Aesthetic Medicine Today and Tomorrow
As technology and medicine advance, doctors have found even better ways to get rid of wrinkles, laugh lines, and other signs of aging. Some use existing methods, like disease fighting drugs and others use more precise instruments. As a result, first generation treatments are being outstripped by their second generation heirs. Dermal fillers once lasted three to six months; now, they can last two years or more. New minimally invasive procedures mean that we can not only get work done during our lunch break, but we’ll even have time to meet up for a bite right afterward. Intense swelling and painful abrasion are being replaced by (nearly) painless light and lasers.
We no longer have to worry about finding a place to hide while a facelift heals. Today’s skin treatments show full results in days. And in the future, that time could be cut down to hours or even minutes.
In addition, not only are the older treatments being replaced by better, faster ones, but they are often are less expensive. The economy may be improving, according to some, but people are still putting off elective procedures in the interests of saving money. Plastic surgeons and other doctors understand this, and in turn, they have reduced their prices and created effective promotions.
Dysport Moving in On Botox’s Turf
We don’t think the introduction of Dysport will spark a price war with Botox. But it will give us another tool we can use to better serve our patients. Both drugs are made from the bacteria Chlostridium botulinum, a known toxin that causes botulism in food, in minuscule amounts. Dysport was recently FDA approved, and will also be used to fight wrinkles.
Lashes Like a Newborn
Allergan Inc, the makers of Botox, have stumbled upon yet another exciting discovery. Their bimatopost ophthmalmic solution, first used to treat glaucoma, was found to stimulate the growth of eyelashes in a big way. Ophthalmologists noted that their patients’ lashes were longer, darker and thicker than before. The formula was changed slightly and went through the FDA process, and the result is Latisse.
Doctors have only positive reviews of this treatment. “The application process is simple. Each Latisse kit comes with sterile applicators so that when used properly there is no chance for cross-contamination.” There are potential side effects, of course—itchy eyelids and skin discoloration in the eye area—but the patients seem to have no problem with them. And they’re willing to do whatever it takes to grow their lashes. “Allergan really hit the mark with Latisse. Women spend a billion dollars a year on cosmetics to achieve the appearance of longer, fuller lashes. Latisse can actually grow your lashes.
Fillers, From Animals to Sugar
The fastest growing segment of cosmetic science has been in the area of fillers. Bovine collagen, porcine collagen, and synthetic versions of calciums and sugars in humans are the favored methods for plumping up lips and cheeks, as well as filling in wrinkles and facial folds.
Bovine collagen was the most popular filler two decades ago, but patients lost interest due to potential side effects and allergy problems. Fillers using synthetic versions of hyaluronic acid, a natural sugar in the body, and calcium hydroxyapatite, or bone particles, were created to replace bovine collagen. Radiesse, Juvéderm, and Restylane are all examples of these types of fillers, and patients love them.
Our preference is the calcium hydroxyapatite filler Radiesse. This is because the bone particle fillers trigger the body to surround the material with naturally made collagen. Chin and cheek implants, once a fixture before fillers, tended to look unnatural. Fat transplants were also a method of filling in sags and wrinkles, but since natural fat is absorbed back into the body, more was needed for the injection than looked appropriate. Also, the fat would not necessarily dissolve evenly. As a result, some patients would suffer through uneven lumps at the site of injection after it started to break down.
Nose Jobs On the Run
Got a less than a perfect nose bridge? If you’ve always wanted to get rid of that little bump or indentation, it can be done in minutes by filler.
A filler injection is made and smoothed out around the area. Touch-ups may be required for the next couple of years, and by then, science may have evolved to the point that the next one is permanent.
Waxing? Not Any More…
How do you get rid of unwanted body hair? Depilatory creams came out first, but they only kept the hair away for a day or so. Waxing was more popular, but that lasted for two weeks and could be very uncomfortable. Electrolysis was permanent, but was just as painful as waxing, and required more than one lengthy session. This is partly because each hair had to be burned out with an electric current.
Fortunately, we have moved to the next stage in hair removal. Laser hair treatments get rid of hair without burning the skin or using harsh chemicals. The laser targets the dark pigment in the hair and destroys the hair at the root. Touchups may be needed, but long term hair reduction is possible.
In the Future, We See…
Because of the speed at which technology and medicine evolve, changes can happen in months, as opposed to years. In five years, we feel, patients will be less likely to get a full scale surgical procedure and be much more interested in total body approaches to regaining the appearance of youth. Many practices have already started to include a holistic approach, with skin care, med-spa and non-invasive treatments available.
Fat and blood stem cells will be used to stimulate rejuvenation of the face over the next five years. The fat can be harvested from anywhere, while the blood stem cells can be taken from near the belly button. The idea is to turn the body into a self healing organism. We are also looking forward to great advances in treating cellulite using non-invasive procedures to treat the unsightly affliction that is said to impact 90% of all females.