As soon as Marie learned about Ellacor, a first-of-its-kind skin rejuvenation technology, she knew she would try it. Although she has had several facelifts over the decades and many non-surgical procedures, she knew there were no good surgical solutions for around the mouth.
Ellacor does what surgical procedures and lasers cannot by safely removing excess skin and smoothing it out through a process called micro-coring.
Just after her 79th birthday, she had her first of three Ellacor treatments with Dr. Salazar.
Hear her talk about her early (and promising) results after the first of her three planned treatment sessions.
- Watch our live webinar on Ellacor with San Diego plastic surgeon Dr. Johan Brahme
- Listen to our podcast on Ellacor with Dr. Jason Pozner and LJC’s Dr. Brahme
- Learn more about San Diego plastic surgeon Dr. Hector Salazar-Reyes
See Marie’s before and after photos after one session of Ellacor:
Keep in mind that she still has two sessions left, so check back for her final results!
Speaker 1 (00:07):
You are listening to The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast.
Monique Ramsey (00:14):
Welcome everyone to The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast. I’m your hostess, Monique Ramsey. And today I have a very special guest, Marie Olesen. She is the widow of our founder, Dr. Merrel Olesen. So welcome, Marie.
Marie Olesen (00:28):
Thank you. Hi, Monique.
Monique Ramsey (00:30):
So she works in our practice, still very involved, but today we’re not talking about what she does in the practice. We’re talking about a new procedure that we’re doing. She’s willing to share it and give you some insider baseball, let’s call it, for those of you who might be thinking about doing what she did. So first Marie, tell us a little bit about yourself and your background, and then we’ll launch into the procedure.
Marie Olesen (00:58):
Well, I was married to a plastic surgeon for 42 years, and I’ve had a couple of facelifts and I’m now 79. And I was disturbed by this sort of mid area around the mouth. And based on my experience in plastic surgery, I know that there are really not good surgical solutions for the mouth. And so everyone’s been looking for years and the things that have been done commonly around the mouth have been like dermabrasion or laser, sometimes fillers, sometimes Botox, but none of it was really dealing with the area where I would like to get some help. And so when I learned of the Ellacor device and their technology in their approach of removing cores of skin, I thought, I think they’re really onto something. And it reminded me of a story that my husband told years ago where a patient came for laser and she had extra skin.
And so what she really needed was a surgery to remove the extra skin and then a laser to deal with the surface. And so he said, if you think about it, if your dress is too big and wrinkled is ironing, it really going to help. And so I see the solutions that we had on the surgical front or even on skin surfacing as not dealing with the core problem, which is you have too much skin. And so Ellacor is dealing with that. And through a series of treatments you can remove up to 30% of the surface skin and the underlying tissue with this procedure. And so I said I want to try because there are a lot of women like me who have had a facelift and who are getting older who don’t want to go through that all again, but still are unhappy with the area around their mouth and above their lip and to some extent in the cheek area. And so I had my first treatment a month ago today actually, and I am scheduled for my second treatment actually tomorrow. And I’m sure you’ll show the before and afters of the one treatment. And I’ve made significant progress, but against my goal and my problem, which is I still have more skin than I need and I have more surface issues than can be dealt with in one treatment, then I’m having another treatment.
Monique Ramsey (03:56):
And so the technology is called Ellacor, E L L A C O R. And it is a microneedling, but it’s a micro coring they call it. So a lot of our listeners might be familiar, and we’ve actually done a few podcasts talking about Ellacor. And we also did a live webinar, which you can listen to on demand and we’ll put those links in the show notes, but where we’re talking about how does this technology work, and if you think of microneedling, lots of little needles, but each of those needles is pulling out a core of skin. And so that’s where you get, you are in the area that they’re treating, then the remaining skin just closes up those holes and fuses back together very quickly. And so then over time, like you said, you’ve got, and it’s normally done in a series of three treatments a month apart.
Some people might need less, but if you kind of go into it knowing, okay, this is really, like you said, there’s really nothing else that could deal with this area, and even some of the area right under the chin and the neck, they can do. But for you specifically talking about that area around your mouth, and even for people who have never been a smoker, it’s almost those smokers lines or lines of aging and a facelift. Even if you were to have another one, really, you can’t pull by your ears or the back of your head and make a difference around your mouth. And like you said, you could use filler but not really and have it look natural. So you’ve had the one treatment. Tell us about during that treatment, what did it feel like?
