Getting Great Legs Without Surgery

I hate my saggy thighs. Despite that I am a fairly fit runner and my BMI is within normal, the lumps of fat always seem to migrate to my thighs in the form of dreaded cellulite. It’s especially obvious when performing a “downward dog,” the semi-inverted yoga pose that leaves you no choice but to stare at your imperfect thighs.

So my latest move in “the year of turning 60” project – where I share my experiences as I personally try out the latest cosmetic procedures offered here at Van Dyke Laser & Skin – is to tackle the impossible: great legs without surgery, starvation diets or 8 hours a day at the gym. I know some people feel that diet and exercise are the only acceptable ways to improve your appearance, but I beg to differ. I think non-surgical cosmetic procedures can be a great complement to any fitness routine.

One of my favorite combination treatments is Liposonix & Thermage. Liposonix is a fat reduction treatment and Thermage a skin tightening treatment, a winning combo. While I was focused on my thighs, this same procedure can also be used on the tummy, bra fat and flanks. Learn more about Liposonix, Thermage and Fraxel (a skin resurfacing treatment) at our upcoming Non-Invasive Mommy Makeover event. Join us on Wednesday, May 21 for either a Lunch & Learn Seminar: (1 – 2:30 PM) or a Happy Hour Seminar: (5:30 – 7 PM) and find out how Liposonix, Thermage, and Fraxel can work together to restore your natural pre-pregnancy body shape, while reducing the appearance of stretch marks at the same time. But in the meantime, back to my experience with both Liposonix & Thermage.

Because my nearly 60-year-old legs show some laxity and sagging as well as extra fat, I opted to combine my Liposonix with a Thermage treatment. While you can see firming and lifting with Liposinix fat reduction I wanted to specifically target skin laxity which is where Thermage shines. Thermage uses radiofrequency energy to generate heat deep within the skin itself triggering collagen tightening, stimulating new fibroblasts and resulting in new collagen formation. Collagen is the magic material that makes younger skin smoother, firmer and less crepe-like.

Day of: To be honest, Liposonix is an uncomfortable, even painful procedure for some. Most patients chose a pain pill such as Percocet or Vicodan combined with a mild sedative like valium for the treatment, about 5% go for twilight sleep. Various other options include prescription and over the counter anti inflammatories. Comfort management is entirely customizable to the procedure that the patient. Notably, discomfort following the procedure is minimal and does not require pain medications. Because I have decided to have several treatments done at the same time (I will review Ultherapy for facial laxity in a future blog but this was also done at the same sitting) I chose to have twilight sleep. My favorite anesthesiologist (board certified of course and his nurse) arrived at the office to do a quick medical check in, start an IV and I drifted into a lovely slumber.

The Procedure: I was photographed, measured and weighed for base line. Then the areas to be treated were meticulously marked off according to the plan developed at my consultation. We discussed again what areas were of concern. The front of the thighs, inner thighs and the area under the buttock were “grided” (a blueprint for the treatment). Liposonix would be applied precisely to the areas of need. Since I also chose to do Thermage over the same areas on the same day this area was also marked off and included the cellulite/laxity zones of my anterior thighs.

Liposonix was done first and with 40 sites treated took just about 1.5 hours. Immediately after Liposonix was completed the fronts of my thighs were treated with Thermage (about 45 minutes) to further firm and tighten.

After the procedure I felt pretty sore, like I had run a marathon (which I am proud to say I have actually done). I slid into some long leg SPANX for the comfort and compression that reduces soreness, bruising and swelling. And yes I did bruise, Arnica was applied to hasten the resolution and reduce soreness. I must say it did not slow me down one bit. We treat with a high-energy protocol when patients are sedated and the result can be bruising. When patients (95% patients) do not have twilight sleep we use a lower energy protocol that is more comfortable and causes less soreness and bruising but delivers the same results although the treatment time is about 75% longer.

I am now excited to see my results but as I tell my patients: patience! It takes weeks to months for the ultimate result.

Voluma: the greatest thing since the Fountain of Youth!

Doc’s Journey continues this month as she takes the patient’s seat and shares her experience as she receives the latest in cosmetic dermatology treatments. This month features the hottest treatment currently at Van Dyke Laser & Skin – Voluma!

