Healthista’s editor Anna Magee recently attended the Anti-Ageing World Medical Congress in Monaco, an annual event showcasing the latest trends in anti-ageing breakthroughs. Here’s a taste of things to come for your face and body
1. It’s not about erasing lines anymore
Patients are obsessed with particular lines on their faces, explained Brazilian plastic surgeon Mauricio de Maio. But when people first look at a face, they seek out it’s overall message, they don’t observe its lines. From an aesthetic perspective, rather than treating lines, he asks himself ‘What does the face say?’ Does she look sad from the downturn of the mouth or surprised from the arch of the brows and could her overall look benefit better from treating this?’ Volume replacement, structure and making the face look more oval now takes precedence and he may leave some lines which he feels makes the patient look happier. He has invented the Aesthetic Scan Assessment (ASA) which analyses a full face for the message it portrays and includes looking at distances between the parts, how their mother has aged and their ethnicity. Sometimes he even aims to leave a few lines – shock! – on a patient’s face to ensure she looks natural.
2. The real lunchtime eye lift
More surgeons remarked on using fillers and Botox to get surgical effects and holding off surgery by decades or more. De Maio said: ‘We can have results comparable to surgery with fillers only.’ And he is a surgeon! For example, the use of filler to get rid of eye bags. About two years ago the big news was fillers in the tear trough, the line under the eye that creates a shadow. But the type of hyaluronic acid was crude and we were shown the awful lumping that occurred in people’s faces commonly. Plus, it had no evidence base. New data was presented by French plastic surgeon Herve Raspaldo outlining his use of Volbella – a newer, much lighter filler with the consistency of water – in the tear trough area; a retrospective study on 120 patients of his in which he treated the tear trough (technically known as the inner third of the orbital rim) with Volbella. It was published in the Journal of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and 89 per cent of patients saw an improvement in their eye bags – 12 months later 75 per cent still had a result.
3. Non-surgical arm lifts
Though surgical arm lifts were big news here in the UK last year, Professor Eckhart Haneke, a Swiss dermatologist talked about the use of non-surgicals for arms. Women want more definition in their arms and most commonly request Cameron Diaz’s or Angelina Jolie’s biceps, he said.
Where the treatment of choice would previously have been brachioplasty or surgical arm lift, Prof. Haneke talked about the use of cryolipolysis (fat freezing) to dissolve mild fat and help define the deltoids and triceps and tightening loss of volume with micro needling such as Dermaroller treatment and radio frequency such as Thermage. He also uses hyaluronic acid fillers for crepey skin in the elbows.
4. The soundwave tightener
Ultrasonic skin tightening is the only FDA-approved non-invasive treatment for the lifting of the lower face, neck and brow. World renowned surgeon Dr Frederic Brandt presented impressive tightening results on women’s necks using this procedure – no needles or scalpels – which deposits little pulses of ultrasound energy to heat the SMAS (superficial muscular aponeurotic system), the muscle like layer under the skin to contract and tighten it. It literally ‘shrink wraps’ skin from the inside out. It’s notoriously painful but popular with patients who didn’t want surgery. Ulthera is the brand name Dr Brandt uses. Though there’s no downtime, it takes four months for the full results to develop.
5. The Vagina Lift
A smorgasboard of treatments to treat the vagina was presented as the big future of anti-ageing. ‘We can tighten, brighten or lighten your vagina in the same way we can anti-age your face,’ said Dr Thierry Besins, the AMWC’s medical Director French plastic surgeon. DesirialR is the first filler designed for use in the vagina for example to treat sagging of the vaginal lips in menopause. The O-shot, involves drawing a patient’s blood, separating out the platelets and injecting it into the ‘O-spot’ (near the clitoris and just inside the vagina) to stimulate the growth of new cells and increase sensitivity.
6. How your butt fat can make your face younger
For some time the use of a patient’s own fat as filler has been used by doctors but it’s been hit and miss. Now doctors are using a new type of procedure, nano fat grafting. They take the fat, emulsify it into a liquid so that only the stem cells from the fat remain in a quasi-embryonic state (this means they can transform themselves into other cells). This is injected back into the face as a form of fat stem cell rejuvenation, a procedure being pioneered by Dr Mark Berman, a Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon. It severely inflames skin for the first few months then after about six, delivers impressive rejuvenation both on dark circles and facial pigmentation. I asked one of the doctors about not knowing how the cells will behave and she said as long as they are your own stem cells, they should be fine.
7. Rethinking Botox
Botox overuse is being rejected by more and more doctors and patients alike as a mere face freezing toxin. Now it’s being used in more subtle ways. For example, Dr Raj Kanodia, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon talked about using it to improve ‘pre-jowl’ sagging in patients as young as 20. By injecting the muscles in the neck that we use to make the facial expressions that cause sagging/jowls he claims Botox can work preventatively against ageing.
The formation of new wrinkles that develop because of the over-use of Botox was a big talking point. Use too much of the stuff and wrinkles appear in places they otherwise wouldn’t have. There’s one doctors call the ‘bad toxin wrinkle’ which appears above the eyebrows as two little arches. Leading Delhi doctor, Dr Simal Soin said this happens because there is one blind spot where doctors can’t inject or they get the ‘diablo’ look (brows arching spookily at forehead edges) so they avoid it. This leads to this common rogue wrinkle in an otherwise smooth forehead.
Botox, commonly used to lift the brows is now being injected in specific muscles with the intention to lower the brows. According to Dr Besins, the ‘surprised’ look of dramatically raised eyebrows has become a sign of Botox overuse and a new hallmark of ageing the post-Botox era. In fact, ‘Young brows are low brows,’ he said.