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Saving Face

Saving Face

More than 10 million cosmetic procedures will be performed in the United states this year, and more than 80 percent of them will be nonsurgical. We asked Local medical experts about the latest technology and treatments to improve appearance—of the face and elsewhere—while remaining as minimally invasive as possible. Here are eight ways to age gracefully. BEAUTIFUL!



1. Whiter Teeth

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Whitening is nothing new, but the latest technology can visibly brighten your smile in just a two-hour office visit. New technology called Philips Zoom WhiteSpeed employs newer bleaches, desensitizers, and fluoride, meaning teeth emerge whiter, stronger, and with less sensitivity.

Dr. Walter Palmer, a general and cosmetic dentist at River Bluff Dental in Bloomington, favors the new technology because whitening is quick and customizable, even to individual teeth. “We can control the color for what the patient wants, which you can’t do at home. It’s a great, quick procedure when people have upcoming events.”

  • $200 for an at-home whitening kit with customized trays
  • $500 for an in-office Zoom treatment


“We can control the color for what the patient wants, which you can’t do at home.”

—Dr. Walter Palmer general and cosmetic dentist at River Bluff Dental in Bloomington, on the Zoom teeth whitening treatment


2. Straighter Teeth

Many people opt for veneers to fix the shape or positioning of their teeth, but Dr. Gesica Horn, a family, restorative, and cosmetic dentist at Serene Oaks Dental in North Oaks, prefers for patients to try traditional braces or Invisalign first. Using veneers can mean removing quite a bit of tooth structure. But when teeth are straighter, Horn can keep more of the original structure intact.

“Manmade materials are incredibly strong, but what we’re born with is the best,” Horn explains. “The more of the original tooth structure there is to work with and bond to, the better the outcomes will be and the longer the restorations will last.”

It takes an average of 11 months of wearing the clear custom-made aligners to slowly straighten teeth. And if you grew up wearing braces but slacked on wearing your retainer, there’s also an express version of Invisalign. It takes six months or less.

  • $4,500 to $8,000 for traditional Invisalign
  • $3,000 for the express version to fix teeth that were once straight


3. Smoother Facial Skin

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Fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots? Enhanced fractional resurfacing works wonders on all three, using a laser to create microscopic holes in the skin to stimulate new skin growth.

Dr. Elizabeth Briden, a dermatologist at the Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Institute in Edina, follows up the treatment with an antioxidant serum, which gives the skin a healthy glow. She recommends three to four treatments, one month apart. Patients can return to work and apply makeup as usual the next day.

Dr. Lisa Erhard, CEO and medical director at Wayzata Cosmetic Surgery & Spa, says laser skin resurfacing is her patients’ favorite treatment because it works to “restore the tone and texture of the skin, erasing wrinkles, eliminating sun spots, and tightening the sensitive tissue around the eyes.”

  • $1,000 for four treatments or $350–$400 per treatment


4. Tighter Facial Skin

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Volume is the name of the game when it comes to a younger-looking face, and there are several options that do the trick. Botox and Juvederm injections help diminish and soften wrinkles on the face and plump sagging facial skin for a younger appearance. Dr. Scott Prawer, a board-certified dermatologist at Associated Skin Care Specialists in Maple Grove, says his patients are fans of Botox because of the minimal downtime—they can go back to work the next day. Botox results last for three to six months; Juvederm results can last as long as one year.

For another noninvasive option, Maureen Hines, owner of Aesthetic Therapies in Woodbury, recommends a combination of microdermabrasion and a therapeutic skin care regimen. “The basics of good skin care start with a fresh palette, and it just makes the skin better,” Hines says. Microdermabrasion gently sands the skin, removing the often thickened, uneven outer layer. It prompts skin turnover and thickens the collagen, revealing younger, plumper, fresher-looking skin.

