New data released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons shows continued growth in cosmetic procedures over the past year with 15.9 million performed in the U.S. in 2015 – that’s a 2 percent increase over 2014. Only 1.7 million of those procedures were surgical, the remaining 14 million were minimally-invasive procedures. On last night's latest edition of Medical Rounds with Baystate Health, Dr. Pranay Parikh, who is a plastic surgeon with Baystate Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, explored the growing number of non-surgical, cosmetic options available for patients.
Q: Have you noticed a shift towards less-invasive procedures in your practice?
A: Absolutely! With our busy lives today, minimizing recovery time has been a major priority for patients, and this has led to tremendous innovation in the techniques we use and the technology now available to us. Just as Botox and fillers like Juvederm have revolutionized facial rejuvenation, technologies such as CoolSculpting are changing the way we approach fat loss and body contouring.
Q: Can you explain for our viewers exactly what CoolSculpting is and what it is used for?
A: CoolSculpting, or cryolipolysis, is an exciting innovation that can be helpful for patients who have stubborn pockets of fat that don’t respond to a healthy diet and regular exercise. During the cryolipolysis process, fat deposits are treated with targeted cooling through the skin. Since fat cells are more sensitive to cold exposure than cells in the skin or surrounding tissues, these fat cells are preferentially targeted. During the process, the fat cells are crystallized, die and eventually removed from the body naturally. Once gone, these cells are permanently removed and are not replaced by new fat cells. Popular areas for treatment include the abdomen, love handles, stubborn thigh fat, and even the tissue of the neck responsible for a double chin.
Q: Is CoolSculpting a safe procedure?
A: CoolSculpting is safe and effective. It is FDA-approved and millions of patients around the world have successfully undergone the procedure. CoolSculpting is relatively painless, but some patients may feel a slight discomfort during treatment. Afterwards, they may experience some redness, minor bruising, and a tingling or numbness sensation, which usually goes away after about two weeks. Because CoolSculpting is a non-surgical procedure, there is no risk of infection or complications from anesthesia. The good news is that you can resume your normal activities immediately after leaving the doctor’s office.
Q: What are some other popular non-surgical options that are trending today?
A: There are a wide variety of skin care products such as cleansers, toners, moisturizers, and sunblock that reduce the appearance of fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and dark circles. While a little more invasive, there are also skin peels that can help with everything from mild skin imperfections to fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation.
The other big area in non-surgical treatment involves Botox treatment, which I think most people are familiar with today. It is used to temporarily remove frown lines between the brows and to remove what people refer to as “crow’s feet,” which are wrinkles formed at the outside corners of your eyes. Still, there are other options such as injectable dermal fillers that restore a fullness to hallowed cheeks or can be used to plump up the lips.
Q: There is a lot of information on the Internet about cosmetic medicine. How can patients sort through it all to get the best information possible?
A: A visit with a board certified plastic surgeon is the best way to make sure you are getting the correct information on safe and effective options….options that are right for you and will help you to accomplish your goals.
(The weekly Medical Rounds is broadcast in the 5:30 p.m. portion of the Tuesday night news and focuses on family health and wellness and breakthrough technologies. Each session is followed by an interactive live chat.)