Summary: Are invasive procedures getting more popular or are non invasive procedures getting less popular? That’s what we’re asking after new data from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons seems to suggest that more patients–Millennials especially–are opting to undergo surgery rather than get Botox. Younger patients seem to favor the permanent results that plastic surgery tends to yield.

Are Invasive Procedures Getting More Popular Than Cosmetic Surgery?

According to the most recent data provided by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, there is some startling evidence that suggests surgical procedures are on the rise. What’s most striking is that patients seem to be eschewing non-surgical procedures in favor of these more invasive options. Are invasive procedures getting more popular because patients want surgery?

Well, not exactly. Much of the increase in popularity of invasive, surgical procedures stems from a kind of frustration with non surgical options. In large part, that’s because the expectations for these non surgical procedures have certainly gotten, well, out of hand.

Indeed, non surgical procedures are usually capable of producing subtle shifts in your appearance. That’s the trade off for not having to go through any recovery period. But patients tend to expect a significant transformation–and that’s what surgery is for. Are invasive procedures getting more popular? They certainly seem to be. And I think the reason for that is a kind of realignment of expectations.

What Can a Surgical Procedure Do?

Plastic surgery has been around since World War 1, more or less. And in those hundred years or so, plastic surgery has made amazing strides in helping patients achieve amazing results. Plastic surgery, generally speaking, is designed to do several things:

  • Achieve permanent changes to the aesthetics of the body
  • Make those changes look as natural as is possible or desired
  • Achieve those transformations in a way that is as safe and comfortable as possible

Because plastic surgery requires incisions to achieve results, the appeal of a non surgical procedure is immediately clear. Plastic surgery requires recovery; non invasive procedures do not. The drawback to most non invasive procedures is that they tend to be temporary and subtle. And, according to these statistics, that tends to be frustrating some patients–younger patients especially.

The benefits of a surgical procedure are pretty clear:

  • The results are effectively permanent.
  • When surgery is performed, results will also be much bolder
  • Surgeons will have much more control over the final results, generally speaking

Less Invasive Approaches

But there’s no doubt that surgeons want to make patients as comfortable as possible. And, for many, that means investing in less invasive options. According to the website of the Twin Cities plastic surgeons at Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, the shorter your recovery time is, the more likely you are to heal properly and be able to fully enjoy your results. That’s why many procedures, from facelift to breast augmentation to rhinoplasty, offer patients a less invasive option that may help them recover more quickly.

Are Non Invasive Procedures Still Valuable?

Hopefully this article isn’t being too negative on non invasive procedures. I really do think that the disappointment that many patients feel come not from misplaced ability but misplaced expectations. That is, the procedures are fully able to do what they should. It’s just that expectations are out of alignment.

Non invasive procedures can still provide a very valuable service to patients. From Botox to dermal fillers to Kybella to Coolsculpting, non invasive procedures are designed to help those patients who want to achieve just a little change to the way they look. They work best in patients who are seeking a subtle shift in appearance.

But somewhere along the way, patients started to buy into a certain amount of hype around these non invasive options. Or maybe the marketers started to oversell some of the options. Don’t get me wrong, Kybella and Botox are both incredibly powerful options–but they can’t compete with liposuction.

Non Invasive Isn’t Always a Surgery Alternative

In other words, what this report from the ASAPS says, basically, is that non invasive procedures such as Botox aren’t necessarily an alternative to a facelift. It’s not a replacement for a facelift. Although, it certainly can be a complimentary procedure. Botox could solve its own set of related issues, but not the same issues that a facelift is used to solve.

And that’s kind of the point of these procedures anyway. Kybella is great at removing a certain amount of a certain kind of fat. But it’s not going to work for everyone and it’s not going to produce the same results as a liposuction procedure.

It’s up to each individual patient to balance the benefits, costs, and tradeoffs of each procedure style. And it’s up to the surgeon to determine whether each patient is a good fit for a given procedure. That certainly requires a pretty thorough amount of communication, but it also requires patients to have at least a concept of what they would like their results to be. Indeed, the more clearly you can visualize your results–and communicate that–the better off you’ll be.

Are invasive procedures getting more popular than ever? To a certain extent, yes. And for good reasons. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of room for non invasive procedures as well. It’s all going to depend on you–and what you want.

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