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Holistic Rejuvenation- Blending Spa Therapies with Plastic Surgery

4 August 2011
By Dr Mark Steinmann, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Netcare Rosebank Hospital

Today there are more and more options available to the cosmetic patient than ever before. This is because non-surgical treatments have become increasingly more effective and affordable, and spa therapies and cosmetic surgery are used together to achieve optimal results. The result is an exciting revolution in the approach to cosmetic treatment with ever improving outcomes. However, patients should visit a competent healthcare provider to ensure the best results, argues Dr Mark Steinmann, a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at the Netcare Rosebank Hospital.

 

In 1997 chemical peels and liposuction were the two most commonly performed cosmetic procedures in the United States. There has been enormous development in non-surgical alternatives for the cosmetic patient in recent years. Indeed in the United States there has been an 866% increase in the use of non-surgical cosmetic treatments over the past 10 years.  Today Botox injections and hyaluronic acid fillers are the two most popular procedures.

 

As more and more people use these non-surgical alternatives, they have become ever more affordable and accessible to the man in the street. In addition, the financial crisis has continued to plague the global economy and bite deep into people’s pockets, encouraging a shift to more affordable cosmetic procedures.

 

It is not just affordability that is driving the demand in non-surgical treatments and more reasonable surgical alternatives, however. A greater public awareness and interest in aesthetic rejuvenation and the need to enhance self-image are also responsible for this trend. Today society and the media encourage the individual to pay increasing amounts of attention to his or her appearance. People now want to look and eel the best that they possibly can, and they are using every means at their disposal to achieve this.

 

Global warming and depletion of our ozone layer are now a reality and have contributed to a rise in melanoma rates by 300% in the past 25 years. Radiation from the increasingly harsh rays of the sun also plays an important role in the aging process. This has led many individuals to seek affordable cosmetic treatments to help protect them and improve their appearance.

 

The rise in demand for non-surgical treatments has also seen an increase in competition in the cosmeceutical industry, the rapid development of new products and devices and an increase in the number of healthcare providers performing cosmetic treatments. This has been good news for consumers who are able to access increasingly effective products and services at better prices.

 

While this is so, it is imperative that the patient receives treatment only from highly competent and appropriately trained healthcare providers. Accredited plastic surgeons are a sound option because they must have a comprehensive knowledge of all the modalities on offer to the patient, from products and devices to the most radical surgical procedures. Treatment managed and supervised by a good plastic surgeon will ensure that the patient is treated effectively and safely.

 

It has been suggested that as many as one in four Americans regularly visit spas. Spas in the US generated almost $10 billion in revenue in 2010 according to the International Spa Association. Most prominent plastic surgeons in America now incorporate spas into their practices, pointing out that an integral relationship now exists between the two industries. Appropriate cosmetic treatments with certain spa therapies are highly recommended in modern aesthetic surgery.

 

The correct use of cosmeceutical products is now critical for skin repair, maintenance and rejuvenation and these should be incorporated into every spa practice. All patients undergoing facial rejuvenation, whether it is surgical or non-surgical, should be on a personalised pre- and post-treatment skin care regimen.

 

The healthcare provider or beautician who is providing the treatment should be able to evaluate the client’s skin type, complexion, skin texture, thickness, degree of photo-aging, and severity of facial rhytids (wrinkles). It is extremely important for providers to refer all patients to a plastic surgeon or dermatologist on the suspicion or detection of an unknown skin lesion prior to commencing any form of facial procedure or the application of any skin care product.

 

Skincare therapists can incorporate personalised pre-treatment regimens for the cosmetic patient in their businesses. Patients who are scheduled for a deep chemical peel, laser resurfacing, a face-lift or filler treatments, are required to be on a pre-treatment regimen prior to the procedure in my practice. A holistic package would include a nutritional and anti-aging skincare programme, sun avoidance education and exercise.

 

An anti-aging skin care programme today almost always incorporates the use of cosmeceutical products containing anti-oxidants, alpha-hydroxy acids, vitamin A and sunscreens. These should be incorporated into skin care treatments at the spa and for home use. It is vital that the products used contain these essential ingredients in the correct formulations and dosages to achieve optimal results.

 

Appropriately trained skincare therapists can safely perform non-invasive non-surgical procedures. These procedures include facials, micro-dermabrasion, fruit acid peels and IPL. These procedures can be done for prevention or maintenance of facial rejuvenation, and can supplement the effects of more invasive procedures.

 

Maintenance programmes and post-operative regimens are also essential for all our clients for the best results. By educating the patient on the importance of a skin care regimen we also help to ensure the client returns to our business for ongoing treatment.

 

Most patients will suffer from bruising, swelling, discomfort and pain after any surgical procedure. Despite correct analgesic use of western medicine and traditional methods (such as cold compresses, and rest and elevation), a growing number of patients now seek out alternative therapies to relieve their symptoms. Massage is an example and is a powerful tool in plastic surgery. It is often used in cases that require scar management, oedema (swelling) control and pain management. Lymphatic drainage massage may help patients heal better from invasive surgical procedures such as liposuction as the massage may help remove the fluid that builds in reaction to surgery. Such a massage minimises swelling and improves circulation, bringing more nutrient-rich blood to the site. There is no doubt that patients can benefit from regular massage therapy after cosmetic surgery.

 

The integrated or holistic healthcare practice should be able to treat all aspects of beauty and is essential for the cosmetic patient today. Provided that properly trained healthcare providers perform these procedures, patients will achieve optimal results with help from the spa. It is important that there is good communication between the healthcare provider and the skincare therapist, and that appropriate referral systems are in place. We are already on the front lines of a revolution in healthcare, as we shift from an “illness model” to a “wellness model”. Holistic patient care is achievable not only with the scalpel blade, but through an integrated approach using modalities from both the spa and the healthcare provider.

 

For further information please contact Dr Mark Steinmann’s practice: Telephone 011 447 5171, e-mail: plasticsurgery@drmark.co.za, Website: www.drmark.co.za.

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For more information contact the SA Spa Association on 011 447 9959 or e-mail: info@saspaassociation.co.za

 

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