Summary: When it comes to Los Angeles nonsurgical procedures are incredibly popular. It allows celebrities—and anyone else—to get ready for a big event with a moment’s notice–no long recovery and no waiting for results. So it’s not surprising that non-surgical procedures are continuing to become more popular, and it’s even less surprising that cosmetic surgeons continue to push the envelope and develop ever less invasive techniques. And while, up until now, that has mostly included dermal fillers (and innovative ways to use them, such as nonsurgical nose jobs), it now also includes ways to melt fat away with an injection.
Constant Innovation in Cosmetic Surgery
The world of cosmetic surgery is one that is constantly changing. That’s largely because it’s an industry in which there is constant innovation. Americans, in particular, are always looking for that next great procedure—because there’s always pressure to decrease the pain involved and increase the potency of the results. This is, perhaps, why procedures such as non-surgical rhinoplasty are so popular. This procedure offers, basically, rhinoplasty results without surgical recovery time. There are, of course, some caveats, and non-surgical rhinoplasty cannot do everything that its surgical counterpart can. At least, not yet. As I said, there’s a pressure on cosmetic procedures in particular to perform what are, essentially, miracles.
But science, it turns out, can be pretty good at delivering miracles (we’re looking at you, polio vaccine—and so on). Now, to be sure, this doesn’t mean that science is magic or that researchers are going to solve all of your problems. But, there is some evidence that, as nonsurgical procedures increase in popularity, patients are opting into this set of procedures more and more.
It’s Not Science Fiction
Most recently, for example, comes word that a compound known simply as ATX-101 (which, to us, sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, frankly) is seeking FDA approval as a fat “melting” substance. Essentially, there’s a compound in your body known as deoxycholic acid, and it helps you break down fats for all kinds of reasons. Researchers, quite logically, assumed that if they could recreate this deoxycholic acid artificially and control it—as an injectable, for example—it would have a broad array of cosmetic applications. Indeed, in this context, ATX-101 works quite well as kind of non-surgical liposuction.
So how does this non-surgical liposuction work? Well, a targeted injection of ATX-101 would, in theory break down the fat in a small, targeted area, and that fat would then be absorbed back into the body. The effect wouldn’t be monumental, but it would be noticeable. In theory, it would good for situations in which someone wants his or her jowls to disappear, or when someone wants a little excess neck fat to go away, or a little of that extra fat in the cheeks or around the eyes. Whether ATX-101 is safe for wide scale use is, of course, up to the FDA, which will continue testing the substance until it’s satisfied of its safety.
And, certainly, it’s not the first time that the FDA has had to evaluate a novel procedure. Indeed, the FDA must evaluate most novel procedures before they can be widely performed. For that reason, it’s likely that many more such procedures will need to be evaluated as well. But that’s what they’re there for.
Pushing the Envelope—of Taste
Of course, with all these new procedures comes the accusation that, somehow, cosmetic surgery is getting really “weird.” I suppose that’s an accusation worth discussing—and it’s a discussion we’ve had ourselves, because there are some truly, well, unique procedures out there. Although, in our opinion, we reserve judgment in all cases except where the procedure ends up causing long term harm to the patient (foot shortening, or removing ribs and intestinal sections, for example). The so-called “Cinderella” procedure makes our list because it damages the feet of those who elect to undergo the procedure (and all to fit into certain shoes better). It would be different, of course, if there were no permanent damage, but that’s not the face.
Vampire facelifts also, often, get lumped into the weird category. And that’s at least somewhat understandable. We’re squeamish when it comes to our own blood, after all. But it’s not as though cosmetic surgeons are injecting people with unspoiled blood, straight from the source. This blood goes through a centrifuge and through a purification process (usually trying to get platelets or other stem cells out of the deal). The point is that a vampire facelift is not nearly as gruesome as it sounds and is actually more akin to a fat transplant.
Whatever Works for You is Good to Go
So, in the end, it’s really about finding the procedure that works for you. Many patients simply want results—they don’t want recovery and they don’t want pain and they don’t want to wait. It’s difficult to do anything but applaud cosmetic surgeons who are willing to innovate, who keep striving to give patients great results at a smaller physical cost. That said, whether it’s painless or not, cosmetic surgery should always be approached thoughtfully and deliberately. You might not have to live with a long recovery, but you’re going to have to live with the results, even if it’s only temporarily. It’s best you be prepared for them.
That said, most cosmetic surgery patients are pretty pleased with the way they look when it’s all said and done. Maybe that’s why cosmetic surgeons keep innovating and pushing that envelope.