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April 20, 2007

Cosmetic Surgery Lowdown

Cosmetic Surgery Low Down

Photo Credit: Edwin Ho

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TREATMENT: Injectable fillers, including HA (Restylane, Hylaform, Juvéderm, and Captique), bovine collagen (Zyderm and Zyplast), human collagen (CosmoDerm and CosmoPlast), as well as silicone.
DESIGNED FOR: Restoring fullness and maintaining softness. The thinner consistency collagens (CosmoDerm and Zyderm) can give lip borders good definition, and small amounts of silicone are sometimes used to do the same (although there are questions about the filler's long-term safety, and about whether you should put something permanent in your lips).
HOW IT WORKS: The filler is injected through a small-gauge needle either in a continuous stream (a technique called "threading") or in a series of pearl-like dots. Threading means fewer puncture marks, but dots may afford better placement precision. The newest way to inject silicone is in tiny microdroplets that lower the potential for lumps.
DOWNTIME: Lips can be swollen for three to four days; bruising could last as long as a week.
PROS: Instant gratification without a permanent commitment, since fillers (except silicone) eventually fade.
CONS: Swelling, redness, bruising, and bumps (especially with silicone). Plus, "repeatedly injecting anything into the lips can cause scarring over time," says Thomas Romo III, M.D., director of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at New York's Lenox Hill Hospital. Collagen is white and may show if it's not placed deep enough; it also fades more quickly than HA.
COST: About $600 to $750 for HA; $400 to 800 for collagen; and $500 to $1000 for silicone.
STAVE OFF SURGERY WITH: A lip plumper such as Too Faced Lip Injection, $25.50, or Benefit Lip Plump, $20.

Browlifts, which reverse forehead wrinkles and falling eyebrows, have dramatically lost favor in the past five years. What's everyone doing instead? Botox, of course. Far less invasive yet very effective, Botox injections topped out as the number-one cosmetic procedure last year — even if they have greatly increased the number of people who can feel shock or surprise without actually showing it.

DESIGNED FOR: Worry lines between the eyes and/or wrinkles on the forehead.
HOW IT WORKS: When muscles in the brow and forehead are injected with botulinum toxin, they can't contract. With the muscle temporarily out of commission, wrinkles smooth out and the eyebrows appear lifted.
PROS: Some say that regular Botox injections can prevent deeper lines from forming.
CONS: Botox lasts about three to six months. If the toxin is injected in the wrong place or leaks into nearby muscles, your eyelids may droop or the outer corners of your brows may end up oddly higher than the inner ones.
COST: About $380 per treatment.
STAVE OFF SURGERY WITH: Manhattan dermatologist Francesca Fusco, M.D., recommends the classic Hollywood secret: Frownies, $19.95. They're adhesive pieces worn overnight to keep your forehead smooth.

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