Only 10 years ago, much of cosmetic surgery seemed to be about aspiring to look like a supermodel on a magazine cover (their most famous features, at least) or turning back the hands of time in equally dramatic fashion.
The prevailing interest today is in much subtler results. People tend to want to look more like their own filtered photos, and it’s changing plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures in a number of meaningful ways.
For one, subtlety is ruling the day. The goal of most procedures now is that the results not be obvious. Increasingly, patients generally want to leave their inherent face structure intact, complete with their unique family traits, and look, well, more like themselves, but maybe with a few strategic tweaks.
They could take the form of fat-grafting for contouring and fine-tuning, rather than just plumping, or even breast augmentation, but with smaller, more naturally shaped or positioned implants.
They could also include the unorthodox use of filler to resolve slight but irritating facial and body quirks, like to tighten a stretched piercing in an earlobe or on the bridge of the nose during a noninvasive rhinoplasty (also known as a “liquid rhinoplasty”).
Noninvasive fat-reduction procedures, like CoolSculpting, are very much a part of this movement, too. What’s so subtle about shedding fat? These procedures are not intended (nor are they approved to be) weight-loss treatments. But they’ve proven to be very effective for people who are within 10 pounds of their goal weight.
And in the case of CoolSculpting, all it entails is sitting comfortably in a plastic surgeon’s office for a couple of sessions that typically take less than an hour each. Then it takes about three months for the frozen cells to die and be eliminated naturally by the body. And once those cells are gone, new cells aren’t able to take their place, which makes CoolSculpting a fairly permanent solution.
Preventative cosmetic treatments
Larger numbers of patients are also undergoing cosmetic treatments at a younger age as a preventative measure. In a recent survey by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 72% of its members reported an increase in cosmetic surgery or injectables in patients under 30.
While starting at such a young age may seem a little extreme, it is a sensible way to prevent invasive procedures in the long run. Keep in mind, too, that, yes, much of the interest described here is patient-driven. The stigma’s fallen away from plastic surgery, and it’s helped make a lot more people comfortable with the idea of seeking out a minimally-invasive procedure or two.
But the other part of that is that the science has advanced by leaps and bounds over recent years, making such tweaks possible. Little to no downtime, once the exception, is increasingly becoming the standard.