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FAQs about Non-Surgical Facial Rejuvenation

Dr. Tara L. Huston | Stony Brook Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Tara L. Huston

Facial rejuvenation procedures have soared and surpassed both breast and body procedures, according to the 2013 statistics of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Botox® treatment of the face, for instance, was the number one minimally invasive cosmetic procedure performed last year in the United States. With over 8 million treatments performed, there were actually far more appointments booked for this non-surgical facial rejuvenation option compared to the more than 133,000 facelifts performed the same year.

Here, Tara L. Huston, MD, assistant professor of surgery and member of our Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Division, answers frequently asked questions about non-surgical facial rejuvenation.

Q: What is facial rejuvenation? Is it for both women and men?

A: Facial rejuvenation covers a broad group of surgical procedures and non-invasive treatments which are designed to make your facial skin and profile look younger and more refreshed. The techniques are commonly employed in both women and men of all ages. In fact, although often associated with women, increasing numbers of men are having facial rejuvenation procedures.

Q: What exactly does non-surgical mean?

A: Non-surgical procedures can be topical, such as creams and peels; injectable, such as toxins and fillers; or laser based, such as CO2 resurfacing. All of these procedures take place in the office setting without the need for an operating room or anesthesia. There are no incisions.

Self-esteem is often connected to a person's appearance and, thus, to health and wellness, so the benefits of facial rejuvenation go beyond cosmetic.

Q: How do non-surgical facial rejuvenation procedures fit in with health and wellness?

A: The goal of non-surgical rejuvenation is to improve how you look and feel about yourself. It is not meant to turn you into someone else, but to help you appear to be the best, most well-rested and refreshed version of you.

More than that, self-esteem is often connected to a person's appearance, and self-esteem contributes to mental well-being, which in turn contributes to physical health. So the benefits of facial rejuvenation go beyond cosmetic.

Q: What non-surgical options are available for facial rejuvenation?

A: The most common non-surgical procedures are: injection of botulinum toxin (Botox®, Dysport®) to relax muscles and smooth wrinkles; injection of soft-tissue fillers (Juvederm®, Restylane®, Radiesse®) to fill hollow areas and deep lines minimizing the appearance of aging; laser hair removal; chemical peels to smooth the skin; and microdermabrasion, also to rejuvenate the skin.

Q: Are some non-surgical options better than traditional cosmetic surgical procedures?

A: Non-surgical procedures are useful for slight changes, for maintenance of appearance and as adjuncts to surgical treatment. Traditional cosmetic surgery results in a greater degree of change, and is best after the minimally invasive procedures have been used. It also depends on the result a person is looking to achieve.

This is why it is important to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon who is well trained in all aspects of both non-surgical treatments as well as traditional surgical procedures, so that you may be offered the best possible treatment to reach your goals.

Q: Can a facelift be achieved using non-surgical facial rejuvenation procedures?

A: The so-called Liquid Facelift restores volume to areas which have hollowed, and decreases the appearance of wrinkles. It is a combination of toxins to relax specific facial lines and fillers to add volume to key areas.

Before and After Botox Injection around the Eyes
Before left) and after Botox® injection around eyes (American Society of
Plastic Surgeons; click on photos to see more in ASPS gallery).

Q: What is the difference between toxin and facial fillers, which both are injectables?

A: Botulinum toxin (Botox®, Dysport®) is a highly purified neurotoxin that temporarily relaxes muscles. This effect causes facial lines and wrinkles to appear less prominent. It is also used to treat migraine headaches and excess sweating in the armpits and palms. The facial fillers, composed of a naturally-occurring substance in the body called hyaluronan, actually fill tissue in order to restore lost volume, augment lips, and minimize the appearance of deep wrinkles and scars.

Q: How long does it take for the results of a non-surgical rejuvenation to show?

A: Toxins take about three to four days to work. The results with filler are immediate.

Q: How soon can one return to work after a non-surgical rejuvenation procedure?

A: There is no downtime after these procedures. Many can even be done during your lunch hour.

Q: Can makeup be applied immediately after rejuvenation procedures?

A: It is best to wait until the following day in order to apply makeup so that the injection sites may heal.

Q: Do non-surgical rejuvenation procedures produce bruises or flaws on the face?

A: Bruising is a potential after-effect of any injection. It is more common in patients who take blood thinners such as aspirin or herbal remedies.

Q: How many times can non-surgical rejuvenation procedures be repeated?

A: These procedures can be repeated as often as is needed to achieve the desired results. Toxins last anywhere between four and twelve months depending on the anatomic area. Fillers often need replenishment every nine to twelve months. They break down faster in areas that have more movement, such as right around the mouth.

A board-certified plastic surgeon is the only physician trained in all aspects of both non-surgical treatments and traditional surgical procedures.

Q: How do the non-surgical methods compare with surgical methods in terms of results, cost, and duration?

A: Non-surgical methods tend to cost less than traditional surgery, allow for a quicker recovery, and produce a more subtle result. It is best to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to determine which procedures will allow you to achieve your goals. A cost difference isn’t worth very much if you are not satisfied.

Q: How does one maximize and preserve the results of a skin rejuvenation procedure?

A: All skin benefits from hydration, from rest, and from sun protection at all times!

Q: What is the advantage of having non-surgical rejuvenation procedures performed by a plastic surgeon, instead of a dermatologist or other kind of physician?

A: A board-certified plastic surgeon is the only physician specifically trained in all aspects of both non-surgical treatments and traditional surgical procedures for facial rejuvenation. They have the unique ability to understand and offer both sets of procedures, allowing you to benefit from exactly what you need. If a practitioner only performs injections or only performs surgery, he/she may not have the ability to offer the combination that may be best for you, in terms of your desired goals.

Q: After undergoing non-surgical facial rejuvenation, when do you recommend a patient opt for surgery (if ever)?

A: When you have optimized your improvement with injectable and other non-surgical options, but still feel you are not at your goal, it is a good time to explore surgical options.

Q: Does insurance cover any of these rejuvenation procedures?

A: No, they are considered cosmetic, and cosmetic procedures are not covered.

Q: What is the Stony Brook difference with regard to having non-surgical facial rejuvenation procedures?

A: At Stony Brook Medicine all of our plastic surgeons are board certified in plastic surgery. Our plastic surgeons are leaders in their field and avid innovators. Some of their discovery work focuses on patient safety, treatment outcomes, and cosmetic injectables. It allows them to incorporate the most novel surgical and non-surgical techniques with a safe environment in order to provide our patients with the best outcomes.

Click here for more information about the plastic surgeons and the plastic surgery services at Stony Brook Medicine.