WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- There's a new option for patients looking to smooth wrinkles. It's a laser that works something like an inside out face lift.
Patient Jacki Adams says her skin tells the story of two extremes. As a popular model in the 1980's, she posed on the covers of magazines like Vogue and Elle. But later, she gravitated to sports like rock climbing, exposing her face to days of wind and sun. Now, with plans to return to acting, she's hoping to find a middle ground.
"I prefer to look good for my age, rather than look another age," she says.
To smooth out some of her lines, Adams turned to Walnut Creek dermatologist Christine Lee, M.D., who's helped pioneer a new skin treatment that works from the inside out.
"It is like an inside out face lift," Lee said.
The procedure employs a device called the Fotona SP Dynamis. It's a non-ablative laser that can safely deliver targeted heat from inside the mouth. Dr. Lee says the goal is to tighten the soft tissue, and produce a smoothing effect on the surface of the skin.
"So when you go inside the mouth, what it does is causes immediate contracting, and that tightening makes this nasal labial folds by the side of the mouth seem like they're plumping up," Lee added.
She says the laser evolved out of technology developed for dental procedures, and has no record of side effects such as burning. She begins by concentrating the heat first on one side of the face and then the other.
While the plumping can actually be seen during the procedure, Dr. Lee says a percentage of it will subside when the skin recovers, and that most patients will undergo several treatments to produce the full smoothing effect. Still she says the results can last for months.
"So it does some of the things a filler does but appears much more natural, and you're not having to inject a foreign substance in your face," she says.
The session takes about half an hour, and finishes with an external laser applied to the skin surface itself.
Viewing the results, Jacki Adams believes the improvement will give her more freedom when she steps on stage.
"So it buys me more time as an actor, says Adams.
The laser treatment is roughly $1,500 per session, and many patients will undergo two to three sessions. But because the results are longer lasting, Dr. Lee says the procedure is competitive with the annual cost of many popular fillers.
Written and produced by Tim Didion
Treating wrinkles from the inside out