August 1, 2011
Plastic Surgery 2.0: What’s promising in non-surgical face and body fixes
There’s an arsenal of new non-surgical fixes, procedures and treatments that can help someone regain some lost contours and refine skin texture, with minimal downtime and less expense than traditional plastic surgery.
Dr. Alexander Rivkin is a Yale-trained cosmetic surgeon based in Los Angeles. His practice is focused exclusively on non surgical aesthetic treatments and he regularly trains other doctors on injectables and other skin rejuvenating methods.
Dr. Rivkin is also Monsters and Critics go-to expert for all questions pertaining to facial plastic surgery and has commented on major news stories involving celebrity face-work as well as sharing his expert opinion on various procedures.
At his offices inside Westside Aesthetics, Dr. Rivkin and his staff employ a variety of the latest nonsurgical cosmetic procedures.
Monsters and Critics asked Dr. Rivkin about some of the latest procedures available.
What are some of your machines that you use for various purposes?
Dr. Rivkin: I have the Soprano hair removal laser – it is a diode laser (the industry gold standard), but it is one of the only ones on the market that has significantly reduced treatment pain. My patients tell me that they no longer dread their bikini laser session.
I also have the Fraxel Re:store – a great skin resurfacing technology that has shown consistent safety and efficacy over the 5 years that it has been in widespread use throughout the world. it is my go to resurfacing laser for patients who cannot afford the downtime of a more intense laser like the active fx fractional CO2.
And I have the Active FX / Deep FX Fractional CO2 laser. This is a device manufactured by Lumenis – the oldest and most reliable laser company in the world. CO2 laser has always been the gold standard of skin resurfacing but it was always a traumatic procedure to undergo.
By fractioning the big beam into lots of little beams, the downtime is reduced to a week and discomfort is much less than before and the results are still excellent.
I have the latest generation of Thermage Radiofrequency skin tightening technology. The device can be used on the face, neck or body and we get subtle, yet effective skin tightening for those patients that are good candidates for the procedure.
I am always evaluating new technology and am currently looking at Zeltiq and Ulthera. i always want to be certain of the efficacy of every device I get.
My patients deserve more than the latest beauty fad, so I always wait to adopt devices until they have proven themselves over several years on the market.
This is why I did not get Zerona. It came out with huge fanfare and publicity, but most doctors are now aware that the device is about as effective at reducing fat as a flashlight (or 8 flashlights attached to octopus arms) is.
With the tougher job markets and aging population, the rush to try these various non-surgical cosmetic devices and treatments is skyrocketing. But Dr. Rivkin warns about going to Medi-Spas and strip mall Botox bargain storefronts where the people administering the injections may not have sufficient training in aesthetic medicine.
Dr. Rivkin: You have to have confidence in the person providing your aesthetic injections or laser procedure. These days, there are plenty of doctors, nurses and PAs across a variety of specialties who are very skilled at these procedures because they do them all the time, and they have the necessary training.
Unfortunately, there are still a large number of fly-by-night places that lure patients in with cut-rate Botox and discounted laser treatments. I recommend everyone to go by reputation and recommendations, not price.
If a place feels sketchy or dirty – listen to your instincts and walk out the door.
If you get ushered in to a “consultant” who pressures you into buying multi-thousand dollar packages and tries to tempt you with prices that are only good if you book right now – run! You have to either meet the doctor responsible for the facility or know that he is easily available in case anything goes wrong.
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery — and the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery report that over 80% of procedures done for cosmetic reasons were non-surgical. What do you make of surgery on the face versus other procedures?
Dr. Rivkin: My philosophy is that your first cosmetic surgery is your best shot at a great result, whether its a facelift or rhinoplasty or blepharoplasty.
Revision procedures are notoriously risky because the scarring in the tissue makes complications, as well as poor results which are much more likely. Procedures like facelifts have about a ten-year duration of effect.
So, to avoid multiple revision procedures, I always tell people to put surgery off until you absolutely need it. If there is a way to accomplish your aesthetic goals non-surgically, you should do that for as long as possible.