Northern Virginia & Maryland patients seeking cosmetic options for the face typically are overwhelmed by the many nonsurgical and surgical options. Metropolitan DC area dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and facial plastic surgeons are now able to offer non-surgical options that weren’t available years ago, including laser treatments, Botox Cosmetic, fat injections, and facial fillers. Naturally, many would like to avoid plastic surgery on the neck or face and are considering non-surgical facial rejuvenation options. Nonsurgical facial treatments work well in early facial aging only, such as patients in their 30’s or 40’s. In many ways, facial fillers may give aesthetic results superior to plastic surgery for rejuvenating the face in this age group.
Non-surgical facial procedures are typically performed in the office with local anesthesia. A small needle may be briefly used for anesthesia and treatment. Recovery is faster than traditional plastic surgery, with good aesthetic results. Patients may return to work much faster, possibly within the same day.
Nonsurgical face lift may not be for everyone. Some patients are excellent candidates for face lift surgery and prefer the typical aesthetic results associated with cosmetic surgery. Patients who may be older or have more sun damage generally are not satisfied with nonsurgical treatments alone. Many patients with sun damage require combination, both surgical and nonsurgical, cosmetic treatments to achieve optimal aesthetic results. Lastly, unlike plastic surgery, nonsurgical cosmetic treatments may not be permanent and often require repeated treatments.
Below are some options that rejuvenate the face and reduce the signs of facial aging. Only after a comprehensive evaluation can a aesthetic specialist help provide the appropriate option for you.
Fat injection is the most natural method of facial enhancement without plastic surgery. Fat is taken from the abdomen or similar areas via liposuction. The fat is purified and then injected into the face to add volume and reduce signs of aging. Fat may provide natural, soft enhancement of the cheeks, lips, and under eye areas. Fat can provide permanent facial enhancement and improve skin quality due to the “stem cell effect”, which is a poorly understood effect at this time.
Fat injections may result in more facial bruising, as compared to other nonsurgical face lift options. In addition, they have a certain level of unpredictability since less than 100% of the fat survives long-term. Finally, the face continues to age naturally, so touch-ups may be required for some patients.
Hyaluronic acid (HA)
HA is a normal component of human skin. Some companies have purified HA as a bio-compatible soft tissue & skin filler for wrinkles & facial aging. HA bonds with the body’s natural moisture to smooth the skin and replenish volume. Restylane, Juvederm, and Perlane are the more common HA products available today. Results are immediate and may last from 3 months to one year.
Sculptra is a relatively new type of facial injectable made from poly-L-lactic acid, which helps gradually replace collagen lost from aging. Sculptra corrects shallow to deep facial folds and wrinkles. The main ingredient is a bio-compatible, bio-degradable synthetic material that has been used by physicians for decades in other areas. Results are not immediate and are visible only after several months. Typically more than one treatment session is required to achieve results, which may last up to 2 years.
The lips and eyes are a few areas that may not be appropriate for Sculptra. Lastly, some patients may develop small nodules in the tissue after treatment.
Radiesse wrinkle filler stimulates collagen production. Results are immediate and potentially can last up to one year in some patients. Radiesse has also been approved to be mixed with lidocaine anesthesia to enhance patient comfort. Similar to Sculptra, Radiesse is not placed in the lip.
Selphyl is the newest nonsurgical option for facial enhancement. A small amount of blood is taken & purified for Platelet-Rich Fibrin Matrix (PRFM), and then reinjected into the face. Selphyl has been termed “vampire face lift” by the media. The purified blood is a natural way to fill skin depressions, acne scars, wrinkles and folds, rather than using synthetic, or animal-derived materials. Results are not immediate, but develop gradually over time.