3-Part Q&A Series with Dr. Tina West
With her “Skip the Scalpel” philosophy, Dr. West utilizes the most advanced minimally invasive technology to maintain the health and appearance of the skin of the face and body in women and men for life.
In this three-part series, Dr. West will answer questions regarding her mission and goals when treating patients, some of the most popular procedures at The West Institute, her “Skip the Scalpel” philosophy and much more.
What Are Some of the Most Popular Services Offered at the West Institute?
Answer: One of the most popular procedures over the past decade has been Botox (and now similar products such as Dysport) to erase frown lines, horizontal forehead lines and crow’s feet wrinkles around the eyes.
The lines and wrinkles created by repeated muscle movement over years are often among the first aging changes that people notice, and are among the easiest to treat. Botox is a quick, easy procedure with virtually no risk of bruising when performed by an experienced injector.
Botox can also be used to help lift downturned mouth corners, to erase chin dimpling and to smooth the neck. Patients often start with Botox treatments in their late 20’s to 30’s when they start to notice lines between the eyes, across the forehead or in the crow’s feet area when they aren’t smiling, squinting or frowning.
Early use of Botox, before lines are “etched” in the skin, can prevent wrinkles from forming (“prejuvenation”).
As people enter their late 30’s and into their 40’s, they often note a tired or sagging appearance, which is due to loss of facial volume. Over time, we lose bone, muscle, fat and collagen. In the past, the only effective volumizer was fat, which had to be harvested by liposuction and then reinjected with large caliber needles or hollow tubes called cannulas.
Since 2006, when the FDA approved Restylane, the technique of refilling lost facial volume was revolutionized. With the advent of dermal fillers made of hyaluronic acid, such as Restylane, Juvederm, Voluma and Restylane Lyft, volume can be restored without having to perform an invasive procedure.
Restylane and similar products are made of a natural sugar that is normally found in the skin, so it’s almost impossible to have an allergic reaction. Sugar-based fillers are long-lasting and cumulative, yet they are easy to dissolve and get rid of if desired. I have been performing facial volume replacement for 20 years, having trained with some of the pioneers of fat transfer and then transitioning that technique into full face contouring with currently available dermal fillers.
Sculptra is another volumizer that I commonly use when there is significant volume loss. Sculptra is injected as a liquid and acts as a scaffold upon which collagen builds. Several treatment sessions, performed six weeks apart, are necessary to achieve optimal correction
When volume is lost, skin droops; when volume is strategically replaced, the skin is lifted back up. The best way to approach facial contouring is to start adding volume back early, as soon as cheeks become less full, to avoid the formation of jowls. Once volume loss is corrected, patients come in once a year to maintain. Patients love how they look and remark how natural the results are, that people are telling them they look great and rested but never know that they had anything done.
Another very common procedure is the treatment of red and brown blotchiness, which is the result of sun exposure over one’s lifetime, with intense pulsed light (IPL). A series of IPL treatments results in clearing of brown spots and redness with no downtime.
IPL can be used on any area: face, chest, hand, arms, etc. IPL treatment has been around since the late 1990’s. At The West Institute, we use the Lumenis M-22, one of the newest state-of-the-art IPL devices, which allows us to achieve optimal results with fewer treatment sessions than previously required with older technology.
Patients looking to improve skin texture now have a variety of treatments from which to choose. The West Institute offers three levels of laser skin resurfacing: Clear + Brilliant which has no downtime and is the newest fractional resurfacing device for younger patients who want smaller-appearing pores and smoother skin texture; Fraxel (a series with three-four days of downtime) for patients with acne scarring and other more severe textural concerns; and the fractional CO2 laser (one week of downtime) which is the gold-standard for erasing fine lines and sun damage.
Over the past decade, non-surgical skin tightening techniques have evolved and have provided an approach to address skin laxity of the jawline and neck. Ulthera intense focused ultrasound is a one-time, no downtime procedure that takes about an hour in the office and results in tighter skin and a more defined jawline over the course of two-to-three months.
The newest addition to the practice, Infini radiofrequency microneedling, has been hugely popular for tightening crepey skin on the front of the neck, an issue that bothers many women and for which we previously had no effective treatment.
For severe wrinkles and sun damage, and crepey undereye skin, fractional CO2 laser resurfacing provides the best results. Fractional CO2 laser requires seven days of downtime and results in new, tighter, smoother skin. For acne scars and large pores, Fraxel laser is the treatment of choice, with healing being three-to-four days of a sunburn appearance. The newest resurfacing technology, with no downtime, is the Clear+Brilliant laser. A series of C+B laser treatments results in decreased pore appearance and a smoother texture, while building collagen.]
For patients concerned with aging changes on the neck, only recently have we had devices that are effective on this area that is too delicate for the more intense laser treatments suitable for the face. At the West Institute, Ulthera microfocused ultrasound technology is popular for contouring the jawline and tightening skin under then chin, as well as the neck and décolleté.
Ulthera is a 20-45 minute one-time procedure with no downtime. Skin tightening and lifting is apparent three months after treatment and gradually improves for one year. For fine wrinkles and “crepey” skin on the front of the neck, Infini radiofrequency microneedling is the treatment of choice. Four Infini treatments (one month apart) result in tighter, smoother skin on the neck with minimal downtime.
Often people notice a collection of fat (“double chin”) under the chin as they age. Kybella, a natural substance that is normally found in the liver to digest food, can be injected under the chin to dissolve fat, no surgery required.
CoolSculpting, with the “Cool Mini” applicator, can also be used to destroy fat cells with no surgery or downtime by gently freezing the fat cells, which are then eliminated by the body.
Check back next week for part three of the Q&A with Dr. Tina West.
Dr. West Talks Mom Genes Campaign, Prejuvenation and More!
To schedule your consultation with Dr. West, call 301-986-9378 (WEST) today!
About Dr. West
Dr. Tina B. West, founder of the West Institute, has served as a consultant and injectable trainer for Allergan and Galderma, training other physicians in advanced treatment techniques using Restylane, Perlane, Scupltra and Dysport as well as Botox.
Dr. West is a board-certified Dermatologist and leading expert in cosmetic dermatology, laser surgery and body contouring procedures.
Dr. West participated in the original phase III FDA clinical trials for the approval of Botox.
The West Institute
5530 Wisconsin Avenue #925
Chevy Chase, MD20815