Of course we all know the Fountain of Youth is not real. But, Voluma is and I must say I’m truly wowed by this new filler. Not only does it last twice as long as its’ cousins (Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse, Perlane) but it can do something that we haven’t been able to do before: LIFT!!

This March I’m continuing on my mission to improve myself in the year that I turn 60. In previous months I’ve written about my Ulthera and Thermage experience (and the results are starting to really show!) My latest adventure is with Voluma.

The goal: to “lift the face” without the “facelift”. Have you ever stood in front of the mirror and pulled up on the skin of your face? The results are great, right? The cheeks elevate, the folds from the corners of the mouth to the nose smooth out, along with positive improvement in the marionette lines from the corners to the chin (together known as parentheses). Even the crinkles, bags and dark circles under the eyes look better!! So you ask the plastic surgeon “can’t you just do a little tuck…like this (as you pull upward on your cheeks)?” His/her response, “well, little lady, that is a facelift, general anesthesia, incisions up and down your face, weeks of recovery and months of swelling and oh by the way, well into 5 figures financially.” So you get a face-lift or go home dejected.

Enter: Voluma, FDA approved in November 2013, and widely used in Canada and around the world for years. Voluma’s magic is in its ability to restore facial volume in the cheeks to better support sagging skin of middle age and later. Instant gratification, no down time, a fraction of the cost of surgery (and no surgery) and a natural, not surgical look that lasts for 2 years. PS: you don’t have to be middle aged to benefit; we are now able to enhance cheeks and deliver high cheekbones that maybe you did not get from mom.

Voluma: 2 to 4 syringes (I had 2), a few practically painless injections to the cheekbone area (don’t worry, you won’t get swollen or fat cheeks) and my face is more lifted and youthful. Seriously, it is the easiest thing I have done so far. You should try it.

Note: Dr. Van Dyke is a national trainer and lecturer for Allergan, makers of Voluma, Botox and Juvederm. She has trained hundreds of medical providers and physicians in the use of Voluma and was the first in Arizona to use the product upon FDA approval.

Treatment #1 for the New Year and my renewal

After years of assessing, advising and treating patients I am taking my own advice! Why wait until it has gotten to the point that you “just have to do something!” My advice is to embrace the low risk, non-invasive, treatments that really work; FDA approved for safety and efficacy. Look at this way, we are preserving youth, not just recapturing it. Now at 59, going on 60, I can’t pretend to be preserving youth; but I can look as good as I can by recapturing “youthful,” if not outright young. So here we go…Ways to firm and tighten sagging skin on the face and neck!

Thermage and Ultherapy are two phenomenal non-invasive (read: no down time, minimal risks) procedures for “shrink wrapping” your skin. Thermage has been around for more than a decade and we have done thousands of procedures on the face, neck and eyes to firm and tighten (What’s better, it’s good for other areas of the body, but that’s for another blog!). Ultherapy is a bit newer and penetrates deeper into the skin with Ultrasound generated pinpoints of heat. It precisely targets the SMAS layer below the skin of the face and triggers the generation of new, younger, tighter tissue to actually lift the brow, the cheeks, the jawline and the neck. SMAS is that sheet of connective tissue that fights gravity to keep the face from sagging; it gets lax as aging occurs. Not just a lifting procedure, Ultherapy also firms and tightens the skin itself.

The procedure I had was a combination of Ultherapy for the face and neck and Thermage for the eyelids – kind of a non-surgical eye job! Immediately after I felt some mild soreness and my face was a little pink but looked great, maybe a little early tightening. I wasn’t expecting much since I know it takes at least 1 month for new collagen to form and as long as 3 or 4 months for true results. The morning after, I was one of the few who get some swelling. I noticed it (I am pretty self-critical) but unless you know me you wouldn’t think anything was amiss. After a couple of days a subtle yellowish bruise appeared on my jawline, easily covered with makeup. Now, 3 weeks later, my jawline and neck feel delightfully tighter and people are telling me I don’t look my age. I love that! But this is still very early. I will post some photos in a blog after a little more time passes.

I am so excited to see my results!

