Surgery or Laser? “The chicken or the egg” of facial rejuvenation

Surgery or laser?Are you thinking about facial rejuvenation? If you start with a visit to a plastic surgeon, more than likely he’ll offer a surgical solution. Likewise, if you visit a dermatologist, you’ll be told that a laser treatment is your best option. When a surgeon recommends surgery for facial rejuvenation or a dermatologist recommends the laser, they are both using their “toolbox.” Remember the saying: If you only have a hammer, then all the world’s a nail.

So what’s our advice after 23 years of performing cosmetic surgery and 7 years of offering cosmetic dermatology? Do your research. Recognize that surgery and laser solve different aspects of facial rejuvenation.

We use two very different analogies that might make it easier to understand…

  1. If your dress is too big and wrinkled, will ironing it make the dress fit?
  2. Or, surgeons bake the cake and dermatologists ice it…

What’s the best answer for you? You’ll need advice from both specialties, and then you can set your own priorities.

  • Loose Skin & Underlying Tissues: If you are concerned about the changes in your appearance caused by aging (such as excess upper eyelid skin, sagging lower eyelid fat pads, saggy cheek pads or jowls, saggy brow, or neck bands), tell your plastic surgeon. Surgery removes and tightens excess skin. Your surgeon also repositions and tightens the all-important deep tissues of your face and neck. This is something that that laser can’t do, and it is sometimes more important in rejuvenating the face and neck than dealing with the loose skin.
  • Skin Texture: Next, evaluate the texture of your skin. Are you concerned about sun damage, fine wrinkles, or brown spots? Given an understanding of facial aging, where do these concerns fit in your priorities? Doing a laser treatment alone will give your skin a smoother texture. Focus on the benefits of improving your skin texture with laser procedures. Be wary of promises that laser procedures can have a significant tightening effect. A laser treatment has a moderate and relatively short-term tightening effect that lasts for a couple of years.

At La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Centre, we believe the ultimate in facial rejuvenation includes both surgery and laser procedures. The sequence is important. The most effective approach is to begin with surgery to reposition and tighten the deep tissues and remove the excess skin. As a second step, have your dermatologist deal with the texture of your remaining skin once everything heals. You’ll be glad you did.

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