"We went through the laser trend, and that's essentially slowing down," with the possible exception of the Fraxel laser (Reliant Technologies), says Mark Berman, M.D., F.A.C.S., clinical instructor of facial plastic surgery at the University of Southern California.
Additionally, he notes that Douglas D. Dedo, M.D., is among researchers working with the Erchonia 635 nm laser (Erchonia Medical)."There's some thought that this laser not only helps break up fat cells for liposuction, but more importantly seems to help speed up the healing process," Dr. Berman says.
Peels rejuvenate more gently
Overall, he says that in recent months, "High technology may have hit some limits. I believe we're going back to some of the old technologies."
"Some of the new technology was invented," he says, "and then we looked for ways of using it, as opposed to looking at a specific patient's problem and asking, 'how can we make the patient better?'"
Dr. Berman says he took the latter approach in designing and patenting the Pocket Protector (Surgiform Technology).
Other innovations center around fat transfer technology, Dr. Berman says.
For example, he says that with the LipiVage system (Genesis Biosystems), "Instead of harvesting fat and centrifuging it, one suctions the fat up into a syringe. Inside the syringe is a mesh filter" that separates fluids from the fat, which then is injected into a sterile syringe.
"I've been using that for about six months. It's one of the first significant changes I've made in my harvesting technique" in 12 years of fat grafting experience, he notes.
Dr. Berman says he's also impressed with CellFriendly Quick STEP (soft tissue enhancement procedures) fat-injection cannulas (Tulip Medical). Their slick interior coating allows cells to glide through smoothly rather than being damaged by an irregular surface, he explains.
Going forward, he says, "There's a fairly significant push to look at the aging face in three dimensions."
As one's face loses volume, he says the skin gets closer to the skeleton. "It only looks like it's falling down when one stands up. It's like taking the air out of a tent," he says. To correct this problem, he says he and his colleagues have done much work with fat grafting and volume replenishment.