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AAD Looks Into New Minimally Invasive Rejuvenating Treatments

Posted: August 11, 2008

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Monopolar and bipolar radiofrequency, pulse infrared light and infrared lasers all work by deeply heating the skin's tissue, which causes collagen contraction and new collagen production without visibly wounding the skin. These procedures typically require four to six treatment sessions, with side effects limited to redness and swelling that last several hours.

When the skin loses volume from the loss and movement of the subcutaneous fat layer, the result is a drawn appearance with more angular features. To replace volume, a number of proven fillers can be used to plump up the skin. For example, hyaluronic acid fillers last four to 12 months, while polylactic acid and hydroxyapatite are semi-permanent fillers that last from 12 to 18 months. In each case, these filler materials stimulate collagen production, as the material injected into the skin is replaced by the body's own collagen.

"Fillers are an excellent option for softening angular lines, filling the hollows under the eyes and early jowl formation, and correcting deep smile lines," said Kauvar. "A patient with more advanced aging could benefit from a combination of procedures, such as lasers and fillers, to improve the overall appearance of their skin."

Kauvar added that a permanent filler, polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), is now available in the United States. This filler consists of tiny acrylic plastic beads suspended in collagen that, once placed into the skin, cannot be reversed.

Unlike the hyaluronic acid fillers that can be dissolved at any time with an enzyme that reverses the effects, PMMA cannot be removed. Kauvar cautioned patients to thoroughly discuss their expectations with their dermatologist before considering this irreversible procedure.