A panel discussion at a recent meeting of one of the nation’s leading plastic surgery organizations focused on the “non-surgical facelift,” a procedure that combines anti-aging injectable products such as fillers and BOTOX® Cosmetic with skin tightening treatments.
Although some disagreement exists about the effectiveness of so-called “liquid facelifts,” a consensus emerged at the annual meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery that a paradigm shift is occurring in the way surgeons address facial aging. It’s a proactive approach that starts with skincare products and the use of injectable fillers to restore volume, BOTOX when wrinkles are first beginning to form, and energy-based skin tightening procedures. Surgical options are explored when these less invasive measures can’t produce the desired results.
The Goals of a Liquid Facelift
Dermal fillers and BOTOX are the most common non-surgical treatments performed worldwide, even though some people still worry that BOTOX will leave their faces looking frozen.
“This is a common misconception associated with BOTOX injections,” says Toronto facial plastic surgeon Dr. Richard A. Rival on his website. “BOTOX smoothes out the wrinkles around the eyes, in between the eyebrows, and on the forehead. You will still be able to move your face and express emotion normally.”
This natural look is one of the main goals of a non-surgical lift. One thing that sets minimally invasive cosmetic treatments apart from plastic surgery is that the results are not as extensive. For many people, particularly those who want only discreet, subtle enhancement, that is a preferable approach.
Many cosmetic medical experts say that the ultimate goal of a liquid facelift is never to dramatically change how someone looks. The key is “you, but younger.”
Explore the Options
So what specifically does a non-surgical approach to facial rejuventation entail? Below is a step-by-step guide that details the available options for each area of the face, from the forehead to the chin. Of course, your specific needs will differ from other patients, which is why the liquid facelift is customized for each individual.
Keep in mind that the cost also varies, depending on the treatments used and the number of areas targeted. Costs can range from $400 to $1,200 for BOTOX injections, and $600 to $1,800 for fillers. Prices are typically set per unit or syringe used.
Primary concerns: Horizontal wrinkles and the 2 vertical lines between the brows that look like the number 11, commonly referred to as “frown lines.”
Treatment: Most aesthetic professionals treat frown lines and forehead wrinkles with strategically placed BOTOX injections. The neurotoxin prevents the small muscles that cause these wrinkles from repeatedly contracting throughout the day, softening the lines.
Primary concerns: Crow’s feet, upper and lower eyelid wrinkles, and dark circles.
Treatment: BOTOX is the primary choice for treating crow’s feet, the fine lines that form at the corners of the eyes. Dermal fillers, such as JUVÉDERM® and Restylane®, can smooth deep folds or superficial lines in the temples and fill in the troughs under the eyes that cause dark circles. Laser skin resurfacing may also be combined with injectables to firm the skin and even out tone and texture.
Primary concerns: Loss of volume in the midface area.
Treatment: Advanced fillers have recently been developed specifically to restore volume to the cheeks. Thicker, longer-lasting fillers available for this area include JUVÉDERM VOLUMA® XC and Sculptra® Aesthetic. These products plump up the cheeks with youthful volume and restore hydration and collagen.
Nose & Mouth
Primary concerns: Nasolabial folds (the wrinkles running from the nose to the corners of the mouth), lip lines, and thin lips.
Treatment: RADIESSE® is one of the preferred fillers for the creases that extend from the nose to the corners of the mouth. It’s a thick, calcium-based filler that is also considered useful to improve the appearance of the chin and jowls. A variety of fillers can be used to fill in wrinkles on the lips, such as “smoker’s lines,” as well as simply plump up thin lips. Restylane® Silk was specifically designed for lip treatment.
Along with all these in-office treatments, many providers also recommend at-home skincare products and sunscreen to maintain the results they achieve and to keep skin looking healthy and youthful. Ultimately, surgical procedures such as a facelift and neck lift should be considered when the less invasive tools can no longer produce the desired results.