One of the most visible signs of aging is the development of skin laxity. This lifelong process may become evident as early as the third or fourth decade of life and progressively worsens with the passage of time. Histological research has shown that dependent stretching or age-related skin laxity is due in part to progressive skin atrophy associated with a reduction of skin tensile strength. When combined with the downward force of gravity, age related dermal atrophy results in the expansion of the skin envelope. The most affected areas are the neck, upper arms, inner thighs, breasts, lower abdomen and knee regions.
The frequency and negative societal impact of these aesthetic conditions has prompted the development of surgical procedures such as facelifts, mastopexies (breasts), abdominoplasties (abdomen) and brachioplasties (upper arms). While these procedures have been widely used, the inherent adverse effects of these surgical procedures are post-operative pain, scarring and the risk of surgical complications. With a number of these procedures, plastic surgeons have developed techniques to “hide” the extensive scarring from the procedure, but this is difficult in skin areas such as the upper arms, neck, inner thighs and areas above the knee.