Does Microdermabrasion Work?

MicordermabrasionMicrodermabrasion is a procedure usually performed at a medical spa for enhancement and brightening of the overall facial appearance. Patients may present with complaints of dull skin texture, or superficial skin irregularities that just need a little freshening. It is more aggressive than a facial, but much less aggressive than dermabrasion. Although the terms are related, the “micro” in microdermabrasion arises from the fact that originally, little tiny crystals were used as an exfoliant within the hand piece to remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. More updated equipment relies on different methods of liquid exfoliation, but the effect is the same. Downtime is minimal if any, usually resulting in a few hours of redness or mild irritation of the skin, similar to the sensation of a mild sunburn. It’s important to reduce or eliminate sun exposure after any exfoliation procedure, but other than that, it is a relatively pain-free and uncomplicated endeavor. It may require repeated or regular appointments for maintenance of ideal skin tone. Microdermabrasion can be performed on all skin types and colors safely because the injury is very superficial.

Dermabrasion, on the other hand, is a much more involved procedure. Often performed under sedation or local anesthesia, depending on the area treated, it may even require the use of an operating room. A surgeon or dermatologist will use a special instrument that actually “sands” the top layers of the skin to reveal deeper, fresher skin. Patients in need of dermabrasion may present with deeper scars, acne scars, or traumatic tattoos from motor vehicle accidents or other trauma that require aggressive resurfacing. Recovery takes a week to 10 days depending on the depth of abrasion, and often the skin in the area treated appears lighter or redder in color for several weeks after treatment. As always, sun avoidance and sunscreen are imperative in the healing period, and some time off work is often needed to allow for postoperative wound care. Dermabrasion can be performed safely on most patients of light skin colors, but is often not recommended or very carefully performed on patients of Mediterranean, Asian, Hispanic or African American backgrounds because irregularities in skin color can arise easily if performed aggressively.

At the Emory Aesthetic Center, we request that all prospective patients meet with one of our aestheticians or board certified physicians before undergoing any procedure, allowing us to formulate a treatment plan based on your specific needs, outcomes and recovery time. Let us help you come up with a plan to achieve your desired results.

About Dr. Sethna

Anita Sethna, MDAnita Sethna, MD, understands that facial plastic and reconstructive surgery demand a marriage of science and artistry, and she enjoys using precision, skill, and vision to make her patients’ dreams reality. Dr. Sethna’s meticulous attention to detail and her passion for maintaining a natural look ensure optimum results for her patients. A dedicated teacher, Dr. Sethna is devoted to assisting residents in facial trauma or reconstructive cases at Grady Hospital. She relishes the opportunity to educate residents and medical students in all aspects of patient care. Dr. Sethna has a strong interest in several areas of facial plastic surgery research and has presented at national meetings on the importance of resident and fellow education in rhinoplasty techniques and adjunctive measures to decrease discomfort during cosmetic procedures.

Takeaways from Dr. Eaves’ Body Contouring – Getting Ready for Summer Live Chat

Body ContouringThank you to everyone who joined us for the Body Contouring – Getting Ready for Summer live chat hosted by Emory Aesthetic Center surgeon, Dr. Felmont Eaves. Dr. Eaves discussed body contouring options to help shape the body for summer and tighten excess or loose skin. He described both surgical and non-surgical procedures – including liposuction, tummy tucks, arm and thigh lifts.

We were thrilled with the number of people who registered and were able to participate in the chat. The response was so great that we had a few questions we were not able to answer so we will answer them below for your reference.

If you missed this informative chat, be sure to check out the full list of questions and answers located on our chat transcript. You may also visit the Emory Aesthetic Center website for more information on therapies and solutions to get your body ready for the summer.

Question: What are new procedures for arm lifts?

Felmont Eaves, MDDr. Eaves: Arm lifts continue to evolve as we are doing more of them all the time. Arm lifts can be categorized into short scar techniques, full length techniques, and minimally invasive techniques. The short scar technique leaves a scar that is limited to the axilla (arm pit) and can help looseness in the upper part of the arm closest to the shoulder. But this technique isn’t as effective if the looseness goes far down the arm. In this case a full-length arm lift is recommended, although this does leave a long scar on the inside of the arm. For some patients, if skin laxity of the arms isn’t severe, liposuction alone may give a very nice result with a tiny scar. While there are some companies advertising significant arm tightening with non-invasive procedures, I haven’t seen impressive results with these yet.