Happy New Year,

Susan Van Dyke, MD

A Year of Treatments with Susan Van Dyke, MD

This year I turn 60. There, I said it. Don’t ask me how it happened, because truth be told, the time has literally flown by. Sixty is the age your grandmother is. Well, I became a grandmother three months ago. Time is a funny thing; it gets away from you.

Being the “queen of cosmetic dermatology,” I preach prejuvenation; don’t wait until you need major work done, do subtle, moderate things along the way so that you look your best at any age. But, like the shoemaker’s child, I have gone without shoes for far too long…

Turning 60 has me motivated, and I’m going to do some catching up. I would like to journal with you as I embark on my own personal adventures in cosmetic dermatology because after all, I’m not just a doctor, I’m a patient too! Each month throughout 2014 I will have a procedure done and share with you my experience, my feelings and my results. In December 2013, I had both the Liposonix & Ultherapy procedures completed, so be on the lookout for my next blog where I will share my experience with you!

I invite you, take the journey with me! In the end we will both be a year older, hopefully wiser and more comfortable in our own skin.

Happy New Year!

Susan Van Dyke, MD

Wishing You A Happy Holiday
- Susan Van Dyke, MD

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, or are simply caught up in the excitement of the season, it seems fitting to pause and reflect on the year that is quickly coming to a close. I would like to take a minute to give thanks for all of the friends, new and old, who have walked through the doors of Van Dyke Laser & Skin throughout 2013. Some I have known for nearly 30 years, and many have just found us and we hope to know for the next 30!

Of course this practice would not be what it is without the providers and support staff here at Van Dyke Laser & Skin. I am grateful for Marie and Carrie, our awesome RN’s DeAnn and Grace, our amazing laser tech/aestheticians Ronalda (head MA) and Kelly (MA/laser tech), as well as Kay and Amanda at our front desk and Kara, our Practice Administrator. Without this truly gifted team of talented women we would not be able to live up to our mission of:

  • Van Dyke Laser & Skin is dedicated to delivering the absolute best in cosmetic dermatology procedures and products in a professional and elegant environment.
  • We assure superiority through the utilization of cutting edge technology in equipment, materials and products.
  • We assure a superb patient experience through a qualified, caring, compassionate and knowledgeable staff.

Happy Holidays to all and see you next year!!

November Notes

This past month was a whirlwind here at Van Dyke Laser & Skin, and there is no signs of stopping as we move into the prime months of the year! Thank you to everyone who came out to our annual Open House; it was one of the most energetic, engaging and informative events to date. October also marked a huge personal milestone for me…, which some of you may already know. I welcomed the next generation into my world: Penelope Price Hays, my very first grandchild. She was born October 3rd and weighed in at 8lbs, 15 ozs, 21.5 inches and we love her in every way! Happily I had returned from my lecture tour of Japan and Korea just in time to hold her.

Looking ahead, November is already packed full of fun and exciting events. We will be the first to introduce Juvederm Voluma (a huge advance in facial fillers), we will be making a big donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and I will be returning to Asia for a week to continue to teach physicians about current trends in Cosmetic Dermatology and Lasers. Phew! Last but not least, I’d like to wish you and your families a very happy Thanksgiving.

Susan Van Dyke, MD

Don’t put your neck on the line- Treatments that Rejuvenate it!

Have you noticed how the focus is shifting off of the face and on to the neck when it comes to rejuvenation? Actually this is not new. For decades, (yes, I have been around for that long) women and men have been coming to me and to plastic surgeons wanting to make their face more youthful; and we have been doing just that. But the most youthful face plopped onto a saggy, wrinkly spotty neck does not get the desired result. Now we have a disconnect; the face is 40, the neck is 50! How did this happen? Well, frankly, there was not a lot we could do for necks 10 years ago. Necks are delicate creatures, they need gentle nudging. Strong lasers are too much, surgery certainly can do the trick; but who wants their throat cut?

So we have established the problem. Now for the solution, or rather solutions! So much has evolved in even the last year for the “forgotten neck.” Such as Ulthera; which received the first, and only, FDA approval to LIFT the neck, in October of 2012. It is a non-invasive procedure (this means no downtime, no surgery) that utilizes high intensity focused ultrasound to generate heat very precisely into the underpinnings of the neck, face and brow triggering a nice tightening and lifting effect that will last. New collagen is produced and improvements continue for months. Because it is non-invasive you can repeat this procedure in 3 months for even more results or every year, or two, to maintain.

