Is A Liquid Facelift Right For You?
When you look in the mirror, do you see the same youthful person you visualize in your mind or is the person looking back at you a stranger? According to plastic surgeons, what many women see in the mirror doesn’t reflect what they feel inside. The dichotomy between these two versions of self is why many people are turning towards anti-aging procedures.
But aren’t most anti-aging procedures invasive and require a lot of recovery time? Some do. A straightforward facelift requires surgery and 10-14 days of recovery before you can fully return to normal day-to-day life. However, there are other options, such as a liquid facelift, that are less invasive and allow the recipient to return to their regular routine almost immediately.
What Is A Liquid Facelift?
A liquid facelift is a term that non-medical professionals use to describe a series of fillers and injectables put under the skin to return facial fullness. Typically the procedure involves local anesthetic being injected into the facial areas being treated. These areas can include: the temples, under the lower eyelid, sagging cheek areas, marionette lines between the nose and mouth (nasolabial folds), and creases beside the mouth that cause jowls.
There are multiple filler options available for a liquid facelift, each providing different benefits:
- Hyaluronic Acid: The most common filler used. It lasts about 6-8 months and the effects are completely reversible if you do not like the results. The doctor can inject another substance to break up the Hyaluronic Acid.
- Calcium Hydroxyapatite: These fillers take longer to break down; about 12-16 months. The drawback is that they are irreversible so if you don’t like the results you are stuck with them until they breakdown.
- Poly-L-Lactic Acid: These injections stimulate collagen production and are longer lasting, typically 24 months. They take longer for the effects to appear and require 3-4 sessions.
- Collagen or Fat: Also called soft tissue augmentation, they are a temporary treatment used to correct wrinkles or scars. They require transfer of tissue from other areas of the patient’s body and last anywhere from 3-12 months.
What Are The Benefits vs Drawbacks?
There are many benefits to a liquid facelift:
- Usually it can be completed in one sitting so it’s not too time-consuming.
- Its less invasive than a surgical facelift which means less recovery time and sometimes the effects are reversible, which gives you piece of mind if you don’t like the result.
- The price point of a liquid facelift is also attractive, Because it is less invasive and only temporary, it is much cheaper.
The drawbacks are less significant than those of a surgical facelift, but they are still present:
- The injections can cause bruising, particularly below the eyes. This fades and disappears like all bruising.
- The procedure is cheaper, but temporary meaning it will need to be performed more often.
- A liquid facelift can be just as, if not more, effective in areas such as the temples, but in other areas (such as jowls, loose skin at the neck, nasolabial folds, drooping mid-face tissue, and double chin) it will not be as effective.
- If there is excess skin present, a liquid facelift can’t get rid of it.
- A liquid facelift works best if your skin is still tight and elastic, but could just use a bit of plumping in certain areas.
FAQs About Liquid Facelifts?
The price of each type of filler varies and will be based on how much filler is necessary for the treatment area. The more filler that is used, the higher the cost of the treatment. Prior to your injection treatment, a customized treatment plan will be created to fit your aesthetic goals and budget.
Though most patients do not find it necessary, a local anesthetic can be applied to the treatment area prior to injection if you are worried about any pain. Following treatment, you may experience some slight swelling and bruising that will usually subside within a week depending on the treatment area. You should contact our office if you experience any significant pain or abnormal side effects after your Juvéderm treatment.
Many patients will use the strategy of using different fillers for different goals. For example, patients who want a complete facial rejuvenation ( sometimes called a liquid facelift ) will have longer acting fillers like Sculptra placed in areas that need larger volumes but don’t tend to have as many problems; and softer and safer products like Juvederm or another HA in more sensitive areas like the under-eye hollows or the lips.
Injectable fillers slow facial aging by restoring volume to loose and sagging tissue. Think about a balloon, as the balloon is deflated, it becomes floppy; but as you refill and restore volume to the balloon, the skin becomes tense and full. Because the tissue is no longer loose, sagging, and mobile, the collagen does not break down as quickly. Tissue does not stretch or fall as quickly.
All injectable fillers have the potential to be lumpy or irregular. Any time there are injections happening there is a potential for bruising or swelling. Normally filler and botox injections have very minimal downtime. In VERY rare cases filler can put pressure on a blood vessel which is why our office prefers the Hyaluronic acid based fillers that CAN be reversed if necessary, but again it is very uncommon.
