Unplastic Surgery --- the Latest Techniques in Non-Invasive Cosmetic Enhancement

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Ever watched Extreme Makeover on television and wished that you could achieve the same results but without the surgery? More and more fantasy beauty solutions are becoming here-and-now realities. As society moves in the direction of looking for more subtle changes in their approach to cosmetic surgery, new and better lasers are beginning to surface on the market pushing their results to the limit, at the same time minimizing patient discomfort and downtime.

Advances in technology have brought more treatments to the market, as well as made several that are affordable for more people. These factors play a part in the profusion of anti-aging treatments and throngs of medical offices, spas and even hair salons offering cosmetic anti-aging services.

Many of the most popular procedures are non-invasive (no needles), non-surgical (no cutting) and very safe when performed by a trained doctor. Two of the newest are the FRAXEL Laser and the Thermage procedure, both of which can quickly and easily improve the health and appearance of your skin with little or no downtime.

“Photoshop” for your skin: The new FRAXEL Laser uses a device specially designed to alter only portions of the target skin tissue. This “fractional photothermolysis” process, in theory, is similar to the way a digital photo image can be enhanced pixel by pixel. One of the secrets to the technology is that the fractional resurfacing targets just the unhealthy skin, sparing the healthy skin cells.

"Our patients have been thrilled with the results from Fraxel laser treatment. The procedure is well tolerated and most of our patients return to their normal activities the next day. The clinical success and patient satisfaction we've seen in a relatively short period of time is remarkable.” Says Dr Kenneth Lee, the first doctor in South East Asia to start using the Fraxel laser in his clinic in Singapore.

Treatments take about about 60 minutes, and include application of a topical anesthetic ointment to reduce the possible slight discomfort. The doctor guides the laser over the area to be treated, which can include virtually any part of the body. The results can be impressive. Fine lines and small wrinkles around the eyes and mouth can fade away, and uneven pigmentation and brown spots caused by the sun will also lighten. The FRAXEL Laser is particularly effective in improving the appearance of acne scars which have not responded to conventional laser treatments.

Three to six treatments spaced a month apart produce optimal results. For the busy executive, side effects are minimal and generally consist of mild “sunburn” appearance and some minor swelling which usually goes away in just a day or so. Makeup can be applied right away and one can resume all normal activities immediately.

Radio frequency energy to the rescue: The Thermage procedure can reduce wrinkles, but its strong suit is in battling the appearance of loose or aging skin, especially in patients with jowls or deep nasolabial lines. A new indication for the Thermage procedure is the tightening of the skin around the delicate eye area.

Thermage is not a laser. Instead, the device uses radio frequency (RF) energy. An advanced cryogen-cooling spray protects the skin’s top layer while the RF energy gently heats and modifies the soft, underlying connective tissues. Collagen in the skin contracts during the process, and new collagen production is stimulated. As this happens, fine lines and wrinkles fill in, and deeper frown lines and grooves soften.

While loose skin anywhere on the body can be treated, the most common sites are the face and neck, where the tightening of the skin produces a mild, non-surgical brow- or face-lift effect. The full effect of the treatment continues to develop over a few months and can last for a year or more, at which time another Thermage procedure can return the desired results.

Recently, the results of Thermage just got even better as it introduced its largest 3.0-cm2 ThermaTip. With this larger tip, doctors can save time when performing procedures, thus improving patient comfort and results. The expanded treatment range allows Thermage to be performed on the most sensitive patients. The 3.0-cm2 tip has twice the surface area as the older 1.5-cm2 tip used by some doctors, allowing the same area of skin to be covered in half the time and improving clinical results.

“The results of the Thermage treatment just got even better with this new Thermage tip, and that is what we are using for all our patients at the clinic. Patient response has been very positive so far” Says Dr Low Chai Ling of The Sloane Clinic in Singapore, one of the first few clinics in Singapore to introduce the Thermage procedure using the newer, faster Thermatip.

Like FRAXEL, there is no bleeding or bruising, and no reason not to enjoy normal activities after treatment. So for those who are contemplating a makeover without the pain, these latest advances in cosmetic medicine today may just make non-surgical makeovers a reality.

Dr Kenneth Lee & Dr Low Chai Ling are both Fraxel and Thermage certified physicians practicing at The Sloane Clinic in Singapore.

The Sloane Clinic branches are located at :

CitySphere branch: 30 Raffles Place #03-01 Caltex House, Tel: 65-6533 2522 and

VillageSpace branch: 43 Jalan Merah Saga #01-66 Chip Bee Gardens, Tel: 65-6471 1108

You may read more bout the doctors and the procedures at http://www.sloaneclinic.com.

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Lilian Teo
SKIN ASIA EDITORIALS
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