from fillers and Botox
When done appropriately by skilled, board certified, artistically trained doctors, fillers and Botox® administered in the office are simple, safe, 10-15 minute treatments that can significantly refresh and rejuvenate the face. But be careful! Due to a high demand, all sorts of people are trying to become providers and suppliers. The Botox/filler market is a jungle with many dangers and traps. Even these simple non-surgical treatments can result in disasters when done by inappropriate and unscrupulous people.
When you are considering filler and/or Botox treatment, cost should NOT be your first priority. Your main concerns should be SAFETY and QUALITY. The doctor administering these treatments DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE. I could teach anyone to poke a needle through the skin and inject some material. Obviously there is a lot more to this then just the actual injection. Some of the major concerns are: when not to inject; what to inject; where to inject; how much to inject; what these injectables can do and what they can’t do; how to maintain a natural look; better options to achieve the best results; and how to avoid complications, just to mention a few. An injector with an artistic eye and knowledge of facial aesthetics and anatomy is essential. Stay away from untrained, unlicensed, non-medical people. If you want the best result with the least risk, look for a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon or Dermatologist to administer your fillers and Botox. Many other types of doctors, dentists and nurses may offer fillers and/or Botox in their office even though these treatments are out of their usual area of expertise. Technically this may be allowed, but their ability, training and artistic skill will vary greatly and may be severely lacking. In my opinion, medical personnel should stick to their own area of expertise and training. I wouldn’t want a Cardiologist or dentist injecting my face with fillers or Botox.
Recently, we had a patient call our office stating that she could get Botox somewhere else for $85.00. That is significantly below the “wholesale” cost of legitimate Botox. We have all heard of Botox and filler “parties” with very low cost. A red light should flash before your eyes when you hear of these situations or “offers”. Usually you get what you pay for. In addition to obvious issues like sterile technique and appropriate sterile equipment for the injection, make sure you are getting genuine, FDA approved, USA made, current products. There are cut rate products out there that may be out dated or may contain diluted material, just water, or worse- something toxic. Always ask for the name of the material you are getting. You can even request to see the box/bottle. Ask how many units (for Botox) and/or what volume (for fillers) is being used. If you only go to Board Certified Plastic Surgeons or Dermatologists you should be safe, but it is always important to be careful and informed. If something sounds too good to be true – it probably isn’t!