Lasers vs. Facelifts

laser-faceFor those who have looked into the options for rejuvenating their face, the spectrum of anti-aging treatments can be confusing.  There are more options now than ever before.

In addition, no one treatment or technology will work for everyone.  There is no single silver bullet which will solve all your particular facial issues due to differing genetics, prior skin damage, and how your skin has been treated over the years.

In the past. the only options were primarily surgical.  Now, we have non-invasive options that include different types of lasers, fillers and Botox.

For many, I recommend a mix-and-match approach unique to their needs, which I often determine by way of individual consultations with patients.  This type of particular approach will include a number of different rejuvenating options to achieve the results you may want.

There are 3 major problems that occur with all of us as we age, which in general will require a different approach:

botox-terrorFirst, loss of facial volume.  In general, injectable therapies in the form of fillers and Botox are best for improving volume, filling in lines and smoothing wrinkles on the face.  Fillers obviously work by plumping up skin from the inside out.

Juvederm Voluma in particular has been a big step forward in the past year by specifically replacing volume lost in the cheeks.  This loss of volume acts to lift the skin even lower down in the face.

Many in their 30s and even late 20s are using these approaches as preventive measures to treat lines that they know from their family genetics will appear in the next decade or so.  This area is the reason that since 2000, Botox has been the most popular cosmetic procedure.

sunscreenSecond, changes in skin texture.  These types of changes are usually the result of multiple years of damage to the skin from external forces especially the sun.  Unfortunately, even if you have been “good” in terms of use of sunblock more recently, sun damage on the skin is a cumulative process dating back to damage you may have received even in childhood and teenage years.

For changes in skin texture and tone, lasers are usually the method of choice.  The beams of laser energy can cause effects on the skin surface to smooth the skin and to help remove pigmentation as a result of skin damage.

The laser can also exert its effects below the skin surface to tighten existing collagen and stimulate new collagen formation.  The most intense lasers such as Fraxel are most useful for the most damaged skin, treating irregular texture, pigmentation, and even scarring over a series of treatments.

Third, sagging skin.  Early stage skin sagging can be treated with Pelleve and Pellefirm, both of which use radio frequency waves to heat up existing collagen and tighten the skin surface.

pellefirm-bannerI am looking into some newer technologies to use in combination which I can recommend and use short of surgery.  I hope to have the equipment and training on these newer procedures before the end of the year and will keep you informed as they become available.

You may be surprised to hear me say the following, but in some cases, when there has been an extreme amount of sagging skin due to age and/or significant weight loss, facelift surgery may be the best option.  Even within surgery, there are different degrees of intervention available which obviously entail different recovery times, potential risks and expense.

Obviously, most patients come to see me because they want to avoid surgery or would not even consider surgery.  I will always to try to give you my best assessment of your individual needs and my best recommendation for those needs.

I have been frank with some that surgery was their best hope, especially if the expense of nonsurgical approaches was going to rival surgery.  Having had over 10 years of experience in this emerging field of aesthetic medicine,  I know the current limits and will give my opinion within that context.

In summary, there is a lot we can do at Maine Laser Skin Care that is better and safer than the surgical knife.  Call (207) 873-2158 to schedule a free consultation and I can help guide through the possibilities for you individually even if you think you “need a facelift”.  I can also give you an appropriate referral if surgery end up a best option.

About Dr. John Burke

John Burke M.D. has practiced medicine for over 25 years, and is the founding partner of MidMaine Internal Medicine. He established Maine Laser Skin Care in 2004 after devoting years to learning the latest in laser and dermatologic technology. Dr. Burke has treated patients from all over the United States. He is one of Maine's busiest practitioners in laser treatments, and in the use of Botox for upper facial lines and excessive sweating.
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