A recent study published in Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Medicine found that the sudden flood of video conferencing meetings has sparked an increased interest in facial procedures. “When the pandemic hit, my patients were contacting me saying they were suddenly displeased with their appearance,” says study co-author and Chicago facial plastic surgeon Steven Dayan, MD. The study found that 40.6 percent of respondents who had never considered a facial cosmetic treatment before now planned to undergo a procedure. So, what’s on the Zoom-rejuvenation menu? Options run the gamut from skin tightening and bespoke blends of injectables to modern-day facelifts that leave recipients looking years, if not a full decade, younger.
Facial Aging Concerns
According to a study published in Physical Anthropology, women see aging acceleration around age 50, near the start of menopause. This includes: Volume loss in the cheeks, under the eyes and in the lips; wrinkles and fine lines in the forehead and around the eyes and lower face; marionette lines around the mouth; fullness beneath the chin; and sagging jowls and a loss of elasticity in the neck.
The Injectable Lift
A “liquid facelift” is described as the strategic use of neurotoxins and dermal fillers to smooth forehead lines, ease smile lines, and treat areas that have lost volume around the eyes, cheeks and lower face. While it may not be the best option for patients with skin laxity or excessive sagging, West Palm Beach, FL dermatologist Kenneth R. Beer, MD says it’s a good fit for those with volume loss, forehead lines, etched-in glabella lines, and a loss of structure around the jawline. “If you’re used to seeing your expert injector for a few neurotoxin injections and a spot of filler, it’s not the same as a ‘liquid lift,’” explains Dr. Beer. “Typically, a ‘liquid lift’ should involve between four and 14 syringes of filler, and between 25 and 100 units of neurotoxin.”
The Thread Lift
Although Chicago plastic surgeon Julius Few, MD performs hundreds of facelifts a year, he is also a big proponent of thread lifts for patients with mild facial aging. Using biodegradable threads with small anchoring cones that allow for lifting of the tissue under the skin, thread lifts can provide minimal lift with minimally invasive means. “It is FDA-cleared for nonsurgical lifting of the midface, but I have expanded off-label application to very effectively treat the lower third of the face, the jawline and the neck,” says Dr. Few. “The procedure typically takes me less than 30 minutes, and the results are immediate. Our published research shows results can last two to three years, with the supplement of Botox and filler. Downtime is usually less than 24 hours; I have had several of my patients go to red-carpet events the same week.” However, as Dr. Few notes, for patients with more severe facial aging, or those wanting a longer-lasting option, a facelift procedure is still the gold standard.
Beverly Hills, CA facial plastic surgeon Davis B. Nguyen, MD says his go-to nonsurgical treatment is the FaceTite radio-frequency procedure. “I like it because it’s not only addressing sagging jowls and neck skin, but it’s also stimulating collagen production. However, it won’t replace the results of a traditional facelift. I tell my patients they can expect to see moderate improvement, but that can be enough for someone who isn’t ready to have surgery yet.”
Noninvasive devices such as Ultherapy and microneedling with radio frequency, and minimally invasive laser liposuction procedures—or a combination of these treatments—are alternative options that can be used to tighten jowls and lax skin. New York facial plastic surgeon Dilip Madnani, MD says the extent of a person’s facial aging also plays a role in the efficacy of these treatments, as some will only yield mild-to-moderate improvement.
“It’s important to have realistic expectations of how much nonsurgical procedures can do and consider the point at which they may make the face look more distorted than youthful,” adds New York facial plastic surgeon Andrew Jacono, MD.
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