Question: I have a normal BMI. How drastic can I expect the results of CoolSculpting to be?

Felmont Eaves, MDDr. Eaves: CoolSculping can certainly make some nice changes, but the results tend to be more subtle than that achieved by liposuction (or excisional surgery). However in patients that have excellent skin elasticity and limited fat deposits, it can do a great job of addressing what you want. It really takes an examination by someone who is familiar with all types of body contouring techniques (non-invasive, liposuction, and excisional surgery) to help you figure out which is best for you.

Question: I have a scar on my stomach from a childhood surgery. Can you fix this?

Felmont Eaves, MDDr. Eaves: That’s a good question. If you are talking about making a scar looking better, then yes, a scar revision can help. Even further, if you have a scar in the lower part of your stomach (below your belly button), that scar might be totally removed with a tummy tuck (although you’ll get a new tummy tuck scar – but it will be better positioned and hidden within the panty or bathing suit area).

Question: Can you get a 6-pack look with a tummy tuck?

Felmont Eaves, MDDr. Eaves: It is possible, but not usually. Having a real “6-pack” requires two things – well developed abdominal muscles (specifically the two muscles in the middle, known as the rectus abdominus muscles) and a very low body fat percentage. When we perform a tummy tuck, we thin out the fatty layers of the abdomen, however it is important to keep the thickness of the tissues in harmony with surrounding areas of the body, otherwise it may look odd. A tummy tuck won’t build up the abdominal muscles.




Skin Care throughout the Stages of Life

Skin Care StagesOne thing my experience as an aesthetician for over twenty years has taught me is that each client/patient has individual cosmetic concerns and needs. As you age, as seasons change, and as you go through different transitions of life, your skin will change as well. It is important to have a relationship with an aesthetician so that he/she can help you look your best through every phase of your life. As skincare specialists, we are trained to provide the proper treatments and ingredients to your skin to allow it to be at its optimal health. Below are some general skincare guidelines we recommend for the different stages of life:

  • In your thirties it is time to get serious about your skin care. Stop using bar soap on your delicate skin. Now is the time to begin using a facial cleanser morning and night. It is imperative to wear sunscreen daily with an SPF of 30 or higher – be sure to look for one that has a blend of antioxidants and moisture. For night, we recommend using a light moisturizer containing antioxidants, retinol or Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) to give your skin the help it needs to stay rejuvenated.

Having regular facials every six to eight weeks will help keep the pores clean and hydrate the skin. Also, microdermabrasion is a great way to have your skin exfoliated and give it a very refined and polished look.

With our doctors, Botox®  may be a consideration if you are starting to see fine lines around the eyes and forehead.

  • In your forties you need to step up the game on your skin care. It is time for more advanced active ingredients. You will find these products at your cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist office. It is time to utilize the assistance of a skin care specialist to recommend proper products based on an evaluation of your skin. Washing your face with a cleanser containing AHA will help with exfoliating the skin to give it a nice glow. Using an antioxidant serum like will fight against the free radicals we expose our skin to everyday. Regular use of prescription grade retinol or tretinoin will boost collagen and elastin, as well as help to slow down the hands of time.

Intense Pulse Light (IPL) is a wonderful in office treatment that can assist in removing unwanted brown spots and broken blood vessels caused by sun damage. Medium depth facial peels are also an option to help give the face a lighter, brighter, and more supple appearance.

With our doctors, dermal fillers such as Restylane® , Juvederm®  and Voluma®  can be added to the face to help soften fine lines around the mouth and other areas of the face where needed. Botox®  can soften the appearance of lines around the eyes and forehead. Deeper chemical peels performed in the operating room are done for more advanced sun damage.

  • In your fifties it’s time to fight back the hands of time. Keep in mind that at this stage the skin is dryer and more fragile. Wash your face with a gentle hydrating cleanser morning and night. Never forget your daily sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Use products with DNA repair, growth factors and stem cells that will help trigger new cell growth. Make sure to continue your prescription retinol or tretinoin to slow down the aging affects. Always use night creams rich in hyaluronic acid that will help retain moisture in your skin.

Fractional Resurfacing is a noninvasive laser treatment that can help in smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. It can assist in tightening the face and neck multiple treatments are required for best results. Intense pulse light can help the appearance of rosacea and brown spots caused by the sun. Micro-needling with a growth factor is also a great choice to help stimulate collagen production in the skin. We recommend facials every four to six weeks to help with hydration and circulation.

