We asked a doctor the internet's most-asked medical aesthetics questions

Jun 30 2021, 11:43 am

Although medical aesthetics treatments have grown in popularity in recent years, a stigma associated with getting these treatments remains.

“I think that this, in part, originates from the unnatural outcomes that have been seen for so many years, and sometimes still today, creating the illusion that people are trying to look like something they are not or an age they are not,” Dr. Sarah Kennea, the medical director at Whistler Medical Aesthetics, tells Daily Hive.

This, she says, is why her clinic focuses on age-appropriate outcomes and correction of aging changes rather than abnormal, disproportionate enhancement of features. Patient-focused, Whistler Medical Aesthetics is dedicated to breaking away from the Hollywood image that has been projected on the medical aesthetics industry over the past two decades. 

Education around what can be achieved from treatments, Dr. Kennea says, has to come from medical professionals, but not enough injectors or doctors “train sufficiently on the more modern approach to facial aesthetics, such as the MD Codes developed by Dr. Mauricio De Maio.”

Dr. Kennea was selected to receive mentorship directly from Dr. De Maio in 2019, becoming just one of seven physicians in Canada to learn from the world-renowned expert in facial aesthetic medicine. Today, the seven doctors continue to teach injectors how to achieve natural-looking results and corrections for patients — techniques and skills that require ongoing education.

Here in the Lower Mainland, Dr. Kennea is the only physician who is part of this process, and her client list includes everyone from Hollywood A-listers to international patients who travel to Whistler seeking her expertise. Curious to learn more about medical aesthetics, we asked Dr. Kennea for her opinion on the internet’s most-asked questions.

Is there a standard age that people should start getting medical aesthetics treatments?

There’s no stage, and we always fully assess every patient’s needs and wants for treatment, but there is a growing theme of medical aesthetics as preventing aging, using techniques and technology, such as Broadband Light (BBL), which ensures the youth genes within the skin remain switched on perpetually.

What are your views on the trend of ‘baby Botox’?

Whist I will never over-treat a younger patient, as many of them can manage with lower Botox doses, there is significant scientific evidence from the literature that higher doses result in better longevity and more satisfied patient outcomes.

The most satisfactory use of Botox I see is when people start to use Botox at the first sign of static lines. A static line is a line you can see when the face is at rest. Because young people will rapidly heal those lines over the three-to-four-month window that the Botox is active, we can prevent those lines from ever developing. This is why Botox is described as preventative.

Patients need to trust their injector. Would someone go to a dentist and tell them how much amalgam to use in a filling? Patients need to understand that everyone’s facial anatomy, rate of volume loss, muscle strength, static lines, etc., are different; therefore, patients can’t predict or determine how much Botox they need based on anecdotal evidence from the internet or ‘what a friend had done.’

What is the phenomenon of doctors injecting to treat the symptom as opposed to the cause?

The classic example of this is the nasolabial (the fold between the nose and the mouth). This feature is a symptom of volume loss and descent in the face and a lack of support laterally and to the muscles which elevate the face.

Simply treating this by filling the line does not correct the descent of the face, whilst the patient thinks that filling the line will make them happy; they are in fact happiest if we work to enhance the muscles in the mid-face, which lift the tissue back to its previous position. This results in a much more natural, age-appropriate outcome — similar to reversing aging by five to 10 years.

What are some of the most common treatments patients request?

Lip correction, under-eye correction, jawline, forehead, and frown lines. A structure we like to use is to look at the emotional messages of the face. Negative emotional messages can happen either through the genetic predisposition of the face or through reasons of facial aging. 

If the muscles that lift the face become unsupported i.e., through volume loss from aging, then the muscles which drag down the lower face can act more strongly, leading to the appearance of sadness or anger. This can have subsequent effects on how a patient is perceived by family, friends, and colleagues.

When this is corrected, patients report an increased sense of emotional well-being. This is backed up by scientific studies which demonstrated a change in the autonomic nervous system input to the face, which could help explain this renewed sense of emotional well-being. 

What are the biggest misconceptions of medical aesthetics?

Myth: If you start using Botox, you will always need to use it: not true. 
Truth: The fact is patients come to prefer their face with Botox! I often say to patients, even if they did Botox once or twice per year, you will still delay the progression of your static lines.

Myth: Botox leads to an emotionless, frozen face.
Truth: The frozen look likely results from excessive use of Botox in the lower face for issues that really should have been tackled with a dermal filler approach. I have many patients whose partners are completely unaware they have Botox regularly, as the results are so natural. We only use Botox in specific muscles to achieve a specific objective, e.g., in the forehead to treat forehead lines or in the frown to prevent frowning.  

Myth: A full syringe of filler leads to an ‘overfilled’ look.
Truth: It takes five full syringes of hyaluronic acid to fill one teaspoon. From the age of 35, the average person loses the equivalent of six syringes of filler per year. This is where education and time are essential for patients to understand their unique needs and trust the physician’s expertise and experience.

Myth: If you start using filler, you will always need filler.
Truth: Not true. Volume support can help prevent the development of lines and the descent of the face. The maintenance of volume is critical for the prevention of age-related deterioration. In this way, filler can also be preventative, but being treated with filler does not mean that you trigger some need to always be treated with filler. It’s a bit like Botox, patients just learn to prefer their face both relaxed and lifted.


To discover balance and harmony in medical aesthetics treatments or book a consultation, visit the Whistler Medical Aesthetics website.

Whistler Medical Aesthetics

Address: 235 – 4370 Lorimer Road, Whistler
Phone: 604-962-1201
Hours:

  • Monday to Saturday: 8:30 am to 5 pm
  • Sunday: Closed
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