Although cosmetic surgery has been around for many decades, it has not always received the greatest reputation. Unfortunately, many of the cosmetic procedures available to the public still have botched outcomes. This is usually due to untrained professionals or outdated surgical techniques that have since been replaced by more advanced technology.
Although many cosmetic procedures still require surgery, medical advances have made it possible to use a safer and more effective approach for many of these cosmetic procedures. These non-invasive and minimally invasive options offer physicians and patients safe alternatives to surgery that achieve the same results without the need for surgery.
Here is a list with the top ten most minimally invasive cosmetic options to achieve results once only possible by surgical intervention.
The origins of lip enhancements go back to the early 1900s. They started with fat grafting. Fat Grafting involves the removal of fat from one area of the body, purification, and injection into another. Fat transfers can pose a risky procedure that can lead to fat embolism. This is where fat enters the bloodstream, blocks blood vessels and causes death. Fat grafting can also lead to unintended lumpy results, which are irreversible unless they are removed surgically.
Lip fillers today are safer because the primary filler used to inject the lip is a hyaluronic-based filler. The body naturally produces hyaluronic acid, which makes it less likely that the implant will be rejected. You can also find it in many forms. Each one is designed to deliver different results and treat different areas. Hyaluronic acid fillers can be dissolved by using hyaluronidase. This reverses the effects.
Hyaluronic acid lip injections should only be done by skilled professionals. You can make your own lip filler using a pressurized, needle-free device that presses the filler into your skin. This may sound like a good idea, but it can be dangerous according to many medical professionals.
Rhinoplasty is still a common procedure, particularly to correct deviations in septums and unwanted asymmetry.
A surgeon makes incisions inside the nostrils, sometimes at the base of the nose. The patient can choose to have the cartilage and inner bone reshaped with a scalpel or an osteotome, depending on their desired outcome.
Although surgical rhinoplasties can be safe and effective, some people are uncomfortable with having to undergo surgery, especially when there is the possibility of permanent side effects.
An injectable liquid rhinoplasty is an option for those who don’t require surgery. Injectable rhinoplasties are typically used to contour the nose and smoothen a bumpy bridge by injecting hyaluronic-based dermal fillers. There are many dermal fillers, but hyaluronic-based fillers are preferred if someone wishes to reverse treatment with hyaluronidase.
This procedure is a minimally invasive alternative for a surgical rhinoplasty.
PDO Face Lift
While traditional face lifts are still used on patients with heavy sagging due to aging or weight loss, many people are opting for non surgical methods.
The surgical face lift involves incisions along the hairline with a scalpel and then the repositioning underlying tissue. After the skin and deeper layers of facial tissues (including muscles) have been lifted, the excess skin is removed. Side effects and risks include bleeding, swelling, infection, nerve damage, and possible bruising.
A PDO thread lift is an alternative to surgery for those who are looking for a less invasive option. The PDO (polydioxanone thread lift) can be used in the same areas as traditional facelifts. It works by inserting very thin barbed threads made from the same material as surgical sutures using a cannula.
The threads should be pulled up with the skin. The threads will hold the skin in place using the barbs. Side effects include swelling and bruising, and puckering from the lifted skin.
Liquid Face Lift
A liquid facelift is an even more effective way to lift the skin. The liquid facelift uses a variety of injectables, including neurotoxins (such as Botox) or dermal fillers.
To prevent lines and wrinkles from appearing on the face, neurotoxins are used in cosmetic medicine. The neurotoxins temporarily paralyze the muscles where they are injected. This results in limited muscle contractions. The most common areas are the frontalis muscle which forms horizontal forehead lines when contracted, the glabellar complex consisting of corrugator and procerus muscles between the eyebrows which creates frown lines, and the muscles surrounding the eyes, called the orbicularis Oculi, contribute to the formation and appearance of crow’s feet. Some injections of neurotoxin can have lifting effects, particularly in the eyebrows.
Fillers can be used to give the face a more youthful look. The most common dermal fillers are Hyaluronic Acid based fillers. This is a lubricating, naturally occurring polysaccharide that allows for smooth movement of the joints. If necessary, the results can be reversed with hyaluronidase.
These are the most common areas that dermal filler is used to give a liquid facelift:
- Dark circles can be eliminated by using the under eye (tear troughs).
- The cheeks
- The smile lines (nasolabial folds).
- The marionette lines are folds that run from your corners down to your chin.
- The chin
- For definition and reduction of mildly loose skin, the jawline is important.
- The forehead
- The temples
- The lips
Ultherapy Skin Lifting
Ultrasound therapy is another non-surgical method for skin lifting. It uses ultrafocused ultrasound energy in controlled thermal coagulation of deeper layers of the skin. The body produces collagen rich microscarring which results in a tightened and lifted appearance. Collagen is a protein naturally found in the skin. It gives skin its youthfulness and keeps it toned.