It may be the time to build a relationship with a cosmetic surgeon to weigh the options of a liquid facelift using dermal fillers and Botox®  injections versus taking the plunge and having surgery. Finding a physician that you trust and feel 100% confident in is very important. Take the time to get to know your surgeon so that if and when you make the decision to have surgery you will be comfortable with your choice.

  • In your sixties your skin may be much more sensitive so protection and hydration is very important. Use gentle cleansers to wash your face morning and night. Wear a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher daily. Using antioxidants and hyaluronic acid will help protect and hydrate the skin. Using a mild exfoliate once a week will help give your skin a nice glow. Using products with DNA repair, growth factors and stem cells will help trigger new cell growth. Applying moisturizers with ceramides will bring long lasting hydration to the skin.

Having facials on a regular basis will ensure hydration and stimulation for your skin. Hydrafacials are a wonderful way to gently exfoliate the skin and infuse the face with antioxidants and hyaluronic acid using a special machine that helps penetrate deep into the skin. For an overall rejuvenation to tighten the skin, regain elasticity, minimize pores, and soften fine lines and wrinkles, we recommend micro-needling.

With our doctors, deep chemical peels can soften or remove lines and wrinkles around the mouth and tighten the skin. Botox®  and dermal fillers are a great non-surgical way to plump up thin lips, fill the lines around the mouth and soften the lines around the eyes and forehead. Discuss surgical options with your physicians if you considering facial surgery.

Call today for a complimentary skincare consultation with one of our licensed aesthetician at the Emory Aesthetic Center Spa.


The Skinny on Cellulite – What Causes It? What Does It Look Like? What Can I Do About It?

CellluliteCellulite…it is a common complaint among women. Dimples on your cheeks are considered cute but dimples on your thighs? Many women are seeking ways to rid their bodies of cellulite and want to know the fastest and easiest way to do so. The goal of this blog is to provide you with the pertinent facts about cellulite and dispel the myths.

So, what is cellulite? Basically it is a condition in which the skin appears to have underlying fat deposits, giving it a dimpled or lumpy appearance. Cellulite is caused by bands of fibrous tissue that connect the muscle to the skin. If these bands are tight, the fat bulges out between them. It is typically most noticeable on the buttocks and thighs and becomes evident after puberty. It occurs in both men and women, though more commonly in women. In the medical world, it is referred to as adiposis edematosa. To those afflicted with the condition, it makes swimsuit season or even wearing shorts a nightmare.

And what causes it? Truthfully, the causes are not well understood but several theories exist to provide an explanation. Some believe hormones play a role in cellulite development; others think it is genetic. It has also been suggested that diet and lifestyle factors contribute to cellulite. People who eat too much fat, carbohydrate or salt and too little fiber are likely to have greater cellulite. And the condition is more prevalent in smokers, those who do not exercise and those who stand or sit in one position for long periods of time. It has even been suggested that tight underwear across the buttocks may contribute to its formation. The point is that no one knows for sure why it happens.

So what can you do about it? First, I would encourage you to be evaluated by one of the physicians or aestheticians at the Emory Aesthetic Center. Let’s confirm the diagnosis so we can create a personalized plan for its management. It may be that you don’t have cellulite but instead laxity of your skin and body contouring surgery such as a thigh lift or liposuction would benefit you.

If it is cellulite, my second recommendation is don’t waste your money on creams, loofas, massagers or the like. If you see an advertisement for a cure for cellulite on television or in a magazine, it is not worth the $19.99 they are selling it for (even if you get the special offer of two for the price of one).

The best solution for cellulite is a healthy diet and exercise. Simple, right? But very hard to accomplish in our fast-paced world of processed foods and sedentary jobs. But it is the only proven approach to get an improvement. Commit yourself to a healthy diet of fresh foods, plenty of water, and moderate to rigorous exercise three days a week, and you will see an improvement. Cellulite may never go completely away but you will see a positive change and be more confident in your swimsuit or shorts.


About Dr. Anderson

Erica Anderson, MDErica Anderson, MD, is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and currently holds an appointment as Assistant Professor in the Division of Plastic Surgery at Emory University. Dr. Anderson completed her general surgery residency and plastic surgery residency at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and associated hospitals in Denver, CO. She completed a year of advanced training in Aesthetic Surgery at Grotting Plastic Surgery in Birmingham, Alabama.

