Surgeon Compares New Laser Procedure to Conventional Facelift

With so many technological advancements changing the field of cosmetic surgery, patients have options that are shorter and less invasive than techniques of the past. Lasers have been instrumental in the shift toward these procedures.

Energy was applied in grid pattern, with squares of the neck and lower face treated individually. This is one 54-year-old female patient who was about to undergo the procedure.

Lasers have been used to improve techniques in skin rejuvenation, liposuction and surgical incisions. Just five years ago, Cynosure’s 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser received FDA approval for performing surgical incision, excision, vaporization, ablation, and coagulation of soft tissues. Since then, cosmetic surgeons have continued to implement laser technology in new and interesting ways.

Sacramento facial surgeon Dr. Patrick McMenamin has introduced a new “laser facelift” procedure that he says can provide high patient satisfaction and shorter recovery at a lower cost than the traditional facelift. He explains the procedure in a new issue of the journal Facial Plastic Surgery, comparing it to the traditional facelift that he also performs.

The laser facelift procedure was partly inspired by findings from plastic surgeon Barry DiBernardo and his colleagues, who found that dual wavelength laser lipolysis could provide significant improvements in skin elasticity. Rather than fat removal, Dr. McMenamin’s goal was to achieve facial skin contraction and tightening.

Between May 2008 and May 2010, 40 patients underwent a laser facelift in the doctor’s Sacramento office surgery suite. Patients had different needs, so their procedures were tailored accordingly, with some patients receiving a full facelift or neck lift.

During the surgery, laser energy was carefully applied to the patient’s face in a grid pattern, while a minimal amount of fatty tissue was removed.

Most patients were back to work within 7 days, compared to the 10-12 day recovery period Dr. McMenamin typically sees with his traditional facelift patients. They also showed high satisfaction. “Although numerical data are not available and the number of patients is small, these patients appear to have been more satisfied than those undergoing non-laser face-lifts in my practice,” the doctor writes.

So is the laser facelift superior to a traditional facelift? According to Dr. McMenamin, it is a better procedure for addressing certain conditions. “I can now get better results in the nasolabial fold area, the lower part of the lip, and the jowls,” he explains, and “using this laser on the neck yields results that can be as good as those achieved by doing a traditional facelift.”

It also seems to be an excellent procedure for patients who are a) not yet ready for a full facelift, and b) would like a shorter recovery period. You can access the study abstract on Pubmed.

Read more about laser procedures here in Maryland.

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Dr. Michael J. Will cosmetic surgeon Maryland received his bachelor’s degree from Washington and Jefferson College, his dental degree from Georgetown University and his medical degree from the University of Texas.

He completed his General Surgery and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery training at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Will also completed a General Cosmetic Surgery fellowship at the Cosmetic Surgery Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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