Is laser skin tightening procedures as effective as the advertisements claim? As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, I traveled to Boston for the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery meeting- to bring the latest plastic surgery news TO YOU! One of my objectives of the meeting was to uncover the real data about laser skin tightening since the advertisements seem to promise remarkable results; I wanted to clear the mud of seemingly endless conflicting information.
Mission accomplished! The data reinforced what I suspected….unfortunately this promising technology just isn’t delivering the results that many physicians and laser centers are advertising. The data that was presented at the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery meeting showed that only 2/3 of patients saw an improvement after non-ablative laser skin tightening procedures and the 2/3 that did see an improvement- they only achieved a 10-20% improvement; 1/3 of patients didn’t see an improvement at all. (Example of non-ablative skin tightening is: Thermage, Fraxel, IPL and Ulthera.)
I interviewed Scottsdale Plastic surgeon Dr. Sean Lille and he said, “I don’t carry non-fractionated laser in my office. I just can’t offer patients a procedure that we now know will only work 2/3 of the time. My patients expect results 100% of the time….and people still need to go under anesthesia for those kinds of results- whether it be for ablative laser, for surgery or both.”
Just to clarify, ablative skin tightening and resurfacing is extremely effective and is only done under anesthesia. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and Erbium lasers are the most popular ablative skin tightening lasers. Since these lasers are penetrating into the deep dermis with a controlled burn, it is important to see a board certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience with this procedure to minimize the potential complications. (This is not a lunch time procedure.)
My conclusion on in-office laser skin tightening based on the data- is save your money! These treatments are expensive and put those hard earned dollars to something that is proven effective 100% of the time and that is SURGERY. The only exception I have for this is for the décolletage area. Since patients can’t eliminate lines or wrinkles in their décolletage area with surgery- then laser is really the only option and as long as expectations aren’t high.
Listen to my archived radio show discussing this topic during my May 12th show under the “Radio” tab. Too fabulous to miss!