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Are You Ready for a Face Lift? Amazing Reasons Why The Answer Could Be “No”

Jan 20, 2016 02:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
By Lisa J. Gotto

Maybe back in the grand era of the soap opera maven that answer would have been “yes,” but certainly not now. So while aging and its character lines, dark spots, and looser skin may be inevitable, a traditional facelift may not have to be in the cards for you; at least not yet.

Recently, we spoke with Dr. Bryan Ambro of Annapolis Facial Plastic Surgery and he reviewed the latest options that may have you re-thinking the definition of the term “facelift” altogether.

As Dr. Ambro explains it, many of the things that start making us look older, are things that a traditional facelift doesn’t really address anyway.

“What you most associate with a youthful face is volume,” Dr. Ambro says. Basically, as he explains it, our faces are comprised of four layers: the skin (or outermost layer), fat, muscle, and then the boney or skeletal aspect of the face.

Volume issues can be addressed by treating several of the layers mentioned; the skin and fat layers, as well as the boney foundation. So in the days prior to injection-based and laser treatments, the facelift was the main tool in a plastic surgeon’s medical bag. This tool, however, is as invasive as it comes when you consider treatment options.

In addition to a line of basic, non-surgical treatments that you are probably already familiar with, like Botox, botulinum toxin, Dr. Ambro reports that there are exciting advancements in the way lasers and injections are now used to treat what many people associate with aging such as lines, folds, and wrinkles.

Beyond Botox

Within the realm of injectable treatments, for instance, we have expanded well beyond Botox, which is well known for disabling or paralyzing certain muscles in the face, especially those located on the forehead that create wrinkles.

In the forefront of what is new when it comes to treatments delivered via injection are treatments that stimulate the production of naturally occurring age-fighters in the body. A great example of this, says Dr. Ambro, is a bio-stimulatory dermal filler called Sculptra (Sculptra Aesthetic®).

Sculptra, a volume booster, is a synthetic material called poly-L-lactic acid or PLLA. This is the same substance used for some types of dissolvable surgical stitches, so the body safely absorbs it. Once injected, its microparticles work deep within the skin to stimulate collagen and over time it actually helps volumize the face.

“There are three reasons why clients really like Sculptra®,” says Dr. Ambro. They like that their own collagen is being produced, that it’s a gradual change, and that the results can last up to two years.”

A complete treatment course of Sculptra is three sessions that are scheduled six weeks apart to gradually restore volume over that four-month period.

Dr. Ambro says clients can now basically weigh their options between having a newer procedure like Sculptura done or having a more invasive fat transfer procedure done to address volume issues. The fat transfer process first requires liposuction to harvest fat from another area of the body; the fat then needs to purified before it can be grafted onto the face. While it has the added downside of more downtime, it has the benefit of potentially lasting up to ten years.


Seeing the Light

Practitioners and patients alike have seen the benefits of various laser treatments over the last couple of decades. Laser treatments vary in intensity, what they treat, and recovery times. They range anywhere from Intense Pulse Light therapies or IPL to the more aggressive ablative procedures that completely resurface the skin and can require significant downtime.

Now the Sciton® ProFractional laser and a treatment called Forever Young BBL is providing a middle ground and addresses a wider variety of skin conditions including those that give away our age the most: fine lines, wrinkles and sun spots, says Dr. Ambro. It also addresses dilated facial blood vessels, acne scars, and removes unwanted hair.

What makes this laser different, says Dr. Ambro, are the thousands of micro-channels it creates deep within the top two layers of the skin; delivering the laser’s energy this deep helps kick your skin’s own collagen into high gear. This treatment combines the ability of ablative procedures to get deep within the skin, but offers the less invasive advantage of an IPL or BBL treatment.

“Patients experience minimal downtime with maximum results,” Dr. Ambro adds.

Prior to the procedure, a numbing agent will be applied to your skin. The most common description of the sensation given by those who have undergone a laser procedure is that it feels like a series of rubber band snaps. Afterward, you may feel a mild burning or stinging in the treatment area for about an hour. Any minimal swelling that occurs should resolve itself within two to three days.

A series of three treatments spaced about a month apart is the protocol for administration of the profractional laser in BBL Forever Young procedures.

So, whether you choose one of these procedures, or opt for a facelift in the future, you can be sure this exciting and beautiful time we live in offers more options than ever when it comes to looking your best.