(This article was published in the August 2014 issue of Southwest Florida Health & Wellness… see the article online here.)

By Kriston J. Kent, M.D., MPH

Traditionally, the term “facelift” referred to a surgical procedure to correct sagging facial and neck tissues.  More recently, with the rapidly advancing development of new rejuvenation modalities, facelift is most commonly used to refer to any procedure which addresses and improves facial aging. Likewise, it has been increasingly obvious to specialists in facial rejuvenation that sagging is only a part of the aging process in the face and neck.  In fact, in many individuals, sagging may be less important than volume loss, unsightly skin, and overactive facial expression lines.

The term “nonsurgical facelift” is now used to describe any number and combinations of procedures which address volume loss, unsightly skin, and overactive expression lines.  Without the need for surgery, significant down time, significant pain, and the potential for significant complications, aesthetic physicians can provide a very significant improvement in facial, neck, Décolletage, and hand appearance.

Today, a nonsurgical facelift commonly involves a combination of the best procedures available to improve the skin, to improve facial volume, and to correct overactive expression lines.

All Natural, Nonsurgical
Facial Rejuvenation
CRP Microchanneling
One very popular, all natural new procedure involves microchanneling and injection of Cytokine Rich Plasma (CRP) (also commonly referred to as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP).   Whether it is referred to as CRP or PRP, this procedure utilizes the ability of growth factors and peripheral stem cells taken from your own blood to stimulate existing stem cells to produce new collagen and other substances which improve facial skin appearance.  These powerful growth factors are micro-channeled (using a special device) back into your facial skin and superficial subcutaneous areas. Typically, several sessions are performed to provide the best results and several months are required to obtain the benefits.  Finally, most often, this procedure is combined with injection of growth factors into the deeper facial tissues to provide further aesthetic enhancement of the face by addressing volume loss (which inevitably occurs as we age). These techniques lie behind the secret of youth for many well known personalities.

CRP Injection
As noted above, in addition to microchanneling, growth factors (CRP/PRP) can be injected back into your facial tissues, to stimulate existing stem cells to produce new collagen and other substances at a deeper level, which will also further improve facial appearance.  Once again, several sessions are performed to provide the best results.

Popular injectables:
Nonsurgical Facial Rejuvenation using Volume enhancement with biocompatible commercial products.
Several products have proven to be quite useful and beneficial for correction of facial volume inadequacies causing the appearance of significant facial aging (which makes us look older than we feel).

The most popular products utilize hyaluronic acid (HA) gels which are typically quite safe and effective.  These HA gels typically work best on defined folds and depressions. They are used most commonly in the folds around the mouth, in thinning lips, in the flattened lateral eyebrow regions, and in hollow areas under the eyes.  Juvederm and Restylane are the most well-known of these fillers.  Everyone loves immediate gratification and the results from these fillers typically occur immediately.  Ultimately the results gradually resolve over the ensuing year.

One of the most exciting new products on the market is called Voluma. Though this product is also a hyaluronic acid gel based product, it is especially formulated to provide “lifting” and is used primarily in the upper cheek area to correct the loss of cheek fullness. This restores a more youthful facial contour. And better yet, the results persist for up to 2 years.

Other biocompatible commercial products which can provide volume improvement include the use of Calcium hydroxyapatite (Radiesse) and poly–L-lactic acid (Sculptra).

Sculptra is most commonly used for more widespread facial volumizing instead of treating specific folds and depressions.  Unlike hyaluronic acid gels and Calcium hydroxyapatite products, results from Sculptra appear over time and tend to last longer.

Nonsurgical Facial Rejuvenation: Correction of overactive facial expression lines.
The use of minute amounts of highly purified botulinum toxin is used to address overactive scowl lines, frown lines, squint lines, and smile lines and has been performed successfully for nearly 20 years.

Botox, and other similar products, do not provide lifting, correction of facial volume loss, or improvement in his skin tone, color, and texture.  However, when overactive expression lines are present, the aesthetic improvement can be quite significant.

In summary, there has never been a better time than 2014 to take advantage of the amazing advances of aesthetic medicine to address the inevitable signs of facial aging.  And remember, a combination of the right procedures is better than choosing just one.  We’re living longer, and healthier, than ever before.  It is a good thing that we can also remain more beautiful without the need for surgery!