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Cosmetic Surgery: Nonsurgical Skin Tightening

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Targets: Sagging, loose skin, unsightly dimples and uneven skin

Procedure: Monopolar radiofrequency (Thermage) involves passing a wand over the skin, after the application of a topical anesthetic. Even with the numbing cream, many patients in the past experienced discomfort. Newer products, including the latest Thermage models, seek to reduce the pain. Exilis Elite adjusts the energy to facial contours. “In the past, when the device hit the jaw bone or chin, it hurt,” explains Dr. Lawrence Chang, a Newark cosmetic surgeon who also operates Nouveau Medispa in the adjoining space. Cushiony areas, such as the cheek, require more energy. “You’re customizing the energy to the peaks and valleys.” Focused ultrasound (Ulthera) heats the deeper skin layers to stimulate collagen growth. “It produces a tightening and lifting effect,” Pontell says.

Time: Forty-five to 90 minutes.

Recovery: Mild redness and perhaps some mild swelling. Some Thermage patients see quick results, which continue in the days following. With Ulthera, the collagen rebuilding process gradually lifts the skin in about four months. Results can differ from patient to patient.

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» R​eturn to the January 2013 issue.