Nasolabial folds are the creases that we all have from each side of the nose down to the corners of the mouth. The name is derived from the Latin “nasus” for nose, and “labium” for lips. These folds are quite normal, and are what are commonly referred to as laughter lines or smile lines. You may also have heard them referred to as parentheses. Visible nasolabial folds when you are smiling are not something to get concerned about; they are an inevitable result of your smile, and when you think about it, it would look extremely unnatural for them not to be present at these times.
Nasolabial folds are what are technically known as dynamic wrinkles, which means that they are caused by the motion of the facial muscles. The problem for some people is the way in which these wrinkles naturally become deeper and more pronounced as they age, even when they are not smiling.
Although for many people, these lines can be quite attractive, and can signify that a person has a warm, outgoing, friendly personality, it is a fact that they do drop some pretty major clues as to a persons real age.
For this reason, many people do choose to take advantage of the new cosmetic treatments, designed to correct the nasolabial folds.
If you, like many people, are bothered by the appearance of Nasolabial Folds, then there are a number of surgical and non-surgical options which will correct those issues.
One thing to be aware of is that you do need to have realistic expectations about the results of your treatment. This is particularly the case with injectable facial fillers. These are often marketed with Before and After pictures, that conveniently show atypically superb results.
While facial fillers are a great treatment for Nasolabial Folds, the photos used in marketing this solution do tend to mislead about the actual extent of reduction, frequently leading patients to believe that the treatment will completely eliminate these lines.
Surgical correction of Nasolabial lines does need to be treated by the patient as the genuine surgery that it truly is. As a rule, it makes more sense to explore the non-surgical solutions, before considering the more risky, permanent treatments.
Although years of smiling, laughing and talking are one factor in the development of Nasolabial Folds, there are other factors which will be of equal or greater significance.
A slowing-down of your body’s production of collagen is a normal part of the aging process, and this results in the loss of your skin’s elasticity. Fat deposits in the cheeks typically decrease, as well, and these factors can combine to create deep lines.
Smoking will certainly speed up the aging process upon your skin, as will frequent exposure to strong sunlight. If you wish to delay the onset of these kinds of wrinkles, then giving up smoking and making sure that you use sunblock will definitely slow down the aging process.
Avoiding smiling is unlikely to help prevent the development of these lines, so our best advice is to carry on smiling and laughing, and generally enjoying life.
Injectable fillers are the most common method of correcting Nasolabial Folds. These are quick and effective, and are available from many dermatologists, as well as cosmetic surgeons.
Fillers are injected beneath the lines, and work by pushing the folds outwards, and therefore softening the creases. There are several alternatives as regards injectable fillers, of which Restylane, Juvederm and Radiesse are probably the most commonly used; some brands of filler appear to have longer lasting results, however the brand-name of the product used should not be expected to have any particular impact upon the results.
Using fillers to correct Nasolabial Folds should be regarded as temporary, with the results generally expected to last nine to twelve months.
Surgical solutions are a rather more long-term approach, and should look more at the causes of the problem. Often, the presence of pronounced Nasolabial Folds is a result of loss of volume in areas surrounding the folds. Here, it is possible to build up the surrounding area, using fat grafts or a small cheek implant.
In other cases, it may be an excess of fat that creates the lines, and so micro liposuction may be an option.
A Face Lift is unlikely to be a suitable option for younger patients, simply to treat Nasolabial Folds, but for an older patient who may have already been considering a face lift, this may be a good solution to the problem. A mid face lift can be expected to have good results on sagging cheeks and the Nasolabial lines that often come with them. Nonetheless, this is a major surgery, and so should be given careful consideration.
The final option is Nasolabial Fold Excision. Here, the surgeon literally surgically removes the lines, before suturing the area back together. As you might expect, this does result in a visible scar on each side of the face, which strikes me as a rather unappealing trade-off.
There is no question that it is perfectly possible to reduce Nasolabial lines, both surgically and non-surgically, and the results can be extremely effective.
The patient should, however, make sure that they have seen some photographic evidence of their surgeon’s or dermatologist’s previous patients. The patient should also be aware that the surgeon is more likely to be showing you those pictures where the treatment has been most successful. This means that the smart patient will always take care to ask how representative these photos are.
Generally speaking, the best option will be to take the least-invasive treatment available, which in this instance is injectable fillers. Although a temporary solution, they are by far the safer option, and can have some very effective results. We wouldn’t really recommend the Excision method, as to replace one visible aesthetic problem with another, combined with the risks and expense of surgery really just doesn’t make sense to us!
Face Lift surgery can certainly tackle the problem of deep Nasolabial lines, but should not really be considered unless there are other issues bothering you that can also be resolved by a Face Lift. It should also be understood that no type of face lift surgery can completely eradicate Nasolabial Folds.
The surgical techniques can be regarded to all intents and purposes as a permanent solution. Fat grafting and fat injections are a semi-permanent fix, with strips of donated fat providing longer-lasting results, while synthetic injectable fillers are all temporary methods of correcting the Nasolabial Folds.
Nasolabial Fold Excision will cost around $3-$5,000, while a typical price for a Face Lift will be around $14,000. Treating Nasolabial Folds with injectable fillers is much more affordable, but since the results are temporary, you will need to bear in mind that you will most likely want repeat treatments every nine months or so.
All of these treatments are much cheaper in many other countries around the world, and so medical tourism is definitely an option if you would like to reduce the costs by, in some cases, up to 70%.
Needless to say, if you are considering travelling abroad for treatment, you need to research your clinic and surgeon, just as you would in your own country.