Combining Technology for Facial Rejuvenation


Suzanne L. Kilmer, MD

 Clinical Pearls: When Combining Devices with Injectables and Other Devices

In this presentation, Dr Kilmer reviews the techniques for combining the various technologies that are currently available for facial rejuvenation in order to obtain optimal cosmetic improvement for patients.

Dr Kilmer stresses the importance of remembering the 4 Rs:

  • Relax
  • Refill
  • Resurface
  • Redrape

During her initial consult with patients Dr Kilmer discusses the 4 Rs and how the various techniques that she uses in combination for facial rejuvenation can aide in maximizing the outcomes. It is also important, as dermatologists that full disclosure regarding outcomes is presented. Dr Kilmer informs her patients that she does not “have a magic wand or a crystal ball”; therefore, she can’t predict the outcomes of any given patient.


It is important to relax the skin with a botulinum toxin to keep both the muscles and the skin from moving as much as it otherwise would. If she is going to laser the skin, the results are improved when the skin/muscles are not moving. Dr Kilmer also uses fillers, in conjunction with the toxins and lasers to fill in lines, tighten up the skin and remove brown/red spots.

Clinical Pearl: Never use toxins, lasers, or any other device that can cause significant swelling on the same day. This can result in the toxin migrating to other places where you do not want it.

 Refill-Restore Volume Loss

When using dermal fillers, the objective is to restore volume based on a patient’s specific needs. Fillers can be placed in various areas locally such as the nasolabial folds, marionette lines, deep glabellar rhytids, tear troughs, and the nasal bridge. Fillers can also be used globally in the cheeks and temples.  It is important to remember that there may be a lag time resulting in delayed gratification.

It is very important to keep in mind that one can’t massage post poly-L-lactic acid (Sculptra) in areas where Botulinum toxin was placed.

If all of these procedures are being done in one patient, Dr Kilmer typically tries to slow down the movement and relax the muscles. Discussions with patients regarding the overall procedures that could be performed are very important. Considerations for patients include money, down time, and fear factor, i.e., what are they willing to go through? In these consultations, Dr Kilmer and her patients decide on the best approach based upon their issues and the issues that she sees.

 Combination Treatments

  • Best order
    • Start with toxins to stop movement and relax muscles.
      • Relax frown, smile and lip lines when doing facial rejuvenation
      • Relax DAOs and neck bands when doing fillers, tightening or resurfacing
        • May need less filler and patients are happy sooner with tightening devices
        • Then filler or laser depending on a patient’s specific needs (and ability for downtime)
          • Never do toxins and lasers that cause swelling at the same time because toxins can migrate.
          • Typically end with filler if still needed after toxins and laser
            • Sometimes the combination will diminish the need for filler
            • If able to tell that will need volume, can do before or at same time as laser

Caveats of Combining Treatments

  • Toxin with Filler
    • Can’t massage post poly-L-lactic acid (Sculptra) in areas where Botulinum toxin was placed
    • Toxin with Laser
      • Can’t do toxin same day as Fractional lasers – swelling can lead to migration
      • Can do botulinum toxin with PDL, IPL, CoolTouch, SmoothBeam, Thermage, Titan
      • Filler with Laser
        • Can do filler same day but do first if doing fractional as swelling can mask need for filler.
        • Fractional with nonablative RF tightening
          • Same day – do Thermage 1st because need intact skin but when you do the fractional laser the skin may still be sensitive. (wait an hour or two because the sensation will decrease with time)

Combining Fractional with other Devices

  • Fractional laser with other lasers/txs
    • Lentigines – pre-tx QS lasers, KTPs, etc
    • AKs – LN2
    • Sebaceous hyperplasia, nevi – 1450 nm
    • Vascular lesions – PDL, KTP, Alex
    • Downtime from other treatment is simultaneous and shortened
    • Fractional resurfacing with ablative resurfacing
      • Almost always do fully ablative to upper eyelids
        • More tightening/more predictable – do inner canthi
  • Can ablate/sculpt edges of scars, upper lip lines and elevated lesions
  • Ablative fractional and nonablative fractional resurfacing
    • Nonablative fractional to face, ablative to neck for more tightening /crepiness – useful for those with hx ablative resurfacing/chemical peels/dermabrasion

Other Combination Therapy

Other combination therapy includes fat loss and tissue tightening (CoolSculpting + RF tissue tightening, lipo/laser lipo + tissue tightening); Fractionated RF ((ePRime) + QS/KTP/PDL); and Fractionated US ((Ulthera) + QS/KTP/PDL).

Now that the 4Rs have been implemented, dermatologists need to be particularly aware of reassessing. Combination treatments may minimize the need for other treatments; therefore, increasing the interval for maintenance. For example, one can decrease the need for the amount and frequency of dermal fillers and one can conduct fewer fractional treatments when lentigines are specifically targeted. There may also be the possibility of foregoing vascular laser treatment if the fractional laser used to treat facial vessels was sufficient. Patient concerns should be addressed, i.e., were his/her expectations met? Is there anything new on the patient that has become noticeable since the initial treatment needs have been performed and met? Normally, with time, additional needs will become apparent.


In summary, botulinum toxins, fillers and lasers can be used synergistically to minimize the signs and sun damage and aging. To produce the optimal results, expertise in the techniques are required, one should use the best possible modalities and watching and treating for any possible complications is imperative. Combining these modalities may obviate the need for more invasive procedures.