Med Spa Technologies

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Here we are in a new year—and for some of us, we want a new look to go with it. We polled some of the top local medical spas to see what they’re excited about for 2011. “The industry is opening up to a larger variety of clients,” says Maria Vera, clinical director for Renew Cosmetic Spa. “We’re getting many more men in for services, such as laser hair removal, and Botox for crow’s feet and frown lines, which they tend to develop earlier than women.”

    Vera is also seeing a shift from fixing to preventing. Clients are coming in at a younger age for things like Botox, to prevent the creases from forming in the first place. She says prevention and maintenance are seen more as necessities than luxuries. “Clients are doing earlier laser skin tightening with our ReFirme process to increase production of collagen,” she explains. “We start losing collagen around age 25, and by 30 it’s noticeable. By having these procedures in our 20s, we can look fabulous much longer.” Vera is also seeing an increase in the demand for cellulite treatments like VelaSmooth, and finds it especially popular in clients who work out regularly, eat healthy, and just need some firming and toning to shrink fat cells, get rid of dimpling, and lose the inches diet and exercise won’t shake.

        At the Lifestyle Center, NeoGraft Automated Hair Transplants, a new follicular hair transplant system, is picking up steam and will increase the size of the transplant market, according to Dr. Richard Moore. “The device extracts the hair to be donated in mini and micro follicular units, rather than having to remove a strip of scalp and suture the donor site, so it’s less invasive and more acceptable to women,” he explains.

    Another technology Moore sees increasing in popularity is non-invasive body shaping with either Zerona or Vaser Shape.  The client sits under the fixed Zerona device, and a low-level laser opens holes in the fat cells to release fat, which is picked up by the lymphatic system and carried away. Studies done on it show an average of 7 inches loss over all treated parts of the body. Clients need a series of six to 12 treatments to achieve a reasonable loss.

    Vaser Shape uses ultrasound energy to target specific areas. Moore recommends using it on the abdomen, inner thighs or saddlebags. Again, a series of treatments, usually four to six, is required. He says results are more variable person-to-person and not as dramatic. “People should understand that when we’re talking non-invasive, we can’t achieve the results that surgical liposuction can,” he says. “And with these newer technologies, a healthy lifestyle is always important. If we don’t follow a sensible diet and stay active, more fat will form.”

    Nurse Carol Anderson, clinical director for Synergi MedSpa, says the spa’s newest treatment is currently not offered anywhere else locally. “PRP (plasma-rich platelets) is injected into multiple locations of the face where we want tissue to regenerate,” she says. “Dr. Oz has called it the ‘vampire injection’ because it will become whatever type of tissue in which it’s injected.” Currently performed for full-face rejuvenation, Anderson explains that the injected platelets cause an inflammatory response that stimulates growth factor and draws mesenchymal stem cells to the site. These stem cells are called multi-potent because they can replicate into any number of cell types, depending on the site: fat cells, muscle cells, collagen, skin, even bone. “The equipment we use for it is FDA-approved, but the facial use is off-label,” she notes. “The FDA is having a hard time figuring out how to approve something made with your own cells.”

    Results start to become visible within four to eight weeks from the first injection and will continue to improve over four months, Anderson says. She recommends three injections, with a second one at six weeks, and a third at six months. How long it lasts depends on how well we age and how well we take care of ourselves—on average two to three years.