There is great excitement in both the medical and consumer community about non-surgical skin tightening technology. While non-surgical skin tightening and facial rejuvenation is not a facelift, the new technologies like the LuxIR can achieve about 30% of the facial tightening which is achieved with a face lift, although 3-4 LuxIR treatments scheduled 4-6 weeks apart and a waiting period of 6 months is necessary to see the final result.
The procedures are best for younger patients who see early facial skin laxity, especially on the neck, cheek, jowls and jaw line. At the end of a series of LuxIR treatments, improvement is seen in the nasal labial fold and marionette lines as well as the jowls, neck and cheek.
Two methodologies are used. Radiofrequency was the first, with Thermage® the prototype, and more recently Lumenis® has released a radiofrequency machine called Aluma® with FACES®. Radiofrequency works, but it is painful and some complications have occurred with Thermage®, most noticeably depressions from fat necrosis in some areas of the face.
Cutera® with it’s Titan® machine was the first Infrared machine and has shown excellent results. More recently Palomar® released it’s LuxIR Fractional® machine which also uses Infrared energy.
LuxIR is less painful than Thermage and treatments are quicker than with the Titan. Operator technique is very operator dependant-if the hand piece is pulled away during treatment, the skin can be burned.
The Palomar® LuxIR Fractional, uses Infrared energy but the beam is broken up into several beams and as a result is less painful. The LuxIR treatment head is larger thus the procedure is much quicker-about 25 minutes.
These technologies will continue to improve. I have had all 4 machines used on my face and have seen results. I have purchased the LuxIR by Palomar for my practice and impressed with how little discomfort there is for my patients when I use a topical anesthetic.
The key is for patients to understand they need 4-5 LuxIR treatments and need to wait 6 months for the final result.