COSMETIC PROCEDURES: A Guide for answering the questions:
‘WHEN?’ AND ‘HOW LONG?’
This topic also qualifies for the title: “We wish we had a nickel for every time this question is asked.”
It starts this way: “Doctor, I want to have a (fill in the blank).”
“How long will my results last?” -and-
“When should I have this done?”
To try to give everyone a basic response, we’ll provide a list of many of the most popular procedures. But first, this message:
** ALL ESTIMATES ARE GENERALIZATIONS OR AVERAGES **
Ballpark figures. Naturally, each of you is unique. The following factors all play a part in the results of any procedure:
- Skin tone, elasticity, tissue quality
- General health /diet
- Fitness / exercise routine
- Habits (Are you a smoker? Alcohol consumption?)
- Will you follow directions?
To varying degrees, all of the above will play a role in your results. Now- some answers. We’ll start with the non-surgical, often-repeated procedures.
EVERY DAY- Topical Treatments: These would include moisturizers, sunscreens, gentle exfoliants; things you apply to your skin surface
- WEEKLY-OR EVERY FEW WEEKS – Deeper Exfoliating
- Deeper Exfoliants, including certain Retinol-containing products that have greater strengths.
- 3-MONTH TO 6-MONTH INTERVALS – BOTOX, etc.
- Botox, and similar injections. This is the average length of effectiveness (keeping frown and crow’s feet lines away)
- 6 – 9 MONTH INTERVALS – FILLERS
- Juvederm, Restylane, and Perlane- Hyaluronic acid fillers, for nasolabial folds, lips, eye areas.
- 9 – 12 MONTHS – RADIESSE
- Also a “filler,” with Calcium Hydroxyapatite – a thicker substance in gel form. Used often to fill hollow cheek areas, nasolabial folds, etc.
- YEARLY (if appropriate) – SKIN ‘RESURFACING’
- Chemical peels, dermabrasion, lighter laser skin resurfacing- *Depending on how deep or extensive the process:
- A light chemical peel (such as Obagi’s Blue Peel), can be administered singly, or in a series of several treatments, removing upper layers of skin. This type of peel encourages new collagen production, improving elasticity, texture, and addressing fine lines and discolorations.)
- IPL – Intense Pulsed-light Laser Treatments
- (and similar light and laser treatments)- a series of visits, depending on desired result
* ‘UP TO 2 YEARS’ – This is the time frame used for Voluma – one of the new-generation products used as a filler, and billed as the longest-lasting. Voluma is used to fill hollows in the cheeks, as well as other areas of the face. As with all of the other fill products and muscle relaxing injections, the results may vary between individual patients.
- Phenol peel – or other, heavier chemical peel
- Laser skin resurfacing – in which significant upper layers are removed.
SURGICAL PROCEDURE TIMETABLES:
Because surgical procedures address much more than surface skin layers, results are much longer-lasting.
FACIAL SURGICAL PROCEDURES: One Time – or repeat not sooner than 5 to 10 years
- Facelift, Mid- or mini-facelift, Brow Lift, Neck Lift, Blepharoplasty (eyelid lift): These are considered permanent procedures. In other words, you will always have the improvement you gained with your surgery. But, of course, we all continue to age and change. After a period of years, it is possible to repeat these procedures- if necessary or desired.
- BREAST AUGMENTATION / BREAST LIFT: Years
Very often, Breast Augmentation is a one-time procedure. There is no expiration date on breast implants, and as long as there is no problem, there is no need to replace them. However, an implant may deflate at some point, or a patient may develop scar tissue around the implant that will change the shape and position of the breast. Sometimes, of course, patients simply decide they’d like to go larger, or smaller. These are all reasons for surgical revision, and replacement of the implants.
In addition, with age, our tissue changes. Patients may note differences in their augmented breasts brought on by natural body changes, and want another surgical adjustment. It is not uncommon for patients who have had a breast augmentation in their 20s, to return a decade or more later, seeking a Breast Lift, implant replacement, etc.
Similarly, Breast Lift results can be long-lasting; depending on the individual’s skin quality and tone. Patients usually have this procedure one time. Or, they may determine they wish to repeat after a period of years.
- TUMMY TUCK – usually One Time
Again, most patients have one Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty). Age, and weight change may eventually lead a patient to seek further abdominal revision, and/or Liposuction.
- LIPOSUCTION – “Permanent”
The word permanent- is in quotes. Naturally, you will still be able to gain weight, but the fat removed through Liposuction is not likely to reappear as much, in the areas treated.
- FAT TRANSFER – Permanent
Fat removed through Liposuction, is injected into areas where a patient wants more fullness (very often, in the buttocks, and facially, to fill cheek hollows and deep creases). When the fat is injected into the new area, some will resorb, and not be noticeable. When the transferred fat stabilizes, within the first few months, it may well last a lifetime.
Something to remember when you’re considering any cosmetic procedure, and this is something I repeat to my Bay Area and San Jose Cosmetic Surgery patients on a regular basis: *Anything a Plastic Surgeon does, can be undone by a patient’s lifestyle choices. Cosmetic surgical procedures are adjuncts to – not substitutes for, a good, ongoing, diet, exercise, and skin care routine. With that understood, it could be time to check your calendar, and plan for your next Touch-Up!
(A Stanford-trained, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Vincent Lepore offers a full range of Cosmetic Surgery and Medspa services in San Jose. His Los Gatos, Campbell and San Jose Botox patients make frequent return visits, and enjoy the convenience of his office, located in the Samaritan Medical Plaza, steps away from major freeway access)