Dr. Barbara Davies, and published in the Savannah Health Perspectives magazine."> Dr. Barbara Davies, and published in the Savannah Health Perspectives magazine." />

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Liquid Facelift

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The following article was written by Dr. Barbara Davies, and published in the Savannah Health Perspectives magazine.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and seen your mother looking back? Have you ever wished for a fresher, more rested, perhaps more youthful look–but you don’t want to endure surgery? Then you are probably a perfect candidate for Liquid Facelift.

“What is that?” you may ask. A Liquid Facelift is a combination of small procedures (no incisions) that result in a more refreshed facial appearance. While nothing substitutes for actual surgery, these procedures can reduce or eliminate frown lines and crow’s feet that can give an unhappy or tired appearance to the face and can improve, to various degrees, creases and lines that create an aged look.

So why are we getting these creases and lines in the first place?
In the upper face, horizontal forehead creases, crow’s feet and, especially, frown lines between eyebrows can create a tired, aged look. These creases come from animation, repeated muscle contractions and can sometimes be so pronounced that they create actual grooves in the skin. Often we don’t even realize that we are making expressions that create these lines. If you are sometimes asked, “Why are you mad?” or are told that you look particularly tired–even after a good night’s sleep, you are most likely frowning unconsciously. You might just be concentrating on your thoughts or perhaps you forgot your ‘readers’ and are squinting at fine print, but there's that frown making you look angry. Or, perhaps you are an animated person, always raising your brows for emphasis–thus creating horizontal brow creases. Squinting can also cause crow’s feet at the corners of the eyes, although those little crinkles also come from smiling. (Personally, I think crinkling adds a friendly look to a smile, but most crow’s feet owners disagree!)

In the lower face, the most typical creases are the nasolabial folds (from the side of the nose down to the corners of the mouth–essentially borders the upper lip area) and marionette lines (from the corners of the mouth down to the jawline). As we get further away from our teenage years, the face essentially deflates, losing some of the fatty fullness of youth. If you look at an adolescent, the face is full and round., often lacking much definition. As you proceed into young adulthood, some of the fat leaves, letting us see that there is a nice jawline or great cheekbones underneath the fatty tissue. Unfortunately, this deflation keeps going, and our skin begins to behave like a deflated balloon. The skin drapes and rotates around fixed points, which are the nasolabial folds and the marionette lines. At first, these lines are just subtle grooves but, as time goes on, the grooves get deeper and turn into furrows. Sometimes other areas of the face deflate, such as the central cheek. Too much hollowing here can impart a wasted look. Sometimes fat loss means loss of definition of the cheekbone or sometimes a groove forms from the inner, lower lid traveling down and outward (tear trough deformity) accentuating dark circles and imparting a tired look to the face. Sometimes our lips deflate leaving a thin line where there used to be a full pout.

So, what does one do about these dreadful and unavoidable changes? One gets a Liquid Facelift! This means a combination of Botox to stop the unwanted animation of the upper face, and a filler agent to partially reinflate the deflated areas and soften (sometimes eliminate) the creasing or appearance of atrophy. Of course, the fewer flaws there are, the greater the result of the Liquid Facelift. However, the procedures always freshen the face and turn the time-clock back a few years. Sometimes the need for a full, formal surgical facelift is eliminated. Sometimes that need is simply postponed for a few years. Sometimes these procedures are added to a surgery to give an even better result than surgery alone. Surgery and procedures address different problems or sometimes address the problem in different ways–so the effect is additive.

Most of the agents used in a Liquid Facelift are already familiar to the public. Botox is a paralyzing agent that stops muscles from moving–if one cannot squint or frown, one doesn’t get the creases that go along with these movements. In eliminating the frown, it is not uncommon to see a bit of brow elevation, which gives the hint of browlifting producing a more open, serene look to the face. A botox injection takes about ten minutes (easy to do over a lunch break), but it may take two or three days to see the result. Bruising is the most common complication and, occasionally, one may get a headache. An unfortunate complication is paralyzing too much or too little muscle. This, typically, results from a miscommunication between patient and doctor. Botox lasts three to four months, but that interval can be stretched if injections are repeated before the muscle fully recovers from the last injection.

Filler agents are used to plump up deflated areas or to fill in grooves. The hyaluronic acid family is probably the most common–brand names are Restylane/Perlane and Juvederm (although it is rumored there will be six new brands presented in 2008). While this material is technically an acid, it is better known as a branched chain sugar–a substance that already exists in our bodies as a ground substance between the cells. This sugar attracts water molecules, which causes a plumping action when injected. Because it is so natural, no skin tests (for allergies) need to be administered. This material is clear so it can be used on any site. One added safety feature is that there is an enzyme that can dissolve the material in the case of incorrect placement. The companies advertise that these substances last for about six months, but it has been noted that the Restalyne /Perlane family still have some effect for as long as two years. Other common fillers are Radiesse (aka Radiance), a calcium-based material, and Sculptra, which stimulates the body to produce its own collagen. Radiesse is reported to last a year. It is white, so it can not be injected into the lips or it will leave ghostly white shadows and or bumps). Since Sculptra causes the body to produce its own collagen, the effects are supposedly permanent. Sculptra was originally used for AIDS patients experiencing facial atrophy from retroviral medications but has been adapted for standard cosmetic purposes. Neither Radiesse nor Sculptra can be ‘erased.’

Topical numbing is all that is required for facial fillers, although lip plumping requires a dental block (injections). Swelling is typical and takes about 24 hours to resolve. Bruising occasionally happens–particularly if a patient has taken aspirin or certain herbal supplements. A session to receive filler materials takes about 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how much material is needed to be injected. The Liquid Facelift takes about an hour. Because of swelling and sometimes bruising associated with fillers, it is probably not a good idea to have a BIG event planned for the same evening, but you should be fine for the next day.

So, Liquid Facelift is a combination of Botox, for animation wrinkles, and filler materials for grooves and depressions. While it doesn’t go quite as far as a full surgical facelift, it can still erase years and leave a fresher, more youthful appearance–without surgery! It’s far faster, it’s less expensive and it’s a wonderful way to look great in 2008!

Liquid Facelift Savannah

About Savannah Plastic Surgery

We want to be your first choice when it comes to cosmetic surgery, skin care, and life enhancing services delivered by a team committed to compassion, education, and excellence.

Using a delicate balance of science and art, our physicians can customize every surgery to meet your personal needs and goals. Our surgeons: Dr. Barbara Davies, Dr. Carl Pearl, Dr. Luke Curtsinger, Dr. Matthew McLeod, and Dr. Scott Vann recognize that no two people are alike. You are unique and we are, too.

We now offer complimentary consultations for cosmetic surgery. Contact us today to begin your body transformation.

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