Laser resurfacing vs. Surgical Facelift, which is right for you?

Laser skin resurfacing improves the fine and deep wrinkles in the skin caused by sun damage and aging. It will smooth the fine “crepe paper” wrinkling under the eyes and  smooth wrinkles between the eyes  and the crow’s feet area. Laser resurfacing will also remove the hyper-pigmentation associated with cumulative sun damage (“age spots” or “sun spots”). If your concerns are of the QUALITY and/or TEXTURE of your facial skin, then laser skin resurfacing is for you.

Exactly how laser resurfacing achieves these results is beyond the scope of this blog; the details of laser resurfacing have been explained in detail in another.

Face lift surgery corrects SAGGING skin but can not address texture, fine wrinkles or sun damaged (hyper pigmented) .skin. The sagging excess skin under the chin ( “turkey neck” or “waddle”  to which many of my  patients  have refer  to this area), the excess , sagging skin along the jaw (jowls) or the deep creases which extend from the nose to the mouth (nasolabial creases or folds) are all corrected by  facelift surgery. Facelift surgery removes excess skin  and lifts the remaining  skin and sometimes underlying fat and muscle (depending on the surgical technique utilized) into a new and more aesthetically pleasing position to correct any an many time all of the aforementioned problem areas. How many areas are addressed at one time depends on the surgical technique used by  the surgeon.

Most patients equate “facelift” with the areas of the face below the cheeks, but this is not technically correct. Forehead lifts achieve  remarkable result which address the sagging  skin in the area of the upper eye lids, reposition the brow to a more pleasing aesthetic position and permanently remove or soften the wrinkles between the eye brows (the  “frown lines”) and the transverse wrinkles of the forehead. I utilize the endoscopic brow lift technique which markedly reduces the scar length and avoids long term , permanent numbness of the scalp which occurs with the “open forehead technique”. Laser resurfacing can greatly  improve the frown lines and transverse for head creases, but not to the degree that surgical forehead can. That is because the surgical approach addresses the underlying muscle which produce the wrinkles in the first place. Laser simply removes them, but given enough time the wrinkles can return to a certain degree because the underlying muscles which create them have not been modified.

Laser resurfacing CAN be utilized with certain types of facelifting procedures.  The traditional facelift procedures are not safe to use  with laser resurfacing at the same time because of the potential for injuring the skin. Endoscopic facelift techniques are safe to use in conjunction with  full face laser resurfacing. I have used these techniques together for more than a decade safely and  with outstanding results. Laser resurfacing around the eyes can be safely done is certain type of blepharoplasty techniques are not utilized. Once again, there are blepharoplasty techniques which can be used in conjunction with laser resurfacing which will yield outstanding results;  outcomes  which could not otherwise be achieved by either technique alone.

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