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San Clemente Journal

Plumping Power

Feb 01, 2008 09:23PM ● By Don Kindred
by Maggie Zeibak

Put the needle on a pedestal! Embrace a little discomfort! Sing, “Hail to the Chief” to a next-generation dermal injectable named Radiesse that works wonders in softening facial lines. 
Every time I opened a magazine, there were glossy advertisements jumping out at me for a myriad number of cosmetic products and procedures, claiming amazing results. The veritable smorgasbord of treatments available only served to confuse me, and, of course, enabled me to dither around and delay making an appointment to find out which one to choose.

Sifting through all of the options, I was forced to do my research (which is a good thing) to become familiar with brand names and understand precisely what they can do. Just because we hear a lot about one product, it might not be the one that benefits your area of concern. A product for your forehead might not work on your lips, so it is important to listen to your medical professional.

In my case, I was desperately feeling the need for Gorilla Glue to keep the corners of my mouth in an upward curve. Being a person who enjoys a good laugh, the years of mirth, fits of giggles, chortles, snickers, and to say nothing of smirks accompanying witty repartee, have taken their toll. Expressionless faces hold no charm for me, yet the growing chasms of smile lines running rampant down my cheeks, formed explicit parentheses around my lips, specifically gained from a lifetime experience of effortless beaming and grinning.
Frankly, if it hadn’t been for another family member I’d still have slack, droopy areas in my face. Once I’d seen the positive results of FDA-approved Radiesse, I couldn’t wait to get a consultation and an appointment. 

Dermal fillers restore a natural, more youthful look without major cosmetic surgery, and most of us just want to tweak nature and enhance our looks by softening those aging smile lines, nasty wrinkles around the nose and mouth and the deepening Nasolabial folds (they run from your nose to your lips).

Radiesse is made of unique calcium-based microspheres suspended in a natural gel that is injected into the skin, just below the surface. Forming tiny “scaffolds” to support and stimulate your own collagen, it temporarily fills out facial folds and rebuilds the foundation of the skin. 

Ah, the word “temporarily”. How long will it last, you ask? It is a longer-term enhancement, but eventually the microspheres will break down and naturally absorb into your body. More than likely, it won’t happen for a year or more, and that’s enough to make you smile and enjoy the reprieve.

Fortified with a Tylenol and a good dose of apprehension, I found myself sitting in the medical office of Drs. Mark and Jeannine Koffard at Riviera Laser Studios ( in Dana Point. Even though I knew it was no big deal, my heart changed from a steady pitty-pat to a nervous boom-diddy-boom in a very short space of time. Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) is offered for the worst part – the numbing injections - which are no worse than you get at the dentist. Sitting there with flabby, rubbery lips and trying to enunciate clearly was a challenge, although in no time at all, Dr. Mark was working hard at filling up those crevasses with shots I could not feel. He injected small amounts using a very fine needle – his weapon of mass construction - as I tried to remember to breathe. The lines at the corner of my lips needed a lot of work and we knew that I would be bruised and slightly tender. The numbness wore off gently and a light application of an icepack helped the swelling go down. 

Yes, these are the side effects and, let’s face it; my purple-hued chin wasn’t a pretty sight for a week, yet the excellent results became more apparent as each day passed. Interested friends wanted digital images on a daily basis to monitor my progress, but I wasn’t going that route – that’s blackmail material.

Radiesse stimulates the body to produce new collagen, so not only was I graced with instant gratification of facial volume; I knew that the results would only get better. The smile lines that made me frown were plumped up and much less noticeable, not, may I emphasize, erased. Achieving a natural look is what Dr.Mark and I had in mind.

The Drs. Koffard, who met professionally in the E.R., have been in Dana Point for six years. Dr. Jeannine said “We’ve used Radiesse for many conventional uses, but when used creatively we’ve seen excellent results in the frown lines between the eyes, eyebrows, straightening noses and as an implant in the chin. Also, after a single treatment to the hand, (think sparkly rings) the smooth, filled-out outcome has been amazing. This filler is not recommended to treat lips, as that must be accomplished by another product. We have so many happy clients that I believe that Radiesse is better than therapy, and there are no allergic reactions!”

Waging war on aging skin interests Dr.Mark, who has a doctoral degree in wound healing and collagen rejuvenation in addition to his specialized training in cosmetic medicine. “We treat both male and female patients and I love to make a 55 year-old face look 35. Many patients do not want to go through major cosmetic surgery and the inconvenient downtime recovering from the anesthetic. Radiesse can take 5-10 years off someone’s face – just allow one week for the swelling and bruising to go away. Sometimes we have patients who say they want more of the product to fill out an area; no problem, we are able to tune-up and refine the treatment very easily. We’ve also had success in filling out scars so that they are less noticeable.”

Of course, just like snowflakes everyone is different, with some of us needing more treatment than others. The same applies to healing and recovery, but as a rule of thumb, seven days is about average based on my experience. Would I do it again? You betcha! Any regrets? Yup, why didn’t I do it sooner? b