A comprehensive facial rejuvenation plan takes into account and targets the 3 components of aging. These include:
- Loss of facial volume
- Loss of collagen and sagging of the skin
- Visible changes in the skin including texture, pigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles
During your consultation, we can make a plan to address some or all of these components to provide you with the best plan to look and feel younger. Facial volume can be restored with facial fillers or a fat transfer
Loss of collagen and sagging of the skin can be addressed by redraping the skin with surgery if necessary
Visible changes of the skin can be addressed by skin care lasers, PRP skin rejuvenation
The best injectables for underneath the eyes are the ones that are safest and the softest. These include the hyaluronic gels Juvederm and Voluma. Both of these are soft and tissue-like for the the skin in the area but can also be dissolved if you don’t like the results. I also like Radiesse if it is used more laterally to the side as it is moldable and actually builds up collagen. Juvederm will last about 8-12 months while Voluma and Radiesse might last up to 2 years. Fat transfer with or without PRP stem cells is my favorite as it directly replaces the lost fat but this requires the need for more recovery time.
The best injectable filler for the lips are the ones that are safest and the softest. The most common injectable filler for the lips is Juvederm as it is extremely soft and safe. And if you don’t like the results, it is dissolvable. I also like Voluma as it is also extremely safe and soft. It lasts almost twice as long as Juvederm but needs to be performed by a plastic surgeon as it takes greater expertise. It is particularly good when it is placed above the pink lip into the philtrum as this causes the lip to delicately turn up and shorten while reducing the vertical lip lines. When targeting the tiny etched little lines above the lip, Volbella is the best option, it gives you the ability to erase lines without changing the lip shape at all or adding any unwanted volume.
The fine lines around the cheeks are caused by multiple factors. These include loss of volume, sun damage, and loss of collage. These are particularly difficult to treat as proper treatment requires approaching the area with comprehensive rejuvenation plan; that is replace volume, redrape sagging tissue, repair surface skin issues, and treat hyperdynamic muscles. Nonsurgical approach includes replacing the volume with injectable fillers and repairing surface skin issues with lasers. Any of the fillers can be used, but Sculptra or Fat transfer with or without PRP stem cells are the most dramatic and cost effective over time especially when combined with the Triple Skin Care Laser System ( Forever Young will restore collagen and reduce the brown sun and age discolorations, the Micro Laser Peel will directly remove UV damage and smooth out fine lines and textural problems, while the Profractional Laser will tighten tissue, reduce fine lines, and induce more collagen ) If the lines are worse and contract with squinting Botox can also be used to soften these lines.
Any of the fillers including Juvederm and Voluma can be used, but Sculptra or Fat transfer with or without PRP stem cells are the most dramatic and cost effective over time. Placement in the temple must be performed with a skilled injector as placement needs to be placed under the temporalis fascia to avoid lumps and next to the orbital bones to help elevated the brows and improve the cosmetics of the lower eyelid.
Fat transfer with or without PRP stem cell augmentation is the most natural way to provide or replace volume in the face. The procedure is performed by first taking fat cells from your abdomen, waist, or thighs; then processing the fat so we have only fat tissue, and then injecting it into the face wherever it is needed. The most important benefit is that it provides your own natural tissue. You are providing volume replacement with your own tissue. The tissue is soft and it is living. This is why it is usually difficult to answer the question about how long it will last. Because it is living tissue, it theoretically lasts forever. The problem lies more in the fact that we all lose more fat volume in the face with time and aging. The second benefit is that it is ultimately less expensive over time because you are not paying the overhead of injectable fillers. We do not have to pay a medical device company half of the syringe fee as you are providing your own fillers. Finally, you have unlimited supply.
The major benefit of using injectable fillers is convenience. Injecting fillers takes about 5-10 minutes after we already know you. The product is directly taken off the shelf. And for the most part, there is no significant recovery time beyond some minor swelling and rare but potential bruising. Most patients return to work the same day or the next day. Fat transfer takes at least one week to return to work because of swelling and bruising. The hyaluronic acid fillers Juvederm, Voluma, Restylane, Perlane, Belotero, and Bellafill can be dissolved if you don’t like the result. This is not true of fat. Finally, injectable fillers can be placed with more precision. This is particularly important around the lips. One strategy for lip augmentation includes performing a fat transfer for more lasting bulk but adding Juvederm along the outlines of the lip for precision.
Juvederm is indicated to last up to a year. In our office we use Juvederm Ultra Plus XC which is indicated for over one year depending on the volume injected into the area. Highly mobile areas such as the nasolabial folds and lips tend to break down the product faster.
The longest lasting filler that we use is Sculptra. It lasts between 2-3 years depending on the volume injected into the area. Fat transfer can last 5 to 10 years but requires the need for recovery time.
It may take a few days to see the full results of your liquid facelift treatment. Typically, it only takes one treatment session to achieve your desired outcome. However, you can schedule a follow-up appointment if you would like to add more volume than received with your initial treatment.
For those wondering whether a liquid facelift might be the best cosmetic solution for you, we invite you to come in for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Chang or one of the cosmetic laser and injection nurses to explore whether you would make a good candidate. To find out more whether Aesthetica can help you, contact us online or at 703-729-5553 to arrange an appointment. Dr. Phillip Chang is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Northern Virginia near Leesburg, Virginia and an expert in a wide variety of cosmetic treatments.
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