An important part of a plastic surgeon’s job is knowing when to recommend a procedure, with an eye toward best addressing a patient’s aesthetic concerns. You may come in for a consultation to discuss a laser skin treatment, for instance, but I may suggest that the best approach is a facelift. My Long Island patients concerned about facial aging appreciate and value honest communication, even if they may come in with a different procedure in mind than what I believe will be best.
Anti-aging treatments fall on a broad spectrum based on their invasiveness (i.e., whether the treatment pierces the skin) and the changes they can produce. Noninvasive or minimally invasive procedures such as chemical peels, laser treatments, and injectables such as fillers and BOTOX® Cosmetic are all useful tools at a plastic surgeon’s disposal. At the other end of the spectrum is facial plastic surgery.
Laser skin rejuvenation, in particular, can work wonders. But it shouldn’t be considered a facelift alternative, and it isn’t necessarily the right choice for everyone. Some of the first signs of aging occur as the face begins losing volume and the skin starts sagging. At this point, fillers can help shore up the skin temporarily. But as the aging process continues, the skin becomes looser and looser, and ligaments pulled by gravity stretch out.
Here’s when it’s best to choose each option:
- Laser skin rejuvenation: Patients as young as 30 can benefit from laser skin treatments to improve the skin’s tone and texture. One of the advantages of lasers is their versatility. For example, we offer the Lumenis® M22™, which can minimize shallower wrinkles, brown spots, and damage caused by sun exposure. More aggressive laser skin rejuvenation treatments, such as fractionated CO2 lasers, can reverse more severe signs of aging, such as deeper wrinkles.
- Facelift surgery: As the skin ages, it loses elastin and collagen — the 2 components that give the skin its elasticity and smoothness. When there is loose skin around the jawline (jowls) and the neck, surgery is the best approach to a more youthful appearance.
In some cases, people are hesitant to get a facelift because they worry that they’ll look like a different person, or have a stretched, “windswept” look that’s not natural. But modern surgical techniques no longer rely on simply stretching the skin and then removing the excess. When Dr. Pincus or I perform a facelift, we actually reposition the underlying muscle and tissue before carefully re-draping the skin in a way that looks natural. But you’ll still look like you: The goal is to look like a younger version of yourself without appearing “worked on.”