When it comes to facial rejuvenation, there is often a balance between effective, lasting results and an invasive procedure. In general, less invasive procedures result in more subtle, temporary results, but many patients are looking for an option that is less expensive and demands less downtime than traditional surgeries such as a full facelift. The FDA-approved procedure known as the “threadlift” was used for several years as a minimally invasive method for anti-aging. However, patients were not seeing lasting results from this procedure, and reputable surgeons do not recommend the method any longer. That said, there are other good options for minimally invasive facial rejuvenation that suit many patients’ needs. Let’s take a look at some of those alternatives.
Dermal Fillers & Botox
The most gentle and mainstream treatments available, injectable treatments are a great option for many patients. Dermal fillers and Botox are the most popular procedures in the United States for a number of reasons. They’re safe, effective, affordable, and offer little to no downtime.
In general, Botox is favored for “dynamic wrinkles” (caused by repetitive facial movements), while fillers are generally preferred for “static” wrinkles (caused by skin volume loss and other factors). Both types of treatments are temporary, but the longevity of the results depend heavily on the type of product used. Botox tends to last 3-4 months on average, while some dermal fillers can last up to a year.
Dermal fillers also have other uses, including minor augmentation and compensation for subtle volume loss in the face related to aging. A facial plastic surgeon can help determine which type of filler is best suited to your needs.
Ranging from minor skin refresher peels to deep resurfacing, chemical peels offer patients great versatility and results. Chemical peels are very good for improving overall skin quality, but are often not as effective for significant signs of aging. That said, deep peels can improve the appearance of wrinkling quite effectively. Recovery time depends entirely on the depth of the peel. Mild peels can be repeated for improved results.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
While there are many different options for laser skin resurfacing, some surgeons are turning to less invasive lasers than the traditional carbon dioxide lasers. CO2 lasers are known to produce great results, but involve significant discomfort and downtime, often requiring general anesthesia to administer. Gentler alternatives such as the Whisper-3G Erbium laser still produce great results for patients with a minimally invasive treatment that involves very little downtime. Patients can expect to see improvement in wrinkles, lines, overall skin quality, and sun damage. For best results, many patients elect to have a series of treatments.
An exciting facial rejuvenation treatment that can produce semi-permanent improvement, fat transfer uses refined fat cells from the patient’s own body to fill in areas of lost volume and deep wrinkles. The fat is harvested from the donor site (typically around the abdomen or thighs) using gentle liposuction technique. Following this, it is carefully prepared for the next stage before being injected into the face where it is most needed. Surgeons typically overfill the areas somewhat as some of the fat will not survive long term. Fat that survives after the first six months is considered permanent rejuvenation, as this means the cells have established themselves and are likely to keep living long term. Though facial fat transfer is a surgical procedure, it is minimally invasive, and can be performed with the patient under light sedation. Recovery generally takes a week or two following the surgery.
Limited Incision Facelift
If you are looking for a more in-depth procedure, a limited incision lower facelift may be a good option for facial rejuvenation. This procedure is used to tighten the lower face and jaw for a refreshed appearance. The sutures from this procedure are easily hidden by patients with long hair, and recovery time is minimal for a surgical procedure. Some patients are feeling well enough to return to some normal activities just a few days after surgery.
There are other facelift options available for patients who need more intensive rejuvenation and are prepared to deal with the recovery time associated with a more invasive treatment.
Discussing Your Options
If you’re not sure which procedures you should consider, then it may be time to consult with an expert. Consultations with prospective surgeons are a great way to get advice and discuss your goals for rejuvenation. These meetings are a valuable chance to ask specific questions and decide on the surgeon who is best for you. Keep an open mind and consider a range of options, but make your decisions carefully—you don’t want to regret your treatment after the fact.
For expert advice in Austin, come to Buckingham Center and meet with acclaimed facial plastic surgeon Dr. Edward Buckingham. Dr. Buckingham is double board certified by The American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and The American Board of Otolaryngology. For more information and to schedule a consultation with Dr. Buckingham, call 512-401-2500 today.