The latest less invasive cosmetic treatments
by Melanie Cummings
It’s cosmetic surgery and it’s all about improvement ““ to feel as good about ourselves as we look. With sound
science, accredited expertise and respectful professionalism to support the decision for change it’s little wonder why more than half a billion dollars were spent on cosmetic procedures in Canada in 2003, (the latest figure available from Medicard Finance, a company that collects data on cosmetic procedures in Canada).
Innovation is constant in the industry and below is a slate of local practitioners offering the latest less invasive procedures from flattening our bellies to pumping up our cheeks. It’s also worthwhile to log on to The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons website, cpso.on.ca, which provides a cosmetic surgery checklist for anyone
considering making the move to improve.
Body-Jet And Smart Lipo
The nearly four-decade evolution of liposuction surgery heralds two new revolutions that are less invasive than any of their precursors:”¯Body-Jet and SmartLipo.
The prefix “lipos” is borrowed from the Greek language meaning fat. The suction part involves a stainless steel tube, called a canula, attached to a powerful vacuum that is capable of drawing up the fatty tissue deposited beneath the skin in our”¯inner and outer thighs, abdomen, knees, upper arms, chest, and even under our necks and chins.
Now, the”¯procedure of removing unwanted fat from our bodies is made easier and more accurate with these two new technologies, which typically only require one treatment for a given area.
According to plastic surgeon Dr. Douglas Grace, only a local anesthetic is”¯needed in each procedure and because it is less invasive there is less bruising and recovery times are much faster “¯”“ down from two weeks to two days.
“It will make you change the way you think about liposuction,” says the founder of the Grace Clinic (481 John St., Burlington).
Introduced to Canada this year from Europe, Body-Jet uses the gentle pulses of water to dislodge fat cells from connective tissue. Without traumatizing blood vessels and nerves Body-Jet simultaneously removes fat from problem areas allowing for a more sculpted shape.
SmartLipo uses gentle “fat melting” laser technology. It’s deemed minimally invasive because only a few incisions are needed. In fact, they are so small stitches aren’t required afterward. In short measure a tube that is the size of an uncooked angel hair pasta noodle is inserted under the skin to gently melt fat, leaving skin tighter and recovery rapid.
“It’s perfect for minimizing small, localized areas of fat, which are resistant to diet and exercise,” says Dr. Grace.
Patients report slight pinching and minimal discomfort during the numbing process and during the treatment, they often say they feel slight warmth in the area, he adds.
There’s also a nice side benefit to SmartLipo; promoting the growth of collagen under the skin. Through aging, collagen breaks down due to sun damage or injury and that’s what causes skin to become loose, saggy and wrinkled.”¯Producing”¯collagen helps tighten skin and create a more youthful appearance. Double jackpot!
Botox And Esthelis
From the eyes up there are facial lines that make their mark and stay: like the frown lines on the forehead and the crow’s feet around the eyes. Head south and it’s a story of filling in the gaps where collagen loss causes cheeks to become concave and lips to flatten.
Botox does the job up top while Esthelis takes care of voids below the eyes, says Terri Clarkson, a registered nurse who specializes in injectables at certified plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Patterson’s Hamilton Plastic Surgery Centre (14 Duke St., Hamilton).
Among hyaluronic acid fillers, Esthelis is the newest on the market. It puts volume back into the cheeks and lips and fills the finer lines around the mouth adding smoothness to places where aging has deflated collagen. Botox injections relax the muscles that make frowns appear around the brows and eyes.
“Each is a little step on the ladder, as opposed to a long-term remedy or a surgical procedure,” says Clarkson.
Both men and women in their mid-20s to early 60s opt for this non-surgical solution to facial improvement, says Clarkson.”Almost anyone can have injections,” she adds.
Botox injections are typically requested two to four times a year and the hyaluronic acid Esthelis lasts for one year before another is requested for maintenance.
“It’s a tiered process,” says Clarkson, “to build up to a desired appearance. After that clients usually opt for regular maintenance with one syringe, one to two times a year.”
It’s become so routine for some that coming in for an injection is like setting up a hair appointment, Clarkson observes. Some clients heading to a special event have even opted for same day injections. And while there may be some bruising and minor swelling from the needle pokes, make-up easily hides it, adds Clarkson. “The changes each makes to one’s face are so subtle observers comment on clients’ rested appearance, thinking that is the reason they look so rejuvenated,” says Clarkson.
Botox measures by unit about $12 each, so repairing crow’s feet, for example, typically requires 30 units or a total cost of about $300. Filling in a frown and perhaps lines on the forehead as well, take the total number of units up to 60 to 70 units putting the cost for all three at $720 to $840.
When it comes to Esthelis the cost of one syringe is $600 for lips and about $1,200 to $2,400 for cheeks, because filling in this area on the face requires two to four syringes.
While the gold standard in getting rid of the wall of fat in the middle section is a tummy tuck, for those with a bit of a paunch there is a non-surgical solution in the ultrasound technique employed by Liposonix, says Dr. Otto Weiglein, who introduced the procedure last November to his Centre for Personal Surgery (520 Locust St., Burlington).
“Up until six months to a year ago, people who could just pinch an inch below their belly button had no treatment options except liposuction,” says Dr. Weiglein. “Now there is and good results are being reported.”
Liposonix addresses the desire for an easy solution that doesn’t require anesthetic or a protracted recovery time.
After measuring, marking, weigh-in and photos, clients are ready for about a one-time one-hour session (at a cost of about $1,900) of destroying fat cells over the problem area via a high-energy ultrasound that is much like the process of blasting kidney stones into powder. Liposonix does the same but instead targets adipose (fat) tissue where it lives, between the skin and muscle, to a depth of 1.1 to 1.8 centimetres. Most other procedures don’t deliver as much ultrasound power. Compare 17 watts per square centimeter to the 1,000 watts per square centimeter that Liposonix unleashes.
“It takes a lot of energy to destroy fat,” says Dr. Weiglein.
And since adults don’t make new fat cells it’s a permanent correction, says Dr. Weiglein. The body’s metabolism eventually flushes the floating fat tissues, which is why results are noticeable after eight to 12 weeks.
While no anesthetic is needed patients are offered sedatives taken orally and should have someone drive them home afterward, where they’ll likely sleep for the rest of the day. There is some bruising and tenderness but the skin is undamaged through the process, which feels more like a really intense abdominal workout.
Dr. Weiglein’s service currently focuses on the abdominals but he said he will later use Liposonix on the legs and knee area where fat sometimes accumulates.