The new Thermage also has the neck in mind. Thermage technology (also non-invasive) has been around for a decade. The new part has to do with comfort and results. We have been using the new Total Tip for Thermage to target the deeper structures of the skin where the collagen lives. The result: beautiful overall firming and tightening including the neck. After 10 years of treating patients with the ever improving and upgraded technology of Thermage, I am impressed! You see results immediately that keep on improving over time.

Let’s not forget the spotty, dull and crepey neck skin that has previously been neglected, let’s talk resurfacing. In a nut shell, resurfacing promotes the emergence of new healthy, evenly pigmented skin after a treatment or series of treatments. We now have 3 options: mild for the 30 and 40 somethings, medium for 40 and 50 somethings and deep for all who have just seen too much sun. The lighter treatment, Clear & Brilliant, is accomplished in less than half an hour, with some pinkness that is gone in hours. The medium treatment, Fraxel Dual, gives more result in fewer treatments and will cause a few days of redness.

Most important is your skin care. Growth factors, antioxidants, retinoids and SPF (and, as needed special products for pigment or redness) are your key to improved skin beauty now and into the future. Investing in your skin includes taking care of it between treatments. Kind of like your teeth, we get them cleaned every 6 months at the dentist, but if you don’t brush and floss on a daily basis you will be sorry!

So, next time you feel like grabbing a turtleneck or wrapping a scarf around your neck to cover it up, remember there are many great options to rejuvenate the long neglected neck!

Slim Down and Tighten Up with the Dynamic Duo: Liposonix + Thermage

Summer is not over… in fact, being a lucky Arizonian means that summer is never over! It’s a great time to perfect that bikini body and I know how to achieve results. Yes, diet! Yes, exercise! Yes, even CoolSculpting… Freeze the fat, we’ve been doing it at Van Dyke Laser & Skin for years and it works. But there is more!

I want to share with you what is new and hot! I am talking about Liposonix + Thermage. A completely noninvasive (that means no down time) way to reduce unwanted bulges AND tighten the overlying saggy skin and cellulite in one session. Now that is worth looking into, wouldn’t you agree?

In fact, I’m so excited about this combination treatment of two amazing technologies that I’m having my legs done! I am fit, but the stubborn fat and cellulite on my thighs has got to go. Liposonix uses ultrasound energy to literally melt fat away in a procedure that takes about an hour. Special high intensity ultrasound is focused about one half inch beneath the skin, right where it does the most good, to sculpt unwanted bulges in the fat. I know this can actually be an uncomfortable experience for some, so we have developed a revolutionary change in the treatment protocols to give you the same excellent improvement in contour with much less discomfort. We are combining the NEW Liposonix with Thermage Body, utilizing its Comfort Pulse Technology (CPT) to tighten the overlying skin so that you can achieve the best possible body rejuvenation without surgery. CPT signifies the latest Thermage technology with the new Total Tip and hand piece vibration; both give better results with more comfort. Thermage uses radio frequency energy to create heat in the skin layer known as the dermis. Think of throwing a wool sweater into the dryer, it will shrink, right? That is because the fibers tighten up in response to the warming. Well skin has fibers called collagen that can also be tightened up with a little warming from Thermage Body.

This Liposonix + Thermage Body rejuvenation can be done on tummy, love handles, bra fat, trunk, thighs, buttocks and other areas. To find out if you are a candidate, come in for a complimentary evaluation. It gets better… we will reduce the cost of your Thermage Body treatment up to 50% when combined with Liposonix if scheduled in the month of August! Besides fat, what do you have to lose?

From Arizona to Brazil, a perfect body is a hot commodity

I just got back from a most grueling assignment, sent to South America to help people perfect the Brazilian body. It’s a tough job, I know! Standing on the beach at Copacabana, one might think that Brazil possesses nothing but perfection, but even fabulous Brazilians need a little help to look their absolute best. Help came to the capital city of Sao Paulo in the form of Liposonix, a non-invasive fat reduction treatment from California-based Solta. This groundbreaking fat reduction technology has been available at Van Dyke Laser & Skin for over a year and a half. However, the first Liposonix machines were delivered to Brazilian Dermatologists and Plastic Surgeons just last month… and I was the first to introduce and demonstrate the treatment to the country! What a privilege it was to perform live demonstrations for elite doctors that make the world’s most beautiful bodies even more beautiful.


