The annual meeting of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons ended last week and I wanted to share my thoughts on the state of affairs of plastic surgery. The first thing I learned, through a conversation with my website host, is that my blogs are too long. I tried to be concise but not at the expense of sacrificing information. Apparently I need to try harder. In an effort to "tighten things up", I will divide the body up and today tackle the face.
The Contour Thread LiftTM is losing momentum as an alternative to a face lift. Results have not been long-lasting (often 6 months or less) because the threads used to lift the jowels cut through the tissue. It's called "cheese cutting". Surgeons are now using it more as a tool to help hold up a face lift, which really defeats the original purpose of the threads of avoiding a face lift. What is more promising is the ENDOTINE Ribbon Lift in which a device shaped like a thin ribbon with small prongs is inserted through a tunnel under the skin and used to lift the cheeks and jowels. It is stronger, minimally invasive and over time will dissolve and is replaced by scar tissue, which maintains the lift. Like the Thread Lift there is minimal down time and no scars on the face. I plan to use in my practice.
Lasers are still with us but the CO2 Laser, once the mainstay for the treatment of wrinkles and age spots, has faded into the background because of the long down time and complications. The laser technology that has the most promise is the FraxelTM Laser, which has no down time and significant improvement of wrinkles, age spots and acne scars.
Face Lifts are still with us but not as many are being done. Patients are more interested in less invasive procedures, such as the Ribbon Lift, and non-surgical treatments, especially BotoxTM and RestylaneTM, a skin filler which has almost completely replaced collagen injections.
Overall, facial cosmetic surgery is alive and well but it is changing. The trend is that more people are choosing it and at a younger age but choosing less because they are concerned about risks and down time. It is an opportunity for all of us, as plastic surgeons, to respond to a more educated and sophisticated patient base. At least that is how I see it. Next week: breast and body contouring.