There’s been a lot of talk lately about the popularity of non-surgical cosmetic procedures and how more and more people are opting for them as they are often more affordable and have quicker recovery times than surgical procedures. But that doesn’t mean that cosmetic surgery, which has more permanence than a non-surgical cosmetic procedure, is a thing of the past. The important thing to remember is which procedure is best for what you want to do.

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) released data recently that shows many cosmetic surgery procedures have increased in popularity.

“Contrary to popular belief and what is depicted by some in mainstream media, the facelift is by no means dead,” W. Grant Stevens, MD, president-elect of ASAPS said. “In fact, the new data indicates that the number of facelifts performed in the United States increased by 22 percent in the past year alone and by 22 percent over the past five years. With advances including less-invasive techniques resulting in less post-operative downtime, an increasing number of patients are warming up to the idea of going under the knife as surgery still promises the longest term results.”

Popular cosmetic surgeries

Cosmetic surgeries that have risen in demand include blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery – upper and lower), upper arm lifts and liposuction, all of which have seen double-digit increases from 2016 and all of which have seen double-digit increases over the past five years as well. Blepharoplasty increased more than 26 percent from 2016 and 57 percent over the past five years. Upper arm lifts were performed 20 percent more from 2016 and 59 percent over the past five years. Liposuction rose 16 percent from 2016 and 58 percent over the past five years.

For women, the top five surgical procedures were breast augmentation, liposuction, breast lift, tummy tuck and blepharoplasty. The top five non-surgical procedures were botulinum toxin (Botox), hyaluronic acid, hair removal, fat reduction and chemical peels.

For men, the top five surgical procedures were liposuction, blepharoplasty, breast reduction (treatment of gynecomastia), tummy tuck and facelift. The top five non-surgical procedures were botulinum toxin (Botox), hyaluronic acid, fat reduction, hair removal and photorejuvenation.

What are non-surgical treatments?

When talking about cosmetic surgery, most people know what’s involved: Facelifts, tummy tucks, etc. But what are non-surgical or minimally invasive treatments? We’re talking about facial injectables and laser resurfacing treatments, procedures such as these that are usually done on an outpatient basis without large incisions. They also tend to be procedures that require little downtime.

The most common procedure are fillers injected into the face to replace the loss of volume in cheeks, temples, lips and the areas around the mouth and eyes, which comes with age. Non-surgical procedures on the face also may involve Botox, most commonly used to erase wrinkles in the forehead.

But skin tightening doesn’t have to involve needles. Laser surfacing treatments can improve skin quality as well as chemical peels, which can help to reduce fine lines, wrinkles and big pores.

Minimally invasive cosmetic procedures have risen by nearly 200 percent since 2000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. There were 17 million surgical and minimally invasive procedures performed in 2017, with breast augmentation, liposuction and nose reshaping amounting for 1.8 million procedures and topping the list, followed by blepharoplasty and tummy tuck. The top five cosmetic minimally invasive procedures were botulinum toxin type A, soft-tissue fillers, chemical peels, laser hair removal and microdermabrasion.

Data from ASAPS reflects almost the same results. The surgical procedures with the most significant increases in 2017 included: blepharoplasty (up 26 percent); buttock augmentation, implants and fat transfer (up 25 percent); fat transfer to the face (up 22 percent); facelifts (up 22 percent); necklifts and upper arm lifts (both up 20 percent).

Renuvion® is the new FDA-cleared procedure to dramatically tighten and smooth your skin. It provides dramatic results with minimal recovery time. This ground-breaking technique can reduce wrinkles and is especially popular among those who have had a facelift and would like an occasional touch-up. About Faces Cosmetic Surgery is the only place in Tucson offering this technology with the procedure being performed by Dr. Mikel Lo, one of Tucson’s leading cosmetic plastic surgeons.

Top non-surgical procedures

The non-surgical procedures that saw the biggest increases in 2017 included: micro-ablative skin resurfacing (up 99 percent), full field ablative skin resurfacing (up 29 percent), fat reduction (up 25 percent), chemical peel (up 16 percent) and skin tightening (up 15 percent)

Injectables overall (including Belotero (filler), botulinum toxin (Botox), Juvederm Ultra/Ultra Plus, Perlane, Poly-L-Lactic Acid, Radiesse, Restylane, Voluma, etc.) saw a 5 percent increase in 2017 and an impressive 41 percent increase over the past five years.

