Cosmetic surgery is the branch of plastic surgery that deals with appearance. Cosmetic surgery has become commonplace as more and more procedures are continually developed and refined to help keep patients looking their best through the most effective, noninvasive, and innovative procedures possible.
But some patients can’t undergo surgery for medical and other reasons. Cosmetic surgical procedures require some kind of IV sedation and/or general or local anesthetic to limit pain, and most procedures come with some period of downtime that may be accompanied by pain or discomfort and reduced activity level. Blood loss can also be an issue for certain patients and/or procedures.
Many plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgery centers offer a growing number of minimally invasive and non-surgical cosmetic treatments that may be considered alternatives to cosmetic surgery. Some patients are able to avoid or delay more invasive surgical procedures by receiving an appearance enhancing treatment instead.
If you’re considering any of these common cosmetic surgeries, you may be able to find the results you’re looking for through a minimally invasive alternative, and you may be able to receive the treatment from your planned plastic surgeon or surgery center. When in doubt, discuss your thoughts with your surgeon, who will recommend the safest and most effective course of treatment for you and your desired outcome.
Breast augmentation. Breast augmentation is a procedure to enlarge the breasts and correct shape and symmetry issues. Traditionally, breast augmentation is an invasive procedure that requires incisions, artificial implants, and downtime. This is still a perfectly fine choice, but recently, laser breast augmentation has been gaining momentum. This non-invasive procedure uses a laser to stimulate the nerves and tissues in the breast to tighten, firm, and lift the breasts, while nudging the same growth hormone that is secreted during puberty. Patients have reported positive results, with minimizing stretch marks as an added benefit.
Face lift versus Botox/injectables. A face lift stretches sagging facial skin over the face and trims the excess from the perimeter, removing fine lines, wrinkles, and facial furrows from the skin’s surface. The procedure may be combined with a brow lift to achieve complete results over the entire facial area. Botox and injectable fillers that restore elastin and collagen to the skin can be a short term, non-surgical solution to a surgical face lift. Botox relaxes facial muscles, reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Injectables restore lost volume to the skin by adding elastin, collagen, minerals, and moisture. Botox and injectables are temporary treatments that last 3 to 6 months and require subsequent treatments for upkeep. One or both may be recommended for a trial period before moving forward with a permanent face lift.
Liposuction versus Velashape. Liposuction is a type of surgical body contouring that removes fatty tissue from problem areas around the body, most often the abdomen, thighs, waist, buttocks, and thighs. Velashape is a non-surgical body reshaping treatment that combines bi-polar radiofrequency, infrared light energy, vacuum, and mechanical massage. The minimally invasive and virtually pain-free procedure smoothes the skin’s surface, reduces the appearance of cellulite, and helps tone and contour the body.