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The Liquid Facelift – Truths In Reporting and Advertising?

On August 12, 2009, CBS had a program in which they demonstrated the so-called “liquid facelift.” ¬†As it is shown, there were injections placed in appropriate areas of the face to diminish facial lines and furrows by injecting a product called Sculptra TM. ¬†It incorrectly refers to Sculptra TM as being a ¬†filler that was just recently approved, since it has been approved by the FDA for years for the treatment of immune-suppressed patients, and particularly directed at AIDS patients.
I take issue with describing this injectable as a “liquid facelift.” ¬†In fact, it is not. ¬†It is simply an injection to replace some of the volume loss in certain areas of the face. ¬†It definitely does not give or even approximate the results of a mini facelift or regular facelift. ¬†To compare the results of an injectable to a facelift is grossly unfair to the public and plays on the sensitivities of those who are looking for an alternative to surgery. ¬†If what an individual needs is a facelift, then they are wasting their money on temporary filler.
Please do not misunderstand me.  There is nothing wrong with injectables.  I use them in my practice frequently with great success.  The whole idea is that it is very important to match the problem with the correct solution.  By that I mean that if there are already set-in facial problems like jowls, sagginess and volume loss, the most effective way of dealing with it is through a surgical procedure. Anything else would be at best a compromise.  For most patients, it would be a waste and a disappointment.
If, on the other hand, the patient is looking to treat early aging changes such as volume loss without sagginess or jowls, commonly seen after age 30, then an injectable such as Sculptra TM would be a good alternative. It will help minimize some of the volume loss effects of aging for approximately a year or two.  However, the physician injecting this filler needs to have a very good artistic eye in order to be able to inject the filler where it will have the most effect.  The goal is to minimize the normal shadows of light and to minimize the highs and lows that tend to develop as a result of facial aging.
The cost is another factor one needs to consider since it is likely that one may need $1,000.00 and $2,000.00 worth of Sculptra TM to accomplish the desired effect.  This needs to be taken into consideration because when one uses facial filler the effects are only temporary.  Within a period of 6 to 24 months, the effect is completely lost. When comparing this with the results of a surgical procedure like a facelift, one must realize that though the effects of a facelift may be modified by time (the aging process), the improvements will be with the person for life.
The report stated that you could go out the night of the injection and that is in essence, untrue.  Even in the hands of the most skilled professional, a moderate amount of swelling occurs with the injection of any filler within the face.  Bruising can also occur.  One should probably allow 3-4 days after an injectable before planning to attend a social engagement.
As with any other filler, Sculptra TM is a volume replacement agent which will be useful on a temporary basis. We should never call an injectable a “liquid facelift.” ¬†We should call it exactly what is it, which is the correction of volume loss by use of a facial filler (injectable). This is much more accurate and honest reporting.
This blog entry was written by G.D. Castillo, M.D., FACS; Triple board-certified, Director of Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Skin Restoration and Laser Institute.

On August 12, 2009, CBS had a program in which they demonstrated the so-called “liquid facelift.” ¬†As it is shown, there were injections placed in appropriate areas of the face to diminish facial lines and furrows by injecting a product called Sculptra TM. ¬†It incorrectly refers to Sculptra TM as being a ¬†filler that was just recently approved, since it has been approved by the FDA for years for the treatment of immune-suppressed patients, and particularly directed at AIDS patients.

I take issue with describing this injectable as a “liquid facelift.” ¬†In fact, it is not. ¬†It is simply an injection to replace some of the volume loss in certain areas of the face. ¬†It definitely does not give or even approximate the results of a mini facelift or regular facelift. ¬†To compare the results of an injectable to a facelift¬†is grossly unfair to the public and plays on the sensitivities of those who are looking for an alternative to surgery. ¬†If what an individual needs is a facelift, then they are wasting their money on temporary filler.

Please do not misunderstand me.  There is nothing wrong with injectables.  I use them in my practice frequently with great success.  The whole idea is that it is very important to match the problem with the correct solution.  By that I mean that if there are already set-in facial problems like jowls, sagginess and volume loss, the most effective way of dealing with it is through a surgical procedure. Anything else would be at best a compromise.  For most patients, it would be a waste and a disappointment.

If, on the other hand, the patient is looking to treat early aging changes such as volume loss without sagginess or jowls, commonly seen after age 30, then an injectable such as Sculptra TM would be a good alternative. It will help minimize some of the volume loss effects of aging for approximately a year or two.  However, the physician injecting this filler needs to have a very good artistic eye in order to be able to inject the filler.

ler where it will have the most effect.  The goal is to minimize the normal shadows of light and to minimize the highs and lows that tend to develop as a result of facial aging.

The cost is another factor one needs to consider since it is likely that one may need $1,000.00 and $2,000.00 worth of Sculptra TM to accomplish the desired effect.  This needs to be taken into consideration because when one uses facial filler the effects are only temporary.  Within a period of 6 to 24 months, the effect is completely lost. When comparing this with the results of a surgical procedure like a facelift, one must realize that though the effects of a facelift may be modified by time (the aging process), the improvements will be with the person for life.

The report stated that you could go out the night of the injection and that is in essence, untrue.  Even in the hands of the most skilled professional, a moderate amount of swelling occurs with the injection of any filler within the face.  Bruising can also occur.  One should probably allow 3-4 days after an injectable before planning to attend a social engagement.

As with any other filler, Sculptra TM is a volume replacement agent which will be useful on a temporary basis. We should never call an injectable a “liquid facelift.” ¬†We should call it exactly what is it, which is the correction of volume loss by use of a facial filler (injectable). This is much more accurate and honest reporting.

G.D. Castillo, M.D. Premier Cosmetic Surgeon in Central Illinois


G. D. Castillo, M.D.
COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY
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