Dr. Anderson returns to Emory University after being in private practice in Arlington, Virginia. While there, she maintained a busy aesthetic and reconstructive practice and also served as Medical Director for the Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center at Virginia Hospital Center.

Dr. Anderson’s academic and research interests are largely focused on clinical outcomes with regards to cosmetic surgery. Her areas of clinical interest are diverse including cosmetic surgery of the breast and body as well chest wall reconstruction and wound care.

Dr. Anderson is married with 3 children, Trent, Connor and Fiona, and 2 vizslas, Max and Mimi.

Holiday Glow – Getting Your Skin Ready for the Holidays

Emory Aesthetic Center Winter GlowYou bought the dress, the new shoes and the jewelry. You secured a babysitter. You have an appointment for your hair. But have you thought about your face? Is your skin ready for the holidays?

The Emory Aesthetic Center Spa can help get your skin ready for the holiday season. The question is how much time do you have before that special event? Let’s discuss the options available to get your skin glowing.

For the Planner – You have everything scheduled weeks in advance.

Since the amount of time required for recovery is not an issue for you, you are a candidate for the most effective non-surgical treatments we have available. This means you will have the most significant change to your skin for your upcoming event.

  • Fractional laser resurfacing can be performed to improve fine lines and wrinkles and the overall texture of your skin. The treatment requires premedication and topical numbing cream. The treatment takes about 45minutes to perform. We ask that you have someone available to drive you home. After the procedure you are very red and swollen and this can last for 3-5days. Your skin will be flaky and rough for up to a week after the treatment. Do this well in advance of a special event. The results can be amazing.
  • Micro-needling is the latest innovation for our Spa, and is similar to fractional laser resurfacing. The difference is that micro-needling is done with small needles as opposed to the laser. It helps with fine lines and improving pore size. Topical numbing cream is used. After the treatment your skin is red, lasting for 1-2 days. The redness however can be easily covered with makeup. Depending on how aggressive your treatment is, some bruising may be evident for up to a week. This is another great option for getting your skin to glow.
  • Medium depth chemical peels are another great way to get your holiday glow. The peel is well tolerated. Minimal discomfort is noted. Immediately after the peel the skin will be red. The peeling process typically begins 3 days after the treatment and can last 4-5 days. Your skin peels in sheets as if you have had sunburn. Beautiful skin is uncovered.
  • Intense pulsed laser (IPL) is another option if you have recovery time. IPL uses laser energy to remove dark spots, irregular pigmentation, and broken blood vessels. It is easily tolerated with minimal discomfort. Your skin will be very red the day of treatment. Brown spots and vessels will appear much darker for up to one week. A great option if spots are an issue.

For the Procrastinator – You tend to do things last minute. You just found a dress and the party is in 2 days, but there is still time to improve your skin.

• A microdermabrasion treatment can be performed to reveal brighter skin. Fine crystals speed exfoliation and the superficial and dull layer of skin is removed. Your skin will be slightly pink after the treatment but will resolve in a few hours. Your new glow is evident the following day.

• We offer a variety of facials that will leave you slightly red after the treatment, although it will resolve in a few hours or the following day. They are a wonderful combination of stress reduction and skin improvement.

• A HydraFacial™ is a multi-step treatment that hydrates the skin and results in glowing skin at the completion of the procedure. No down time required.

No matter how much time you have, the licensed aestheticians at the Emory Aesthetic Center Spa can create an individualized care plan that works for you. We offer all of these treatments and can help you accomplish the goal of glowing skin for the holidays. Take the first step to getting your holiday glow and make an appointment. Visit our website to see our current Specials running through the month of December.


Chemical Peels 101

Are you looking to obtain brighter, younger looking skin – diminishing those fine lines and wrinkles, skin discoloration and a dull complexion? Watch this segment on Fox 5 Good Day Atlanta featuring Emory Aesthetic Center surgeon, Dr. Erica Anderson, as she gives you the skinny on chemical peels and discusses how they work and who would be a good candidate.

Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

For more information about chemical peels, what they are and how they work, check out this previous blog post!

