Medical Makeovers

Livingston had fillers injected in her cheeks and lips
Livingston had fillers injected in her cheeks and lips
Lipo-dissolve can reduce small pockets of fat cells
Lipo-dissolve can reduce small pockets of fat cells

By Mark Bullock - bio | email

MILLBROOK, AL (WSFA) - In the medical profession these days, it's no longer just about making you feel better. Many doctors now promise to make you look better as well.

New cosmetic procedures that don't require surgery are becoming more popular in many practices. 64-year-old Wanda Livingston of Millbrook is a firm believer in these medical makeovers.

"As you get older, your lips start dropping down and they get thinner," she explained.

So Livingston had a doctor inject special fillers into her lips and cheeks.

Dr. Marla Wohlman says the purpose of fillers is to add volume to the face and create a more youthful appearance.

Wohlman is a specialist in hormone replacement therapy, which she combines with cosmetic procedures in what she calls a more holistic approach to improving well being. She has practices in Millbrook and Mountain Brook.

"I never wanted to be a plastic surgeon," Wohlman said. "But cosmetic procedures have developed to the point where you don't have to do surgery anymore."

One of the more innovative procedures available is called lipo-dissolve, an alternative to surgical liposuction. Injections are given under the top layer of skin to smooth out small areas of stubborn fat cells or cellulite.

"If [patients] have just small amounts of fatty tissue, there's no sense in going through surgical liposuction," Wohlman said.

Wanda Livingston also had a third treatment available at Wohlman's practice called skin-tightening. As the name implies, it is designed to diminish fine lines by stimulating new collagen growth.

"[Skin-tightening] improves collagen by heating it with infrared, radio frequency, or lasers," Wohlman said.

For many of today's cosmetic treatments, it takes 4 to 6 visits to see a real difference. And the results are not guaranteed to last forever - often no more than a year and a half.

But many patients see these treatments as a worthy alternative to what otherwise would be a costly, and lengthy hospital stay.

"I think I even went out to dinner that night," Livingston joked.

These treatments are not cheap by any means. Dr. Wohlman charges upwards of $2,000 or $3,000 for one course of treatment. But that's still less than the $10,000 bill normally associated with surgery.