The most common surgical procedures per age group in 2017 were ear surgery (18 and under), breast augmentation (19-34), liposuction (35-50 and 51-64) and blepharoplasty (65 and older).

Examples of how advancements in non-surgical cosmetic procedures have affected the market include the popularity of non-surgical rhinoplasty (fillers that change the shape of the nose without surgery); skin tightening with products such as Kybella and laser treatments; and a procedure that is often called “The Kylie Jenner,” getting a perfect pout, just like the famous model, using fillers.

New products spur increase

New products are spurring an increase across the globe, according to a report released by ResearchAndMarkets.com. Another factor driving this trend is the increasing awareness of medical aesthetics by people wanting non-invasive cosmetic treatments for a natural and healthy appearance.

Globally, the market for cosmetic procedures is driven by social and cultural factors including media, the fashion and film industries, peer pressure and the changing dimensions of beauty, according to a new study from Market Research Future. Other health factors such as the rise in obesity, accidents, growing safety margin of cosmetic surgery and an increase in cosmetic surgery hospitals also has played a part. Technological factors including development of advanced materials such as silicone implants as well as economic factors that result in growing per capital income and the lowered cost of cosmetic surgeries also have contributed to the rise in plastic surgeries around the world, according to the study.

Don’t underestimate the power of social media to drive trends in cosmetic surgery. An article in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery discusses how Snapchat editing has caused many people to seek cosmetic surgery to give them a youthful appearance. It’s even got a name: Snapchat dysmorphia. Cosmetic surgeons reported in a 2017 Annual American Academy of Facial Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery survey that 55 percent of them see patients who request surgery to improve their selfies.

Americans seek cosmetic surgery

The market for global cosmetic surgery is estimated to reach $22 billion by the end of 2023, the study reports. Americans are expected to continue to seek cosmetic surgery more than other nationalities, too. That’s because cosmetic surgery is becoming more acceptable as its awareness increases. The fact that more men are seeking cosmetic surgery also has led to its surge of popularity, according to the ASAPS.

Worldwide, facial injectables such as botulinum toxic and dermal filler implants are the most common non-surgical treatments performed, according to a report from Axiom Market Research & Consulting. Of the more than 150 injectable fillers on the global market, though, only a few have FDA approval. Americans spent more than $10 billion on cosmetic procedures in 2017, with men accounting for nearly 10 percent of the estimated 10 million procedures.

Hyaluronic acid treatments were the most-popular non-surgical choice in 2017 and are expected to continue to be highly sought, especially in combination with botulinum toxin. Because of the growing aging population and increasing influence from social media to look younger, wrinkle treatments also are expected to be popular.

Younger crowd seeks treatment

Botox is the most popular non-surgical cosmetic procedure on the market, according to the ASAPS. While older women used to be the biggest demographic asking for Botox, cosmetic surgeons are seeing younger people coming in for treatment. Surgeons say clients in their 20s want to prevent wrinkles from forming in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

Likewise, those who maintain non-surgical procedures are likely to experience progressive diminishment in subsequent procedures. For instance, a filler treatment that required three syringes likely would decrease to two because the muscles affected reduce the wrinkles, so smaller injections are needed. With regular touchups, patients who begin a cosmetic regimen in their 30s may look the same in their 50s.

Significantly, whether you choose surgical or non-surgical treatment, you should consider the credentials of the physician. While celebrities are often a factor in cosmetic procedure trends, even they can go overboard or to someone who gives them a puffy, unnatural and older look than what they were striving for. Not only is Dr. Mikel Lo at About Faces Cosmetic Surgery one of the most skilled cosmetic surgeons in Tucson, he’s also highly experienced with injectables. Dr. Lo is an expert in ophthalmic plastic and facial plastic surgery and one of the few cosmetic surgeons who is a member of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Ophthalmology. Make an appointment today to consult with Dr. Lo about the procedure that will help you feel better about your appearance.

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