For a more permanent fix that is surgical, Dr. John Ness, a plastic surgeon at Ness Plastic Surgery in Minnetonka, recommends injections of your own fat cells. Here’s how it works: A surgeon removes fat cells from the body during a procedure that is similar to mini-liposuction. Cells are then put into a centrifuge (like they would do to separate donated blood into plasma and other blood products) to refine them. Doctors then inject the refined fat cells, which contain a high concentration of stem cells, into the face, resulting in a more youthful look “We’re replacing facial fat that people tend to lose with age. A lot of patients have an extra roll of tummy tissue, and it’s a great source of fat cells for the face,” Ness says, adding that rejection or infection risk is minimal because the procedure uses a person’s own cells.

  • $600 for Botox • $550–$650 per syringe of Juvederm
  • $100 for microdermabrasion
  • $2,500–$5,000 for fat cell injections


Laser skin resurfacing “works to restore the tone and texture of the skin.”

—Dr. lisa erhard CEO and medical director at Wayzata Cosmetic Surgery & Spa


5. Tighter Neck Skin

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Heat and ultrasound technology combine to form a highly effective weapon against drooping neck and facial skin. During a one- to three-hour Ulthera treatment, a handheld device delivers ultrasound and heat to targeted areas, bypassing the top layers of epidermis and hitting deep into the dermis where collagen and elastic tissue form. Post-treatment skin improvements happen gradually over two to three months as the body starts to produce more collagen and elastic tissue.

“There is a slow tightening. No one knows they had it done, and slowly they look better,” says Dr. Katie Barlow, a dermatologist at Dermatology Consultants’ Eagan location. You can go to work the next day, and the benefits last for at least 18 months, often longer.

  • $750 for brows
  • $2,500 for neck
  • $4,000–$4,500 for whole face and neck


“There is a slow tightening. No one knows they had it done, and slowly they look better.”

—Dr. Katie Barlow Dermatologist at Dermatology Consultants in Eagan, on the Ulthera treatment


6. Reduced Redness & Acne

For rosacea and acne, Pat Scherven, aesthetician and owner of Skin Therapease in Wayzata, recommends photo rejuvenation. The non-laser treatment employs pulsed broadband light that targets facial redness, rosacea, small veins, and acne, tightening the skin in the process. Scherven typically recommends three treatments, done once every three weeks. Her patients love it because there is little discomfort and downtime. Added bonus: It slows facial hair growth, too. “It stimulates the collagen, and you get softer, tighter skin,” Scherven says.

  • $950 for the three treatments or $350 per treatment


7. Smaller Waist, Thighs & Butt

A noninvasive body contouring treatment called i-Lipo can take inches off of trouble spots like stomachs, thighs, and rear ends. Briden, of Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Institute, says the LED laser treatment works by breaking down fat into its components—fatty acids, glycerol, and water. After a treatment, you just need to exercise and burn about 400 to 500 calories, which helps the body eliminate the components before they turn back into fat.

“We’ve had some great results with i-Lipo,” Briden says. “It works, especially if patients have areas that, no matter how much exercise and diet they do, they can’t get rid of the lumps or bumps.”

  • About $1,000 for eight treatments or $200 per treatment


“You don’t have to take off time from work twice or have time away from the kids twice while you’re recovering.”

—Dr. Michael Philbin Plastic surgeon at Edina Plastic Surgery, on multiple procedures at once


8. Multiple Procedures

If you do opt for surgical solutions, you may be able to improve multiple areas in one fell swoop, thanks to advances in medicine. Dr. Michael Philbin, a plastic surgeon at Edina Plastic Surgery, says a popular combination is a “mommy makeover,” which pairs a tummy tuck with a breast lift or augmentation.

Plus, improvements in anesthesia and pain medication have made it possible for patients to recover more easily from a dual surgery. One medication improvement comes from a local slow-release anesthetic that lasts for about three days to help with pain control after the two-at-once procedures.

“This way, there are not as many duplications of cost. You don’t have to take off time from work twice or have time away from the kids twice while you’re recovering,” Philbin says. “If you can get everything done in one shot, safely, it’s really the way to go.”

  • $12,000–$16,000; costs vary by patient and procedures

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