Too Good to Be True? No! Nonsurgical Skin Tightening Lives up to the Hype!
The words "nonsurgical skin tightening" inspire hope and relief in many who are searching for an aesthetic enhancement but are not yet ready to go under the knife. It almost sounds too good to be true! Thankfully it's not. Board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Grant Stevens shares his insight and advice for those of us curious about the procedure.
1. How is the skin tightened non-surgically?
There are a number of ways to tighten the skin non-surgically. Generally speaking, regardless of the technology used, tightening occurs by heating the lower, live layers of the skin to cause collagen stimulation and tissue contraction. The most common ways to currently accomplish this are with Radio Frequency, Infrared Light, and Ultrasound techniques.
2. Who is the best candidate for this type of procedure?
Almost anyone can benefit from this procedure though there are age-related limitations on nonsurgical treatments. For example, heat induced collagen stimulation is not that effective for people in their 60s and older. No non-surgical technology will ever deliver the results of surgery, so patients who need a facelift, will still need a facelift. For those with some skin laxity, non-surgical tightening can be just the thing they need to give their skin a boost by causing thickening and tightening of the tissue. More and more people are having these procedures performed at younger ages to prevent sag and laxity from occurring and hopefully delaying the need for surgery.
3. Some dermatologists offer laser treatments in their offices, why is it recommended to seek a board-certified plastic surgeon?
A board-certified Plastic Surgeon is more qualified to give you the entire range of treatments that may be necessary or beneficial to you for the issues you are trying to address. Though both can offer non-surgical treatments (lasers, peels, skin tightening), a plastic surgeon can also discuss the possibility or options for procedures like facelifts (possibly in conjunction with a laser as well), eyelid surgery, brow lift, tummy tuck, liposuction, breast lift, just to name a few. Overall, you can expect a more comprehensive overview of what may benefit you.
4. Is there a part of the body that nonsurgical skin tightening shows the most results for -i.e. turkey neck more than the abdomen? Or does it vary from patient to patient?
The results from non-surgical skin tightening can vary from patient to patient and body part to body part. There is no one best area per se. We have seen pretty significant results for eyelids, neck/jowls, abdomen, arms, and knees. Each patient needs to be evaluated on an individual basis.
5. What questions should we ask during an initial consultation with a doctor?
Find out the different options they have available: different technologies, their office’s special offers, surgical options vs. non-surgical, and how long have they been performing the various procedures.
6. How will we feel afterwards? How long is the downtime?
With any of the non-surgical skin tightening procedures there isn’t any downtime. You can return to your normal life and activities right away.
7. Who is not an ideal candidate for this procedure?
Patients who have excessive laxity and really need surgery to correct the issue won't be happy with non-surgical treatments. Excessive laxity may come from massive weight loss, significant sagging after pregnancy, significant jowls or sagging in the neck.
8. Is this procedure often used in conjunction with others?
Non-surgical skin tightening is quite often used with a myriad of other procedures like laser treatments to even skin coloration/pigmentation, Botox or other neuromodulators and/or fillers to restore facial volume and correct fine lines, or radiofrequency waves such as CoolScultping, Ultherapy, Exilis and Vanquish to diminish unwanted fat and tighten skin as well. Again, it really varies from patient to patient, depending on their age and health.
Thank goodness that just as the technology for surgical procedures has improved, so have nonsurgical options. For those not ready to go under the knife - or are just a little scared to - it's great to know we have new high tech options to help keep us looking our best!