Liposonix utilizes ultrasound to target fat just under the surface layer of the skin. We call this “high intensity focused ultrasound”; it harnesses the intense energy of ultrasound to generate pinpoint areas of heat, which literally melts the fat. The beauty of Liposonix is that we can precisely target the fat, treat the area and destroy the fat permanently. As for the results, Liposonix improves contours and spot fat reduction. With Liposonix, circumferential reduction is achieved without weight loss, exercise or diet. Of course, if you want to improve diet and exercise as well, you should! It’s great for your health and will only augment the results.

It takes about an hour to treat an abdomen using Lipsonix, another 30 minutes to treat a muffin top. During the treatment patients can expect a sensation of tingling and heat. After Liposonix has done its work, patients often feel sore for a few days and may have some bruising. That being said, patients never have to miss a day of work or play. After a few weeks, the reward of the treatment is clear and a slimmer body emerges. We find that improvement continues for two, three, even four months after treatment.

Liposonix wasn’t the only subject discussed and demonstrated in South America. The combination of Liposonix for fat reduction and Thermage Body for skin tightening (think the ultimate mommy make-over) was a very popular topic. I hosted a live question and answer session with physicians in Rio Preto, a city near Sao Paulo. The language presented no barrier. Every doctor has the same goal in mind; creating the best outcome for our patients. It seems that we all want a perfect, slim, tight body. Thanks to the modern advancements of technology, we can rely on Liposonix, Thermage and other technologies to fulfill our beauty goals and achieve the body of our dreams.

Starting now through the end of August, we have a special offer at the practice. Anyone that purchases Liposonix and Thermage together will receive a complimentary consultation and 50% off the Thermage treatment. Skinny is just an appointment away, call 480.948.5045 to schedule a consultation.

Melanoma Monday is May 6th: Wear Orange and get the word out!

It is that time of year again. Spring is in full bloom and Melanoma Monday is around the corner. Here in Arizona we live in perpetual spring, interrupted by blazingly hot summers. Thankfully, many that live here don’t wait until spring to think about skin protection and skin cancer.

Personally, I think about it all of the time. My Aunt Delores was not yet 50 when she developed a “weird spot” on her skin. Like many people 30 years ago, she had little to no information about skin cancer. She had no education about sunscreen and sun protection. I have a sadly prophetic picture of my Mom sitting with a reflector under the sun, her face bright red with sunburn, as she tried to attain the much sought after “healthy golden glow” (she later developed over a dozen skin cancers on her face). Her sister, my Aunt Delores, may never have been diagnosed if it were not for Mom, the RN. On one occasion, Mom noticed the black mark on her sister’s leg and sent her off to the dermatologist. Malignant melanoma was the verdict. It was so far advanced, there was little hope. Aunt Delores died within 6 months.

This scenario does not have to play out today. We know that “funny moles” and “weird spots” need to be checked by a board certified dermatologist, the people who are most accurate with early diagnosis. Although early diagnosis does help in a cure, the prognosis is still bleak.

Prevention is the way to stop people from dying needlessly.

Teen melanomas, though still rare, are increasing at an alarming rate. As a matter of fact, they have increased by 800% in young women since 1970! Tanning beds have added a new risk factor that was never experienced before, especially for young women. In recent years, I have not seen a melanoma or other skin cancer in a woman, in her twenties, who did not admit to tanning bed use in her teens. A study done 10 years ago warned that the average tanning bed emitted four times the UVA radiation and two times the UVB radiation of the midday summer sun in Washington DC.

Numbers don’t lie:

  • 85%Of melanomas that do not run in families contain a specific gene mutation caused by UV radiation from sun or tanning beds

  • 76% Of melanomas in 18-29 year olds who had tanned indoors, were due to tanning bed exposure

  • 75% increased risk of getting a melanoma if you use a tanning bed before the age of 35

So let’s get the word out

Tell us about yourself:

How did you hear about us?

Online Search
Magazine Ad
A Friend

Feel free to call us with any questions (480)948-5045