How to Choose the Right Aesthetic Surgeon for You

Cosmetic SurgeonWhen you first start to think about having an aesthetic surgery procedure or a non-surgical one, picking the right physician is a huge decision. You take time to look at the facts, but with every website touting world-class credentials and fame, how do you know who to choose? I once had a patient, who was a judge by profession, discover that she had undergone a procedure by a non-plastic surgeon. She had reviewed the doctor online and saw diplomas and certificates in the office, but yet she was still deceived. If it can happen to a judge, it can happen to anyone.

Any doctor can say they perform aesthetic surgery; however, there are ways to make sure that the physician you are considering does actually have the correct qualifications to perform the procedure that you desire. If you know where and how to look, it can be easier than you think.

  1. Training background. Common sense dictates that you want to find a doctor who is specially trained in the area in which you are interested. It would seem odd to choose an emergency room physician to do your facelift, or a pediatrician to do your breast surgery, but these things do happen. To know for sure, check out specific background training and if that training was actually completed in its entirety in a residency program approved by the American Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) []. Appropriate background training for aesthetic surgery procedures, i.e. those training programs that include aesthetic surgery or procedures within their curriculum, include plastic surgery (all areas), otolaryngology (facial), ophthalmology (facial areas around the eyes), and dermatology (skin). Physicians trained in these areas will often have additional training such as an aesthetic surgery fellowship leading to additional credentials, e.g. certifications by the American Board for Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery or membership in the American Society for Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
  2. Board certification. Everyone knows to check out board certification, but most don’t realize that medical boards are not regulated by the states or federal government. This means that just about anyone can create a “board” and print impressive looking certificates that may not be backed up by the appropriate training and testing to assure your safety. With successful completion of testing, ACGME training programs lead to certification by boards that are members of the American Board of Medical Specialties []. These include the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the American Board of Otolaryngology, the American Board of Dermatology, and the American Board of Ophthalmology, which together represent the “core four” boards. Be aware these boards generally require a period of time in practice before the certification is awarded. If a surgeon that you are considering is board eligible, don’t discount them for not having their certification in hand as long as they are working toward that certification.
  3. Where the doctor operates. Hospitals, outpatient surgery facilities, and office-based surgical facilities are all appropriate locations for aesthetic procedures. It is critical, however, that the facility is appropriately certified by one of the major certifying organizations. These include the Joint Commission, the American Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, or the American Association for Ambulatory Health Care.
  4. Hospital privileges. Most aesthetic surgery procedures are performed in an office or ambulatory surgery environment; however, it is important that your doctor has hospital privileges as well. In order to be granted hospital privileges, a credentialing committee must examine the training background, board certification or eligibility, and ethical considerations of the physician. The surgeon you choose should have privileges to perform your desired procedure in a hospital.
  5. Memberships in legitimate national professional societies. Many national medical societies require that members are board certified in a particular specialty. For example, both the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons require that members be board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. In addition to the education that they require, they examine marketing claims, review ethics complaints, and require that surgeons operate only in approved surgical facilities.
  6. Speaking with former patients. Often patients who have had surgery will volunteer to speak with others about their experiences with the doctor. This can be very helpful on a couple of fronts, first by making you feel comfortable with the care that has been provided to someone else, but also by understanding directly what the recovery and results were like.
  7. Don’t choose solely based on photographs. Although historically it was recommended to review a doctor’s before and after photographs to make a decision, in this digital age you can never be sure if those are actually that doctor’s patients or that the images are not touched up. Lighting and makeup can markedly affect how the photos look, and of course, surgeons tend to pick their best patients to showcase. For these reasons, choosing a doctor based primarily on their photographs may not be reliable. However, when talking with a doctor that you trust, pictures can be a powerful tool to help you understand what your results could look like and what are realistic expectations.

Once you do your homework, then it is very important to meet with the doctor one-on-one. Do they seem genuine? Do they really listen to you? Do they spend appropriate time with you? Are they trying to sell you something or do they seem truly interested in you and your goals? If you feel uneasy with a surgeon before surgery, just imagine how you will feel afterwards, especially if things don’t go as hoped.

At the Emory Aesthetic Center we are committed to having appropriately trained and certified physicians working within their scope of training. All of our physicians have undergone the scrutiny of Emory Healthcare’s credentialing process, and each holds an appointed faculty position at the Emory University School of Medicine. But most importantly, our physicians are committed to providing quality care to you, with understanding and compassion, as you embark upon your aesthetic journey.