Voted One of the Region’s Top Plastic Surgeons for Seven Consecutive Years
By Ellen Paris
Technology is advancing medicine as quickly as it is bringing us smarter phones, smaller devices, and “anywhere” connectivity. In plastic surgery and cosmetic enhancement, technology can change the way we think about ourselves and our lives. Now, it is easier, faster, and more affordable for all of us to look and feel beautiful.
The source for discussing technology trends in plastic surgery is Dr. Mark V. Sofonio, one of the country’s pre-eminent plastic surgeons. Dr. Sofonio has been on the leading edge of innovation in plastic surgery for the past decade.
Skin Rejuvenation and Wrinkle Removal
Dr. Sofonio points to the latest breakthroughs in numerous anti-aging procedures where the leading technological advances are occurring in skin care and skin rejuvenation. While Retin-A used to be the main prescription for a younger complexion, antioxidants are now being used to revive age-worn skin. Many of the newer products help regenerate skin tissue and boost collagen production, infusing new vitality. Consumer demand has been a major driving force in many of these developments, according to Dr. Sofonio. “The baby boomers have really helped push technology when it comes to nonoperative procedures and anti-aging products,” he says. “This is a generation that wants less downtime, less risk, and greater affordability. That’s what’s happening today; and we can offer patients all of this with much nicer, more natural results.”
In the desert, sun protection is such a big concern; and Dr. Sofonio notes that as the FDA is revising the current SPF system, new sunblock products are evolving. Dr. Sofonio advises everyone, especially those on a physician-prescribed skin-care regimen, to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is formulated specifically for their skin type.
A common request for plastic surgeons is wrinkle erasure. “I continue to see neuromuscular blockers such as Botox® and Dysport® as excellent options for eliminating expression lines,” observes Dr. Sofonio. He adds that the FDA is currently reviewing an injection-free delivery system for Botox that would be applied topically, with the same great results. “In the past decade, we have also seen volumizers emerge, including Restylane® and Juvederm®. These products are very effective and inexpensive,” Dr. Sofonio explains. “They are especially useful around the corners of the mouth, the lips, and in the nasolabial folds.”
Another product Dr. Sofonio likes is Radiance®. Made from crushed coral, Radiance usually lasts between one and two years. It is not recommended for use in the lips due to its thicker consistency. FDA-approved Sculptra® is another popular filler that stimulates the skin’s collagen production and is an ideal total-face volumnizer.
Innovations in Ultrasound for the Face and Body
Dr. Sofonio is the desert’s only plastic surgeon to offer the innovative Ulthera® ultrasound treatment. Ulthera harnesses and focuses ultrasound technology to target the same muscle tissue that is tightened during face-lift surgery. This lifts tissue like a face lift. Yet with Ulthera no surgery is required. FDA-approved Ulthera is an office procedure taking between 45 to 90 minutes depending on the area(s) treated. Dr. Sofonio is achieving excellent results and positive feedback from patients who have benefited from Ulthera.
Utrasound is now being used to change the way fat removal is performed. Liposonix® uses ultrasound to liquefy fat. In January, it received FDA clearance as a nonoperative way to eliminate fat. It requires no surgery, no downtime, and virtually no recovery.
Beyond ultrasound, skin-specific lasers are available. Dr. Sofonio’s state-of-the-art practice has access to every type of device, including what is considered to be the gold standard — fractionated CO2 laser. Intense Pulsed Light is another treatment preferred by Dr. Sofonio. Although not categorized as a laser, IPL effectively eliminates sun damage, brown spots, enlarged pores, and other cosmetic concerns. IPL can be used to treat the entire body, with no downtime.
A Modern Look at Face Lifts
Dr. Sofonio’s artistic eye and advanced training in face-lift surgery bring special results to his patients. A face-lift can work wonders.
“A one hour face lift will not give you the same result as deep face lift that involves moving muscle and underlying tissue, ” he says. “Your structure, heredity, and skin texture also play a role in your outcome. Patients should ask a lot of questions and do their homework before undergoing any procedure.”
According to Dr. Sofonio, the field of plastic surgery is constantly evolving. In the past decade alone, improvements in endoscopic procedures, mid-face lifts, and brow lifts have resulted in longer-lasting, more natural results.
Patients seeking to improve their appearance through cosmetic enhancement have any number of new options — options that are less invasive and more accessible.
“We have a whole new arsenal of procedures for people who want to turn back time,” says Dr. Sofonio. “Just 10 years ago, the emphasis was on operative procedures. Today we have minimally invasive, zero-down time options that can dramatically improve one’s appearance and boost self-esteem.”
About Dr. Sofonio:
Dr. Sofonio has been certified twice by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Recognized as the desert’s go-to expert in plastic surgery, Dr. Sofonio utilizes his own on-site, state-of-the-art surgical center, approved by the State of California Institute for Medical Quality, and only employs board-certified M.D. anesthesiologists for surgical procedures. Dr. Sofonio has been Section Chief, Department of Plastic Surgery for nearly a decade at Eisenhower Medical Center and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. He completed medical schooling at UCLA and later ran a burn unit/wound care center at the Medical College of New York. He received extra cosmetic surgery training from some of the world’s foremost aesthetic surgeons at the Connell Aesthetic Surgery Institute.
Dr. Sofonio was honored in 2008 with the 306th star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars, a tribute to his exemplary career, as well as his tireless philanthropic efforts. Dr. Sofonio donates to more than 100 local charities and considers any local charity organization asking for support.
Eisenhower Medical Center:
39000 Bob Hope Drive, Kiewit Building, Suite 407, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
Dr. Mark V. Sofonio