In recent years, several new surgical technologies have been adapted for use with cosmetic surgery. These technological advances promise cosmetic procedures for the future that will be safer, less painful, and more effective.
Lasers. Lasers (intense beams of light) are currently being used very effectively for facial resurfacing and eyelid surgery. Laser incisions are sterile, and they cauterize blood vessels so that there is very little bleeding. Swelling is reduced and recovery is quicker. A face-lift procedure called laser neck and jowl liposculpture, and platysma resurfacing, can be done through a one-inch incision under the chin using only a local anesthetic.
Endoscopy. Endoscopic techniques are currently being used to do face lifts and brow lifts. Surgery guided by an endoscope allows for smaller incisions, less trauma to tissues, and a quicker recovery time. Facial structures are raised without cutting away flaps of skin. Currently, endoscopy is an option only for people whose skin is still somewhat tight and elastic.
Ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty. Older liposuction techniques tear fat from the body in great chunks. Ultrasound is now being used in conjunction with saline injections to break up and liquefy fatty deposits so that they can be extracted with a lower level of suction. This procedure causes less bleeding and bruising. It also allows the surgeon more control in sculpting the area. At this time, traditional liposuction is preferred for the face.
Botulinum toxoid injections. Botulinum is a bacterial toxin found in uncooked foods that can cause paralysis and a condition called botulism. It is a powerful muscle relaxant. It has long been used in a purified form (Botox) to relax muscle spasms caused by certain neurological diseases and conditions.
Botox is now being injected into the muscles of the face to relax creases in the forehead and crow's feet around the eyes. Botox injections must be repeated after three to six months. Research is now being done to confirm the long-term safety of this procedure.
The most obvious risk with Botox injections is that the face will become mask-like. One may lose the ability to squint or frown, and the corners of the mouth may droop.