Technology and medical advances have driven cosmetic surgery (and nonsurgical cosmetic treatments) in countless, uncharted directions. The menu of procedures, as a result, looks very different today from what it did only several years ago.
But science alone isn’t responsible for that evolution. Patients have played a vital role, too. As plastic surgeons became better positioned to be more responsive to their particular needs, patients became more interested in tweaks than exaggerated cosmetic procedures. The standard today is subtle enhancements to one’s inherent appearance, not dramatic transformations.
With the changing face of cosmetic surgery, procedures have become more refined. The facelift is a prime example.
Rather than a single, relatively one-size-fits-all surgery, there’s now a full spectrum of procedures, including injectables, that fall under the facelift umbrella.
Injectables, in fact, appear to be spurring this era of minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures. (Minimally-invasive procedures have grown by 228% since 2000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Their cost is less than surgery, their effects are immediately visible, and the recovery time is minimal, all of which has contributed to their accessibility and inclusivity.
The ability to squeeze in a treatment over lunchtime and slip right back into their routine afterward without breaking stride has snared the attention of those who are reluctant to admit they had a procedure or don’t want to deal with the downtime.
Breast augmentation will continue to be popular—it was the top cosmetic surgical procedure performed in 2018 by a wide margin, according to the ASPS. But small, hyper-specific procedures, like “liquid rhinoplasty,” that help patients feel a little more confident but aren’t completely obvious are quickly gaining in popularity.
Body contouring treatments can be counted among that category as well. CoolSculpting can treat just about any unwanted bulge, but it’s FDA-approved for the abdomen, love handles, thighs, upper arms, “bra fat,” back fat, “banana roll” underneath your butt, and double chin. Those who undergo it can expect up to a 25% reduction of fat in the treated area. Just as impressively, though, they can walk out of a treatment and step right back into their normal lives.
While a segment of cosmetic surgery has always been dedicated to prevention, it’s never been as prominent as it is today. Much of that, again, can be attributed to the new mainstream acceptance of cosmetic surgery. For much of my career, cosmetic surgery was mostly associated with women of a certain age. But a growing number of my patients—men and women—are undergoing treatments in their twenties and thirties as a means to try to prevent more invasive procedures later in their lives. It’s a trend that seems to be unfolding nationwide, according to any number of surveys.
The changing face of cosmetic surgery has arrived. And all these advances are bringing us closer to who we are.