Plastic Surgery Gets Nipped And Tucked

What's on the cutting-edge of cosmetic medicine and plastic surgery, as people seek ways to look a little younger as they get older?

Dr. Lawrence S. Reed, a York board-certified plastic surgeon, told co-anchor Julie Chen what he's been seeing, on The Early Show Thursday.

Reed, who practices in New York City, said aging is seen first on the mid-face, neck and eyes. But new methods, including laser skin resurfacing, Minimal Access Cranial Suspension (MAC) facelifts, neck-only procedures and eyelid surgeries, he said, can fight those signs of aging.

He explained that laser skin resurfacing is performed with a carbon dioxide laser to improve the skin's surface by ridding it of wrinkles, discolorations and pigment changes. The procedure takes about 45 minutes in the doctor's office under local sedation. Recovery takes anywhere from three to nine days. The full face laser treatment, Reed estimated, will cost $2,000 to $5,000, and up to $6,000 if the neck and area between the breasts are included.

"The pros are it is the most effective way to rejuvenate the skin with good results," Reed said. "The negative things are a risk of pigment change and risk of scaring."

Another procedure to improve the mid-face and neck, Reed said, is a minimally-invasive, MAC facelift. It costs around $7,000 to $8,000, and takes about an hour under local anesthesia or, in some cases, light sedation. The procedure causes light bruising, but Reed said it can enable patients to have an early return to their normal activities.

And for many people who have trouble with the appearance of their sagging necks -- particularly men -- a neck-only treatment may reduce the signs of aging -- for around $5,000.

"The most common statement from men is, 'Only the neck, doc, nothing else," ' Reed said. "They only care about the neck. They don't care about the face."

The neck procedure includes an incision around the earlobes. Patients should heal in four-to-seven days, Reed said, and a drain is used during recovery.

"You can make the neck look better, younger, with minimal surgery," Reed said, adding, "Men are more fearful of surgery, women are more courageous."

Eye surgery is also an option, to improve the look of sagging lids and baggy eyes, but Reed suggested that patients get a careful examination before their eyes are altered, and know that their doctor is up to speed on modern eyelid techniques. Eyelid surgery can cost, according to Reed, anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000.

"Eyelid surgery has made great advances in approaches to the eye," Reed said, "which creates a more youthful-looking appearance by preserving volume and preserving the inherently beautiful shape of the eyelids and avoiding the 'operated look,' by moving the fat around and leaving it in the eyes."

And some of these treatments are catching on in a big way. Laser skin resurfacing was on The America Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery's top five list of non-surgical procedures performed last year.

Botox, laser hair removal, injections with substances such as Juvederm, Restylyane and Radiesse, and chemical peels also topped the list.