In recent years, there has been a consistent push among patients towards less invasive and non-surgical treatments as they seek to avoid the cost and downtime of surgery. Often, multiple treatments are needed to really provide results that are comparable to their surgical alternative.
"Another thing we do is a non-surgical face lift where we do Thermage, Fraxel, Botox and fillers to get a look that re-volumizes the face," says Dr. Louis Cole, a cosmetic surgeon in Duluth, GA. Thermage is a skin tightening device that uses radio frequency energy to affect the collagen in your skin, causing it to re-grow. This new collagen tightens and firms the skin, making it appear more youthful. Fraxel, on the other hand, is a laser fractional resurfacing device that sends columns of light to the skin, damaging a portion of the epidermis but also leaving areas of undamaged skin between them, greatly improving the skin's ability to heal following the treatment.
1 Month Post Treatment
Dr. Cole likes to use both Fraxel and Thermage along with injectables to rejuvenate, tighten, and restore volume to the skin. He uses these treatments to create what he calls the triangle of youth. "You see, all the models have these big cheeks and narrow jaw lines. As we age, we get flat cheeks and big jowls...." He says that patients see a great improvement from this combination therapy. "We can take 10 or 15 years off somebody without doing any cutting."
Fat transfer is a popular way to add volume to the face, and new techniques for this procedure have made it a permanent solution. Dr. Cole says though that he likes the temporary nature of other fillers that allow him to update the volume placement as a patient's face changes. "We haven't used fat in the face right now, but we've used the Radiesse and the Sculptra, and we've used Juvederm or Perlane.... One reason I haven't used the fat in the face is because as the face ages, what looked good at 35 might not look good at 60."
Dr. Cole also says that patients may be tempted to have a fat transfer procedure to add volume to the face, but it may not always be the best solution in the long run. "It sounds good because you only pay once, but I think that as the face ages, things change and the results may not look as good 10 or 15 years later."