Marie Olesen (05:41):
Well, there are two ways that the treatment can be administered. One is under local anesthetic and the other is under monitored anesthesia. And I’m a tester. And so I did the first treatment under local, and tomorrow I’m doing it under a monitored anesthetic so that I can tell everyone around here my patient experience from having done it both ways.
Monique Ramsey (06:09):
During that treatment, so under local is like when you go to the dentist, they’re going to numb the area with a local anesthetic, so you’re fully awake. Was it uncomfortable?
Marie Olesen (06:19):
Well, when they’re putting in the local, yes, you’re aware of it. And they did a dental block. Dr. Salazar was the one who did my treatment. And so I could feel that. And there are people who are worried about the discomfort, and once the local kicks in, you don’t have any discomfort, but you’re aware of everything that’s happening, you’re aware of who’s in the room, who’s talking, what they’re saying, et cetera. And so tomorrow what I will experience is that I’ll sleep through all that.
Monique Ramsey (06:55):
So you think you’ll be mildly awake like a couple martinis, or are they really going to let, that’s how Dr. Olesen used to talk about it. He goes, it’s sort of like you’ve had a couple martinis where you’re kind of with it kind of not. So you’ll have to tell us is the martini analogy going to work or,
Marie Olesen (07:11):
Okay, okay. That’s interesting. I don’t think he ever drank a martini in his life.
Monique Ramsey (07:16):
No, I don’t think he ever did. But that was his, to kind of, so you’re,
Marie Olesen (07:21):
Okay, you’re relaxed.
Monique Ramsey (07:22):
You’re relaxed, and you might just kind of keep falling asleep. So during that treatment with it, once you had that numbing, was it bothersome at all while they were doing it?
Marie Olesen (07:31):
No, and I was intensely curious about it, so I was glad I was awake. But I can understand that some patients might not like to be awake, and so that’s why I’m doing the next one in the other possible approach.
Monique Ramsey (07:47):
And we’re going to do a follow-up with you after that one. Perfect. So that we can have part two of Marie’s experience with Ellacor. So the area that was bothering you, what specifically was it?
Marie Olesen (08:01):
Okay. So what was really bothering me is this area of my mouth, my upper lips, the amount of wrinkles that were there. And as you said, another facelift wasn’t going to do it. And again, going back to my husband’s analogy, my dress is too big, so how are we going to get some skin out of there so that it’s the flatter surface that I’m looking for, less wrinkled as I talk, and I talk a lot. And then I wasn’t thinking about my neck at all. And we have had a lot of younger patients come in wanting to use Ellacor for the neck, and the doctors have been doing that and it works amazingly well. And so Dr. Salazar just said to me, I think the top of your neck needs a little work too. And I just said, have at it whatever you want to do. And so that everyone around here is talking to me about my neck rather than around my mouth. But that’s what I’m most aware of.
Monique Ramsey (09:03):
Well, and we don’t see sometimes the neck as much because if we’re looking at ourselves in the mirror, it’s sort hidden by our chin and you don’t see, it’s more like in the profile you go, oh, is that what it looks like? So it’s interesting and it’s good to know because I think Ellacor was originally developed for sort of this area of the lower face, but we’re one of the first 50 practices in the United States to have the technology. They wanted that technology to only go in the best places with experienced plastic surgeons who would use it in a safe manner. And through that process though, they’re starting to learn about all the different places that it can be used. So did you have a moment where you were like, this is really bothering me and I’ve got to do something about it and asking the doctors, what can I do?
Marie Olesen (09:56):
Well, we had already decided to buy the machine, and so I just said, I want to be one of your test patients, so when you learn to do it, I want to be a patient. And then I had some family and physical issues, and so it was delayed when I could participate. And then as soon as I felt like I was in the place to be able to go forward, then I did.
Monique Ramsey (10:23):
And did you ever have a moment where you were thinking, well, should I do something or have you in the past done something in the med spa with kind of the non-surgical route for this area? Have you ever used any other lasers or treatments?
Marie Olesen (10:39):
I’ve used Botox there, and that gave some help at some point along the way. But then again, aging face, and more skin, and more laxity, then ends up that that ceased solving the problem. And I’ve had laser in the past, but I haven’t done well with laser personally. I’ve had bad reactions. And so it was just like a laser was off the table for me because of my own personal history.
