A new alternative to face-lifts rises with helium

New procedure touted as less invasive than traditional cosmetic surgery

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Helium lifts party balloons into the air and now it's the special ingredient helping doctors lift and tighten skin.

J-Plasma is the trendy new alternative to a face-lift. The technology combines radio frequency energy to heat the skin and underlying tissue and helium gas to quickly cool it

These two together form a plasma. The plasma is what causes the changes.

Those changes are what 57-year-old Sally Groves was looking for when she traveled across the state to the Boca Raton offices of Dr. Daniel Man.

Groves underwent the J-Plasma procedure two weeks before our interview.

"I didn't like the sagging skin around my face and neck. I felt like I looked older than I felt inside," Groves said.

Groves’ before and after pictures show a dramatic difference, but she wasn't done yet.

She also firmed up the sagging skin under her arms using the J-Plasma method.

"I called them my flabby abbies," Groves said.

The wand worked both on the surface of the skin and under the skin, through tiny incisions.

Sally Groves was so pleased with the results of the procedure on her face that she went back to do her arms.

The wand worked both on the surface of the skin and under the skin, through tiny incisions.

The whole procedure takes about an hour under local anesthesia with minimal downtime.

"To me, there really was no recovery.  I went home and relaxed, and the next day I was up and doing laundry and normal activities," Groves said.

Man said the cool helium is what gives doctors a higher level of precision with less tissue damage.

The J-Plasma technology was approved about one year ago, so far Man has treated 20 patients and he said the results are immediate.

"Results are so good without cutting. Patients go home with results. You don't need a lot of sutures removed and when the dressing comes off the next day, the results are better and better and better," Man said.

The cost for the helium face-lift starts at about $5,000.

But doctors admit the technology is so new that there is little research to assess the long-term effectiveness of the treatment.

Still, whether it's used superficially to erase lines and wrinkles or under the skin to tighten loose flesh, Grove is glad there is a new weapon in fight against aging.

"I just wanted to look good for 57. I want people to say, ‘Wow you look good for your age,’" she said. "I don't want to change my appearance, just look as good as I can for my age."


About the Author:

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.