This page gives detailed information
about Laser Facelift (skin resurfacing).
Richard V. Dowden, M.D., C.M., F.A.C.S.
Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery
Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery, Inc.
6770 Mayfield Road, Suite 410
Cleveland, Ohio 44124
Lasers are of many types and serve many purposes. The laser used by Plastic Surgeons for facelifts and skin resurfacing emits a powerful beam of a specific wavelength of light. The beam is strong enough to heat the surface of the skin, causing a superficial burn of the tissue. This removes the surface
layer, including nearly all the dead cells, and some of the living cells, and also causes the underlying collagen to tighten up somewhat. When the skin surface regrows, the skin is smoother and tighter than it was.
Although commonly referred to as a Laser Facelift, a more accurate name would be Laser Skin Resurfacing. There are definitely situations in which an actual surgical facelift is required, rather than only the tightening that the laser can provide. The Laser Resurfacing has much in common with dermabrasion or chemical skin peel, but unlike those methods, has the additional action of tightening the underlying collagen framework of the skin.
The effectiveness depends on the area, and depends greatly on the depth of the skin creases:
The advantages of Laser Facelift over surgery in general are:
- horizontal creases of forehead - very effective
- vertical furrows between eyebrows - somewhat effective
- upper eyelids - minimally effective
- lower eyelids - very effective
- crows-feet creases - moderately effective
- fine cheek wrinkles - very effective
- deep cheek creases - minimally effective
- fine creases around lips - very effective
- deep creases around lips - minimally effective
- neck creases - minimally effective
But it must be remembered that many situations require a surgical facelift rather than, or in addition to, a Laser Facelift. The Laser can smooth the wrinkled skin that is present, but cannot get rid of large quantities of excess skin; that is the purpose of a surgical facelift.
- No cutting required
- Do not need general anesthesia for small areas
- Outpatient procedure
- Virtually no blood loss
- Normally no scars
The advantages of a Laser Facelift over dermabrasion or chemical peeling are:
Any skin resurfacing involves some degree of pain, time for recovery, and expense. Postoperatively, there is about ten days of weeping sensitive skin, followed by a progression of skin color from red, through bright pink, to light skin color. The skin may have a permanent lighter color than the surrounding skin; this can make any skin resurfacing unsatisfactory for people with deeply pigmented skin.
- More controllable uniform depth
- Concurrent tightening of the underlying collagen matrix
The costs, of course, depend upon the size of the area treated, and how many areas are to be treated. The fees for laser treatment by Dr Dowden include: pre-operative examination and testing, operating room, anesthesiologist, recovery room, medical supplies and dressings, surgeons fee, the laser, and checkups for twelve months. If the treatments are done in conjunction with other operations, there can be slight reductions in the costs.
One can find surgeons offering lower fees for this surgery, and although lower fees do not necessarily mean that the surgeon is not experienced, there are several questions to which prospective patients must learn the answers:
You want to be certain the answer is yes to all of these before deciding.
- Is the surgeon certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery?
- Does the surgeon have considerable experience with the surgery?
- Is the surgical facility fully accredited for general anesthesia?
- Will there be an M.D. Anesthesiologist present?
- Will the surgeon be doing the surgery himself/herself?
- Can you be sure the surgeon is not just supervising trainees?
- Does the quoted fee include everything mentioned above?
Virtually all cosmetic surgery is prepaid, but various financing options are available. It is not appropriate for health insurance to cover cosmetic surgery, and Dr. Dowden will not participate in attempts to submit cosmetic surgery to insurance companies.
Complications are very unlikely after cosmetic surgery, but can occur in a very small percentage of patients, even in the hands of a highly skilled and qualified plastic surgeon. Any procedure carries the possibility of anesthetic risks, infection, suboptimal scarring, and poor healing. Permanent disturbance of skin pigmentation is possible, especially in people with deeply pigmented skin.
For the most current cost information, link to the cost page.
It is not always necessary to stay overnight after Laser Facelift. Recovery time varies from one person to another, and depends upon the person's willingness to be seen in public when the skin is in its pink phase of healing, but most people are back to work in ten days. Makeup can be used to hide the discoloration, but that is not always an option, particularly for men. Strong sunlight exposure should be avoided for up to six months.
Images Copyright © R.V.Dowden, MD, 1993.
If you are interested in laser skin rejuvenation and want to find a board-certified Plastic Surgeon in your area who is qualified to do it, call the referral service of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons at (800)-635-0635, or check:
http://www.plasticsurgery.org. To find out if a surgeon whose name you have been given is truly a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, put the name into the search engine at http://www.abms.org to find out.
Images Copyright © R.V. Dowden, MD, 1993.
This page Copyright © R.V. Dowden, MD, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.
This information may not be reproduced or distributed electronically or in print without permission from Dr. Dowden.
Note that while the information given by Dr. Dowden during a consultation is completely current and up-to-date, the information of this website is only as current as the date of last update, and therefore may become out-of-date.
Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery
6770 Mayfield Road, Suite 410
(Mayfield Heights) Cleveland, Ohio 44124
Note: To ensure privacy for our patients, all of our outgoing phone lines have their caller ID permanently blocked; if your phone does not accept blocked ID calls you will not be able to receive any calls back from our office.
Last Update: 6:58 PM on 08/01/2012
URL of this page:
URL of Dr. Dowden's home page: http://dr-dowden.com/index.html
Keywords: Plastic Surgery; Cosmetic Surgery; Laser Facelift; Laser dermabrasion; Laserbrasion; Laser skin peel; Laser skin resurfacing; Laser skin treatment; Laser skin rejuvenation