Special to CSMS Magazine
Cosmetic Surgery means more than nose jobs and breast implants. There are now hundreds of different procedures designed to take care of everything from wrinkles and scars to sagging skin and loose jowls.
Deep vertical lines between the eyebrows can usually be eliminated the BoTax, a toxin derived usually from the same microbe that causes the deadly ailment botulism.
Injected between the brows, BoTox paralyzes the facial causing the wrinkles. The procedure takes about 10 minutes. Results last for three to six months. Cost: $500 per injection.
Although collagen injections work well for isolated facial wrinkles, they are not very effective for face that is “tired-looking” all over. The best remedy for such a face is usually laser therapy.
Laser light cause collagen in the skin to shrink, eliminating wrinkles for about nine years. That’s how long it takes facial wrinkles to form.
Several different kinds of lasers are now in use. For mild wrinkling, the best bet is the newly approved erbium laser. It combines good results with a brief recovery period.
The skin is red for three or four days. You can go back to work within a week. Cost: $1,000 to $3,000.
Avoid: Dermabrasion and chemical peels. These once-popular treatments for removing facial wrinkles yield unpredictable results. They can also cause scarring or lightening of the skin.
Deep wrinkles or scarring
For acne scars or deep wrinkles caused by years of smoking and/or sun exposure, the best approach is once again laser therapy. But instead of the erbium laser, it’s better to use the more powerful carbon dioxide laser.
Carbon dioxide therapy takes only 90 minutes, but the recovery period often lasts up to 10 days.
Days the first week of this postoperative period, it’s a bit like having bad sunburn. The skin peels and crusts over. Pain medication is often needed. After seven to 10 days, the crust falls off, leaving behind new, pink skin. Cost: $3,000 to $6,000.
Sagging jowls or neck wattles
For loose skin on the face or neck, the best treatment is a face-lift or neck-lift. In this four-hour operation, the surgeon makes an incision in front of and behind the ears.
Then he/she lifts the skin off the underlying muscles and fat of the face and tugs it back till it’s snug.
Face-lifts are done on an outpatient basis. The recovery period lasts seven to 10 days. At that point, the stitches are removed, and you can return to normal activity. Cost: $5,000 to $25,000.
Good News: A new variant of the traditional face-lift procedure reduces the slight risk of nerve damage associated with the older procedure. Supra-platysmal face-lift involves repositioning only the superficial layers of skin. The surgeon repositions the cheek fat and removes some fat around the jaw. Cost: $3,300.
Since neither type of face-lift can completely eliminate wrinkles, many patients opt to have laser therapy approximately six weeks after the face-lift.