Monique Ramsey (11:09):
And this is a thing that I think this is why it’s so important to be talking to your plastic surgeon or your med spa provider with about your medical history, because everybody does react differently. And some people heal differently or more slowly, or they might have a coexisting medical condition that makes certain things harder. And so I think not every procedure is for every patient. So did you find, well, I’m assuming you found this to be a lot easier recovery than laser then, since you sort of,
Marie Olesen (11:41):
Oh my gosh, yes. It was a piece of cake. The nurses were asking me today what medication I took after it, and I said I didn’t take anything and I’m on blood thinners, so I had to stop those. But the only thing I’m allowed to take is Tylenol and Tylenol doesn’t work for me at all. And so I didn’t experience pain. And again, that’s personal. I’ve never been a person who experienced a lot of pain, so you couldn’t say because I didn’t experience any that anyone listening won’t experience any. But for me, after the various things I’ve done in my life, surgically to me, it was a non-event. And I’m very happy that here I am a month later and I’m ready to go again. And I have no reluctance to do so at all based on the recovery and the result, the effect, they removed like 8% of the skin around my mouth, and now they’re going to remove 16, and pretty soon we’re going to get to 24, and that is going to make a difference.
Monique Ramsey (12:46):
Right. Now, your first procedure was a month ago, but let’s go back. Let’s dial back since you shared that you’re 79. Let’s roll back the tape to when you had a facelift. You mentioned having multiple facelifts. Do you remember what age you were when you had your facelift?
Marie Olesen (13:02):
My first, I was 40.
Monique Ramsey (13:04):
Marie Olesen (13:05):
And my last, I think I was 65.
Monique Ramsey (13:08):
Okay. So 40, 65, and now you’re 79 having a little Ellacor in terms of recovery with a facelift, of course it’s more involved, but on a spectrum of recovery, did you feel like.
Marie Olesen (13:24):
To me, it was on the non-surgical into the spectrum. So if you want to have effective laser treatment, you have to have a pretty strong laser, and you go through seven to 10 days, and you may go through four days where you can’t go out in public or something. And to me, it’s less than that or akin to that, depending on the individual person and how they bruise and how they recover and their tolerance for pain and are they treating under their neck or are they on the face or whatever.
Monique Ramsey (13:56):
Yeah. Now, did the doctors talk to you about how many treatment sessions they think you’ll have? Was it the three, that series of three?
Marie Olesen (14:06):
Yes. And again, because of my age, because of the laxity, because of my history, what I’m trying to treat, then they said three. But other patients that they’re treating, some people are happy after one. And if the younger patients in particular, and we’ve had some sort of middle-aged staff be used in the training program, and most of them are just happy with one. But I’m much older than they are, and I have more laxity.
Monique Ramsey (14:39):
Well, and it’s nice to know that four weeks later you’re like, okay, let’s go. You didn’t have such severe trauma from it that you’re like, I don’t know about when I want to do that again.
Marie Olesen (14:49):
Monique Ramsey (14:51):
So you said Dr. Salazar did your treatment and they did that first one under local. And so as far as pain meds, when you went home, you had none.
Marie Olesen (15:02):
Monique Ramsey (15:03):
Wow. Okay. And then in terms of when you felt back to normal, safe to go outside of the house, was it days later or what is kind of that for so patients can kind of picture?
Marie Olesen (15:16):
Well, again, you have to understand, I had been on blood thinners, so I was more bruised than normal. And so I would say I probably stayed home for five days, but I missed a couple dinners with friends. It really was not with my quieter lifestyle. It didn’t impinge on my life.
Monique Ramsey (15:37):
So without the blood thinners, is bruising typically an issue? Do you know, with Ellacor?
Marie Olesen (15:43):
I’ve heard that it is, and people are told to put makeup on the green makeup to hide the bruises. And so I can only speak to my own experience, which is a little not normal, but anyone else who’s listening who’s on blood thinners is probably pretty normal for them.
Monique Ramsey (15:59):
Right. So was there anything that surprised you after your treatment? Anything you weren’t expecting?
Marie Olesen (16:06):
I’m going to honestly say that I am almost stunned by the amount of improvement I got from one treatment. And a lot of people would say, this is enough, but I want to do more. But I think the key thing is you’re removing skin and you’re removing it in a way that doesn’t alter your appearance. It has a positive where if you had too many facelifts and you’re going to get pulled too tight by doing a facelift instead of dealing with the area that needs the treatment, then you could be in more trouble than just focusing on where is the actual problem and how do we get skin out of that area, which it’s very hard to do surgically. And filling it up to me isn’t the answer.
