Plastic surgery has slowly emerged to be a mainstream branch of medicine. Long gone are the days when procedures used to be complicated and often had less than ideal chances of success. Treatments such as breast augmentation now boast satisfaction rates of up to 98%. Techniques have dramatically improved as technology has grown and plastic surgeons have perfected their craft. Still, if you are considering having cosmetic surgery to address one issue or the other, it is important to think about what non-surgical alternatives may be available.
1. Fat Grafting
Fat grafting is one of the best alternatives to conventional plastic surgery for patients who are looking to attain natural results. This technique entails using fat from the patient’s own body to complete the augmentation procedure. A good example of fat grafting is natural breast augmentation. During this treatment, plastic surgeons remove excess fat from other areas of the body such as the abdomen, thighs, or buttocks, and use it to achieve the desired breast size. This way, the surgeon is able to achieve natural and long-lasting breast enlargement without the need for artificial implants. In addition to the breasts, facial grafting may also be used to fill or augment other parts of the body such as the face.
BOTOX is the #1 non-invasive cosmetic procedure in the United States. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), there were more than 4.4 million BOTOX procedures in 2020 alone. This treatment entails using a neuro-modulator to relax muscles in the target treatment areas (usually the face). When these muscles don’t contract, they don’t form fold lines that result in wrinkles, crow’s feet, furrow lines, and other aesthetic imperfections. BOTOX injections may be administered by a plastic surgeon or an injection specialist. A single treatment session lasts less than an hour and results are noticeable within days. It is important to note that BOTOX is – however – not a permanent treatment and touchup sessions are required every 6 months or so.
3. Dermal Fillers
Also referred to as soft tissue fillers, these are injectable compounds that are injected under the skin to fill out sunken or hollow areas. Dermal fillers can help alleviate facial aesthetic concerns such as deep creases and depressions. Many dermal fillers available in the market today use hyaluronic acid, a natural compound that is found in the body and that lubricates joints. During the treatment, a plastic surgeon will apply a numbing cream to the target area and then inject the filler according to the desired treatment plan. A single injection session lasts less than an hour and results are evident soon after. Just like BOTOX, dermal fillers are temporary treatments that need to be retouched every 12 – 18 months in order to maintain the outcome of the treatment. In 2020, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reports that there were more than 3.4 million dermal filler treatments.
Cellulite and stubborn weight are common aesthetic issues reported by individuals in the US. In some cases, lifestyle adjustments such as exercise and diet may help alleviate these issues. Often though, cosmetic surgery is needed as an intervention to achieve the smooth and lean appearance you desire. CoolSculpting is a non-invasive treatment that is often applied as an alternative to liposuction. Plastic surgeons use a specialized machine to freeze and crystallize fat cells in the targeted treatment area. These fat cells are then gradually removed by the body to achieve the desired contouring outcome. CoolSculpting can help get rid of up to 25% of fat within a specific treatment area without the cost and downtime associated with surgery.
5. Laser Resurfacing
Laser cosmetic treatments are increasingly popular in the plastic surgery space. Advances in technology have enabled the production of high-tech devices that emit laser energy to the targeted treatment area to get rid of unwanted hair, wrinkles, fine lines, and even skin pigmentation. Laser resurfacing treatments are completed on an outpatient basis at a plastic surgeon’s in-office operating room. Once the treatment has been administered, patients are asked to stay out of the sun until after they are fully recovered. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), there were more than 997,000 of these treatments performed in 2020 alone.
While non-invasive cosmetic treatments have many advantages, it is important to note that they usually only help address mild aesthetic issues. For this reason, they are not recommended for every patient. Scheduling a consultation visit with Dr. Wu at Revel You Plastic Surgery in The Woodlands Tx is the first step to figuring out whether you may be an ideal candidate for a non-surgical option.