This may require you to attend several sessions over the course of three to six months. Each session has been described as extremely painful.
It is non-invasive which means that nothing physically perforates the skin. It is a small, lightweight device that glides across the skin to emit ultrasound energy. This energy reaches the deepest layers of the muscular aponeurotic system.
Over the last 15 years, butt enhancements have grown in popularity. Butt implants are now a thing of the past thanks to the advent of minimally invasive buttlifts.
A Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) is one of the most popular surgical butt enhancements. It uses fat grafting, which transfers fat from one area of the body (usually the abdomen, thighs and arms) to another, namely the buttocks. Although this may sound great, BBL fat transfers come with a lot of side effects and risks. They also have a 33% mortality rate making them one of the most dangerous cosmetic procedures.
Many people choose non-surgical options to avoid these risks: Radiesse and Sculptra. Radiesse (Calcium Hydroxylapatite), and Sculptra (PolyL-lactic acid), are injectable dermal fillers used to increase the patient’s buttock size. Both substances stimulate the body’s collagen production which in turn creates volume.
Radiesse can be injected immediately and will increase the buttock volume. Sculptra takes about 1 – 2 month to show results, but can grow significant volume in a matter of months. Both the original patient’s shape and the treatment received will affect the results.
Jawline contouring that is minimally invasive
Jaw and chin implants can still be used in certain cases. However, most cases don’t warrant the need to have a surgical implant for shaping the jawline. Implants can be foreign material in the body and pose a risk of infection or migration. In this case, they would need to be removed surgically.
Dermal fillers can be used to increase volume and define the jawline and chin of patients who only require minor adjustments. The physician will choose the type of filler that is used, but it usually falls between a dense hyaluronic-based filler and Radiesse. Both types of fillers can be safely used and are generally accepted by the body without any side effects or complications. The results can last from 6 months up to 2 years depending on which type of filler was used.
To create a more attractive profile, injectable jawline contouring can help to correct asymmetry and define the jawline.
Non-invasive fat removal
Liposuction, which is often used to remove unwanted fat, involves inserting a tube through the problem area and sucking it out. Although this is effective, it can be painful and require 2 to 4 weeks of downtime.
Cryolipolysis is a less-invasive option thanks to medical technology.
Cryolipolysis, a non-invasive procedure for fat elimination, is derived from the Greek roots cryo, which means cold, lipo and lysis, and freezes fat cells in the area. It does not damage any surrounding tissue or skin. A vacuum applicator is placed on the affected area. It sucks the fat in the area and freezes it for 35 minutes. A protective membrane is applied to the skin beneath the applicator to prevent frostbite.
Because your body takes time to break down the fat cells, results can be seen in as little as one to two months. Side effects may include swelling, bruising and numbing sensations. These symptoms usually disappear within two to three weeks. You may require anywhere from one to four sessions depending on the amount of fat you have.
Kybella is a minimally invasive method of fat elimination
Kybella is an injectable alternative to liposuction for areas that have smaller pockets of fat such as the double-chin. Kybella is an injectable treatment made from deoxycholic Acid. This compound is naturally produced in the body’s digestive system to help break down fat. Kybella can be used to reduce and eliminate excess fat tissue in areas like the double chin or other small pockets of fat. Although there is some swelling, side effects and risks are not as severe as liposuction.
Because your body takes time to break down the fat cells, results can take up to 2 months before they start to show. Depending on your fat level, your response to treatment and what you want, you might need multiple sessions.
Eyebrow lifts that are minimally invasive
Incisions needed to be made at the hairline to lift the eyebrows and pull the skin upwards. This was the traditional method of eyebrow lifting. This method can still be effective, but Botox is a less invasive option.
Although neurotoxins are most well-known for their ability to reduce wrinkles and fine lines after injection, they can also create an eyebrow lift through muscular compensation and interconnection.
Neuromodulator paralyses any muscle where it is injected. It is injected into the eye muscle, the orbicularis, which relieves tension that pulls the eyebrows down. Botox can also be injected into the medial and superior sections of the frontalis muscles (the muscle on your forehead that raises your eyebrows). This causes the inferior (or bottom) region of the muscle to compensate and become stronger, lifting the eyebrows.
The treatment takes only 5-10 minutes and can last up to five months. Side effects include slight swelling and redness that may last for one day. There is also the possibility of bruising.
Many cosmetic procedures that are minimally invasive can be used to improve certain parts or features of the body. Some results may require surgery, but medical technology has made it possible to achieve many results that were previously only possible with surgical procedures. Although most of the treatments mentioned above are safe and effective they may not give you permanent results. However, for most people, getting the same minimally invasive treatment every few weeks is preferable to the downtime and longevity that comes with plastic surgery.