Fillers vs. Facelifts: Fillers Are Winning

juvederm_filler_treatmentAt a recent laser conference in Boston, I met up with several colleagues in this area of aesthetic medicine who also happen to be plastic surgeons.  Many of them confided in me that they are playing catch-up trying to learn more about non-invasive or minimally invasive procedures due to high consumer demand.

They noted that three particular factors are driving this demand.  Such factors include advances in laser and other energy technologies, widespread coverage in the media, and resultant increases in consumer awareness.

While facelifts will probably always be needed, they are definitely being viewed as further down the list of options, if not the very last resort.  There are patients who have poor skin elasticity, significant jowls, and excessive laxity of the facial skin due to age and/or skin damage who will still need a surgical solution.

Many new patients cite the same reasons for the choice of fillers first before going the surgical route:

  • Expense– Fillers are much less expensive in upfront costs with various levels of improvement able to be performed depending on the person’s budget.  As long as a patient is educated with realistic expectations, fillers can improve targeted areas.  Patients also have the option of further improving the same treated area in a graduated way over time if desired, thereby spreading the cost over a longer period of time.
  • man_on_laptopDowntime– With work and busy modern lifestyles, most patients want the required downtime from any procedure to be minimal.  I frequently have patients who come in for fillers and then leave my office and go back to work, go out shopping, or eat, with minimal signs of a procedure being done.  Obviously, surgical recovery times are much longer, ranging from days to weeks depending on the extent of the surgical technique used.
  • Natural Look– Almost every person with whom I consult tells me that they don’t want to look like they have “had work done”.  They don’t want to look too tight or plastic.  They want to look less tired, more well-rested, and a younger version of their current age.  Fillers can provide the subtle look of improvement, but frequently cannot be detected.
  • Anesthesia Risk– There is always some risk involved in any surgical procedures, and some of that risk is from the amount of anesthesia needed.  Although, if the procedure is performed by board certified surgeons in an accredited facility or hospital, the rate of serious risk is small but real.  In the case of fillers, we use a topical numbing cream that works well with virtually no risk.  The Juvederm and Voluma fillers have a small amount of lidocaine or Novacaine included within their formulas, which adds to comfort with advantages of local versus general anesthesia.

Again, there are certainly people who will still need the surgical facelift.  However, fillers can achieve many of the goals of the surgical approach with less downtime, expense and risk while maintaining a natural look.

vampire-facelift-adI have also been very excited by the results I am seeing in patients who have had the Vampire Facelift, which combines fillers with the stimulatory effects of platelet-rich plasma (PRP).  Not only does this procedure show a natural improvement initially, but it also continues to improve over the next 3 months as collagen stimulation by growth factors and stem cells persists under the treated skin.

While facial fillers are not a panacea, they can help a lot.  The technology on which they are based continues to improve year after year.

Juvederm03I recently met with our regional Allergan representative who markets the iconic brands of Botox, Juvederm and Voluma.  The use of the aforementioned products at Maine Laser Skin Care has increased over 50% from this same point last year!

Many patients are finding my office through the web, but word-of-mouth is also a powerful driver.  Very satisfied filler-users are telling their friends, relatives, and co-workers whom desire the same results.

As always, every person is different with different needs. wants and expectations.  An in-office consultation with photos allows us to analyze the face and make recommendations as to the best approach to address your individual needs.

Sometimes patients come in thinking they need fillers, when Botox, lasers or other treatments may be better in achieving their goals.  Simply call us at (207) 873-2158 to schedule a free confidential consultation to discuss your needs and options.


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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