NEW YORK (October 27, 1999) -- As time passes, life's experiences become the laugh lines around your mouth and the wrinkles on your forehead. Advances in facial rejuvenation make it possible for dermatologic surgeons to turn back the clock with a myriad of treatment options.
Speaking today at the American Academy of Dermatology's Derm Update '99, dermatologist Mark Steven Nestor, MD, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, University of Miami School of Medicine, discussed the latest surgical treatment advances in facial rejuvenation.
"A decade ago the standard treatment for facial rejuvenation was a facelift or dermabrasion," noted Dr. Nestor. "Today we can customize each patient's treatment plan to address their specific issues."
New advancements in laser skin resurfacing allow healing to occur much more rapidly and with minimal patient discomfort. These high energy lasers work by emitting a beam of light that is absorbed by the water in skin cells. CO2 lasers continue to be extremely effective for treating patients with deep wrinkles and severe sun damage. Erbium or combination lasers provide a more superficial treatment of wrinkles, sun damage or irregular pigmentation.
Lasers are increasingly a popular choice of dermatologists and patients considering facial rejuvenation because they offer a relatively bloodless surgery and improved results over traditional cosmetic surgery.
Some patients will find the best results come from a combination of laser skin resurfacing and another treatment, such as botulinum toxin. In its natural state, botulinum toxin is a potent poison that can cause the clinical disease botulism. When used in its purified form, botulinum toxin is non-toxic when carefully administered in low doses to reverse the effects of aging. By injecting botulinum toxin into frown lines, crows feet or other wrinkles, the muscle creating these lines is paralyzed. Not only does botulinum toxin dramatically soften existing wrinkles, it decreases the patient's ability to frown or squint which prevents additional damage.
Cosmetic surgery can also be combined with laser skin resurfacing. Surgical treatments like eyelifts and blepharoplasty, or mini-facelifts, are often used in conjunction with lasers to create a more refined outcome. By combining laser skin resurfacing with other procedures, such as chemical peeling, dermatologic surgeons can offer rejuvenation treatments to areas such as the neck, hands and chest.
Many patients want the results of facial rejuvenation without the recovery time typically needed. These patients can take advantage of a new wave of procedures often dubbed the "lunchtime" treatments. While these techniques may have less recovery time, often allowing patients to go back to work immediately, the results are not as dramatic or long lasting.
One new technology called non-ablative laser resurfacing, which lightly resurfaces the skin, allows patients to receive a series of small treatments with practically no recovery time. A single session of the non-ablative technique does not create the same deep treatment as a single session with the CO2 laser. To achieve similar results, patients typically receive three to six sessions with the non-ablative technology.
Another new technique, particle resurfacing, or microdermabrasion, uses a highly controlled vacuum to move fine, sand-like crystals across the affected area to smooth surface lines and eliminate dark age spots. Some patients find that a combination of treatments, such as a non-ablative laser treatment with botulinum toxin injections or alpha hydroxy topical lotions and eyelifts, offer significant long-term improvement.
"Medical research is constantly finding new ways to fight wrinkles," said Dr. Nestor. "Sometimes it's a completely new procedure while other times it's a new application of an existing treatment. The advances made during the past few years lead me to believe that exciting new treatments will continue to help patients improve their appearance."
The American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership over 12,000 dermatologists worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the science and art of medicine and surgery related to the skin; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; supporting and enhancing patient care; and promoting a lifetime of healthier skin, hair, and nails. For more information, contact the AAD at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or http://www.aad.org.
The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) was founded in 1970 to promote excellence in the field of dermatologic surgery and to foster the highest standards of patient care. For more information on cosmetic surgery and referrals to doctors in specific geographic areas, please contact the ASDS Consumer Hotline, 1-800-441-ASDS (2737), during weekday business hours or visit our Web site at http://www.asds-net.org.
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