Monique Ramsey (16:59):
It starts to look a little unnatural, right?
Marie Olesen (17:03):
And your face changes shape and you almost stop looking like yourself. So I didn’t want to solve it that way.
Monique Ramsey (17:11):
And I think fillers can do amazing things, but they have their limit. Just like anything in life, you’re going to hit that point where it’s like, well, at this point to get to that goal, this is where we need to go. And it’s nice that there’s sort of this in-between. So say somebody’s 45 and they’re not ready for a facelift, or they’re 35 and they’re not ready for a facelift. This is a great little precursor to possible facial surgery in the future. But then on the opposite side, you’ve had a facelift, things are getting lax. Again, what can I do to kind of give myself a refresh and here’s a perfect refresh.
Marie Olesen (17:50):
Monique Ramsey (17:52):
So what would you tell somebody who’s thinking about having Ellacor?
Marie Olesen (17:57):
Well, I think it is a great procedure, and it is solving a problem in an area in which the existing surgical techniques and nonsurgical really can’t address effectively. And so, I mean, I’m going to go back to my husband’s thing about the dress is too big and wrinkled and ironing, it will help somewhat, but it’s not going to help with the extra skin. And that’s so amazing to me about this technology.
Monique Ramsey (18:32):
Now, I know you’ve been an advocate for patients your whole career. And what would you tell someone who’s listening, who’s thinking about possibly having a procedure? How do they look for a plastic surgeon?
Marie Olesen (18:49):
Well, the key thing is to know, my husband and I wrote cosmetic surgery for dummies. And in teaching patients how to shop, we said, look for a board certified plastic surgeon. Look for an accredited. And ideally, that board certified plastic surgeon is a member of ASAPS, which is the Aesthetic Society, which is the group of plastic surgeons who do aesthetic surgery. And then of course, these days, you’re going to check ratings and reviews, and you’re going to know that other people are happy. And in our practice, which is just celebrating its 35th anniversary, we have been surveying patients for 35 years. And so we know what patients want because they tell us what made them happy, what disappointed them, and then we adjust what we do to meet their needs and be sure we’re on track. So I think choosing somebody who’s trusted and proven is very important.
Monique Ramsey (20:00):
And I think something that we kind of don’t talk about very often, but you brought it up, is on our website, we do have a lot of really great resources about what does accreditation meaning of the surgical facility, what does being a board certified plastic surgeon mean? What does, looking for your anesthesiologist, who’s performing that and what are their credentials? And we only use board certified anesthesiologists, and it’s all safety related, but there’s a lot of good information. We’ve of course have podcasts about all of these topics, and we’ll put those in the show notes. But then as you’re poking around the website, it’s another thing to look at. There are some resources there about our belief system and our core values, but also what things are important as you’re looking to choose a facility and to choose a provider. So I’m excited for your second procedure tomorrow.
Marie Olesen (21:00):
Thank you. I’m excited actually.
Monique Ramsey (21:01):
Yeah. And so we’ll get to catch up with you again after procedure number two or three, depending on how busy you are. But we’ll definitely put your before and post treatment number one pictures in our show notes.
Marie Olesen (21:15):
Monique Ramsey (21:15):
And then we’ll continue to add them and come have you come back in the podcast in about a month or so. And then give us the lowdown on the monitored anesthesia care. And if it was like three martinis or if it was like five.
Marie Olesen (21:31):
I don’t think I’ve ever drunk, I think I have drunk a martini in my day, but I don’t think I’ve ever drunk three of them in one setting. So I don’t know if I am going to be able to help with that analogy, but maybe.
Monique Ramsey (21:44):
So anyway, thank you again, Marie.
Marie Olesen (21:45):
Monique Ramsey (21:46):
It was great to see you and talk to you, and thanks for sharing your experience with Ellacor.
Marie Olesen (21:51):
Happy to do so.
Speaker 1 (21:56):
Take a screenshot of this podcast episode with your phone and show it at your consultation or appointment, or mention the promo code podcast to receive $25 off any service or product of $50 or more at La Jolla Cosmetic. La Jolla Cosmetic is located just off the I-5 San Diego Freeway in the XiMed Building on the Scripps Memorial Hospital campus. To learn more, go to lj csc.com or follow the team on Instagram @ljcsc. The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast is a production of The Axis.