In the past, the reduction or elimination of wrinkles and fine lines on the face was achieved by surgical methods. This is no longer the case as patients are now able to enjoy a rejuvenated appearance that includes increased volume, the reduction of fat and a more youthful look though non-invasive cosmetic surgery techniques.
While the number of non-invasive procedures performed each year has grown, the interest in these types of treatments has always been present. Many people have waited until advancements in technology made the procedures, more effective and (for the most part) free from pain.
According to Alexander Rivkin, M.D., a Los Angeles cosmetic surgeon, one of the main reasons non-invasive cosmetic procedures is so popular is the fact that “the recovery period from them is non-existent. We have improved the techniques used over the last 15 years so that swelling, bruising and redness are minimized. Occasionally, people get a small bruise but it can be covered. Most people can go directly back to work after a non-surgical procedure.”
As recently as 2017, there were about 7.2-million Botox procedures performed in the United States. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), this number is an increase of 2\\% from the previous year. In general, Botox is a treatment that blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles. As a person furrows their brow or contract certain muscles on the face, there are lines in the skin that form over time. Botox works to relax the muscle under the skin and soften any overlying lines. It takes about 10 days to see the final results.
Another popular treatment is soft tissue fillers. The ASPS reported the number of dermal filler treatments increased by 3\\% in 2017 for a total that is close to 2.7-million procedures. Soft tissue fillers are often used on the cheeks and lips. They help to create a smooth appearance with greater volume following the injection of temporary dermal filler. The results are instant and last anywhere from 6-12 months to two years depending on the type of filler used. Facial fillers can be used to lessen wrinkles, fine lines and acne scars while adding volume lost due to the aging process.
Laser resurfacing can be used to reduce or eliminate wrinkles as well as remove blotches on the skin and small vascular lesions. The laser penetrates the skin to promote collagen production and refresh and rejuvenate the skin.
One of the main reasons patients enjoy cosmetic surgery is the fact that there is little to no recovery time required after a treatment. There might be some swelling and bruising at the treatment site, as well as some temporary redness, but these conditions will typically resolve within a week. In addition, people that undergo cosmetic treatments appreciate the fact that they have a younger and more refreshed look after the procedure. Many patients often hear that their appearance makes them look tired or angry when that is not the case.
Dr. Rivkin noted that some non-invasive treatments can actually provide permanent results. “Bellafill is permanent filler that is safe and works remarkably well in select areas of the face like the nose, the chin and facial folds. Of course, nothing we do can stop time so, when I say permanent, it means the filler stays in the body. As time goes on, patients often need more filler or need an adjustment. The same situation can happen with skin tightening procedures like Profound. They roll back the clock but the clock keeps ticking. Within a few years, they need another procedure to address the new increase in laxity.”
When asked when non-invasive cosmetic surgery is a better choice than invasive cosmetic surgery, Alex Eshaghian, MD, PhD, said “The cons to invasive surgery are the prolonged recovery time, risks associated with anesthesia and higher up-front investments. For these reasons, non-surgical options have become more popular. Additionally, many celebrities who have had cosmetic surgery look overdone which makes people turn away from surgical options. Instead, the vast majority of people interested in cosmetic surgery desire more natural results to look rested and refreshed. Other advantages of non-surgical, minimally invasive cosmetic treatments are minimal recovery time, no general anesthesia and they are easier to fit in a tight budget. This allows many people who are unable to invest in a surgical procedure to receive cosmetic treatments to make themselves look and feel better.”
Dr. Eshaghian added “the results of many procedures, such as hyaluronic acid dermal fillers, can be reversed if the results are not what you desired. For these reasons, many people start with non-surgical options to see if they like the results and, if so, pursue a surgical option at a later time.”
While non-invasive procedures are safe medical options, patients should conduct proper research before undergoing a treatment. They should research the credentials of the doctor and make sure the physician is board-certified to perform the procedure of choice. Patients should seek out doctors that are board-certified by the American Boards of Plastic Surgery, Dermatology or Facial Plastic Surgery. Doctors that are certified by these boards are trained in the proper corrections and aesthetic needs of patients.
It should be a cause for concern if a doctor is not certified by any of these boards. In order to determine the board-certification of a doctor, patients should visit the websites of these boards to research their credentials or ask the doctor directly.
Doctors that are board-certified are trained to safely perform these types of procedures and provide results that are long-lasting and natural in appearance. Other practitioners, and this includes nurses, might not have the proper formal training to safely perform non-invasive cosmetic surgery.
Patients should ask to see “before and after” photos of actual patients treated by their doctor of choice. Viewing the actual results on previous patients gives a person a better idea of the results they can expect from the doctor.
Patients need to do their homework and find a doctor that has proper training and experience in providing results desired by patients. Doctors should be willing to answer any and all questions posed by patients as well as make them comfortable by addressing any concerns they have before undergoing a cosmetic surgery procedure.