If you keep up with medical aesthetics news — or even if you don't — you've probably heard of Fraxel®. After all, the skin-resurfacing laser has become a staple of many licensed providers to treat hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and acne scars. What you probably don’t know, however, is that Cameron Rokhsar, MD, board-certified dermatologist in NYC, had a major role in the creation of it.
“I was involved in the research and development of the Fraxel laser in 2003 while I was a laser surgery fellow in California,” Dr. Rokhsar tells SpotlyteTM. He worked on the prototype laser for about one year, and was a researcher in the major pivotal trials for treatment of wrinkles, acne and surgical scars, and melasma. “Fraxel, at the time — and still is — considered [by many to be] the gold standard for laser resurfacing,” he adds. “It's changed the face of laser resurfacing around the globe, and it's probably the number-one cosmetic laser resurfacing procedure.”
From 2004 to 2005, Dr. Rokhsar flew to various parts of the world to teach physicians about the applications of the Fraxel laser in various countries within Asia, Europe, and South America, as well as in Australia. He’s also worked as a trainer of other technologies, including the Vbeam® laser, Thermitight®, CoolSculpting®, and miraDry® over the years.
[Editor’s note: The CoolSculpting treatment is a non-invasive fat-freezing treatment that effectively reduces fat in certain self-proclaimed “problem spots” in the submental and submandibular areas, thigh, abdomen, flank, and upper arm, along with bra fat, back fat, and underneath the buttocks (you know, those bulges that just won’t go away, regardless of how much you sweat it out on the treadmill). While it isn’t a weight loss solution, fat-freezing can reduce pouches of fat. As with any procedure, there are risks and side effects, so talk to a licensed provider to see if it’s right for you.]
Dr. Rokhsar’s coaching of medical professionals doesn’t end there: He’s currently an Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai® Hospital, teaching the next generation of doctors everything he’s learned over the years. Between teaching and running his own practice — called New York Cosmetic, Skin, & Laser Surgery Center℠ — Dr. Rokhsar has a remarkably packed schedule. But the Harvard University® and NYU School of Medicinesm graduate still makes time for his family (he’s a father of two — a son and a daughter!), whom he says are his greatest priority.
His dedication to family doesn’t simply stick to the confines of his household, it extends into his practice, too. Dr. Rokhsar lives by a simple philosophy: Treat every patient like a family member. Here, we spoke with the doctor on the procedure he calls the “gold standard,” his most-performed treatment, and why teaching is so important to him.
Spotlyte: How did you end up in dermatology?
Dr. Cameron Rokhsar: I started medical school not really knowing what I wanted to do. Originally, I wanted to be an organ transplant surgeon. The truth is, I found those surgeries to be grueling. I have the utmost respect for those surgeons.
I rotated between different fields, and ended up loving dermatology because I found that it was a mix of medical, [aesthetic], and surgical [treatments]. The diseases were [largely] curable and controllable, and patients were happy at the end [of treatment].
I eventually became fascinated with lasers and [aesthetics], especially after I did a fellowship in laser, [aesthetic], and skin cancer surgeries. I did a lot of research during my fellowship with lasers and various [aesthetic] procedures, and that's how my [aesthetic] career got started after my dermatology residency.
Spotlyte: Is there one treatment you tend to do most often?
CR: I do a lot of filler. I have people all around the country, all around the world come to me for that procedure.
[Editor’s note: Injectable filler is a temporary treatment that adds volume to areas of the face such as the lips, cheeks, and laugh lines. Like any medical treatment, it has potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a licensed provider to see if it’s right for you. Have more questions? Chat with our team of trained aesthetic specialists now.]
Spotlyte: What's a typical day in the office for you?
CR: It’s a mix of consultations for [aesthetics], surgery, [performing] various laser procedures for wrinkles, scars, birthmarks, and redness. I also do consultations on how I can [treat] someone's face non-surgically, whether it's through injectable wrinkle reducer or fillers. I've gotten pretty good at being able to [improve volume in] someone's face with filler.
[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers are used to temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face such as the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet. They should not be used more frequently than every three months. Like any medical treatment, they have potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you. Have more questions? Chat with our team of trained aesthetic specialists now.]
Spotlyte: Do you get any injectables yourself?
CR: I do [injectable wrinkle reducer] in my forehead, my glabella, and my crow's feet every three months. I don't do any fillers.
Spotlyte: Do you get any other in-office treatments?
CR: The only other thing I do is the HydraFacial®. I do it monthly. The machine suctions blackheads, whiteheads, and dead skin. It's a really nice way to clean my face and give it a nice glow. It's also only a 30-minute procedure.
Spotlyte: As a dermatologist, do you have an extensive skincare routine?
CR: No, I actually don't do much. I'm lucky I put moisturizer on!
Spotlyte: As a professor at Mount Sinai, what’s one thing you always stress to the up-and-coming doctors you’re teaching?
CR: The most important thing is to have integrity. You must treat patients honestly, fairly, and you must not lose your ethics. An honest approach is what creates a great and ethical doctor. Never push a procedure on a patient. We are here to educate patients and explain all options to them, not to sell procedures. We are held to a much higher standard than that. That's why we are doctors!
Spotlyte: Why is teaching so important to you?
CR: It is of utmost importance to properly educate the next generation of dermatologists to be leaders in the field of aesthetics. The field of aesthetics was born out of dermatology. A majority of the protocols on fillers and injectable wrinkle reducer were researched, developed, and fine-tuned by dermatologists.
Spotlyte: Other than teaching, what are your passions outside of work?
CR: My passion, first and foremost, is my kids. I have a son and daughter, and I take the position of a father seriously. Nurturing young kids in a complex society is my most important passion! Other than that, I enjoy outdoor activities, including fishing, swimming, weight-lifting, and running.
CoolSculpting® is an Allergan®-owned non-invasive fat reduction treatment.
CoolSculpting® Treatment Important Information
The CoolSculpting® procedure is FDA-cleared for the treatment of visible fat bulges in the submental (under the chin) and submandibular (under the jawline) areas, thigh, abdomen and flank (love handles), along with bra fat, back fat, underneath the buttocks (also known as banana roll), and upper arm. It is also FDA-cleared to affect the appearance of lax tissue with submental area treatments. The CoolSculpting procedure is not a treatment for weight loss.
Important Safety Information
The CoolSculpting procedure is not for everyone. You should not have the CoolSculpting procedure if you suffer from cryoglobulinemia, cold agglutinin disease, or paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria.
Tell your doctor if you have any medical conditions including recent surgery, pre-existing hernia, and any known sensitivities or allergies.
During the procedure you may experience sensations of pulling, tugging, mild pinching, intense cold, tingling, stinging, aching, and cramping at the treatment site. These sensations subside as the area becomes numb. Following the procedure, typical side effects include temporary redness, swelling, blanching, bruising, firmness, tingling, stinging, tenderness, cramping, aching, itching, or skin sensitivity, and sensation of fullness in the back of the throat after submental or submandibular area treatment.
Rare side effects may also occur. CoolSculpting may cause a visible enlargement in the treated area which may develop two to five months after treatment and requires surgical intervention for correction.