Have you noticed that brand name procedures are showing up a lot more often when it comes to cosmetic medicine? That’s no accident—when companies and even individual surgeons invest in new technology, they want to get the word out and attract as many patients as possible to fund their investment in these expensive machines.
But, are they really as effective as traditional plastic surgery? And are they more cost effective than surgery? The answers to both of these questions may surprise you.
There are many misconceptions out there about the efficacy of non-surgical versus surgical cosmetic procedures. Today, we want to specifically address options for reshaping the face and the tummy—two areas where we feel it’s critically important to distinguish between the impressive claims made by non-surgical technologies and the actual results they can produce.
Should I get a Facelift or Ultherapy?
On the popular consumer website RealSelf.com, facelifts have a 95% “worth it” rating vs. Ultherapy’s 79% “worth it” rating. Facelifts beating out Ultherapy by such a substantial amount is especially impressive when you consider that the facelift patients underwent surgery followed by a multi-day recovery—and still remain enthusiastic about the procedure. Ultherapy, despite its comparative ease, didn’t rate nearly as highly. We think that difference comes down to the results each procedure can deliver.
Patients who work with a skilled, board certified plastic surgeon are generally thrilled with their facelift results: a truly firm neck, smooth jawline, and lifted cheeks combine to help patients look a decade or more younger. While Ultherapy promises a quick recovery, minimally-invasive procedures like this can only provide subtle results: imagine a slight overall plumping of the skin in treated areas. And Ultherapy (or any non-surgical procedure) simply can’t remove excess skin.
That’s not to say non-surgical procedures don’t have their place when it comes to facial rejuvenation: we see the most remarkable outcomes when a facelift is combined with non-surgical enhancements to increase volume (facial fillers) and improve the skin’s texture (microneedling).
Ultimately, the answer to whether a facelift or Ultherapy is best depends on the results you want. If budget is not a concern and you’ll be satisfied with subtle, temporary results, Ultherapy—a technique which uses ultrasound to increase collagen production—might work for you. But, if you prefer to set the clock back about ten years with lasting results, give a facelift serious consideration.
Should I get a Tummy Tuck or CoolSculpting?
Tummy tucks have a 96% “worth it” rating on RealSelf vs. CoolSculpting, which scores substantially lower with only an 86% “worth it” rating. Tummy tucks require a week or more of serious recovery time versus no downtime for CoolSculpting, and yet are more highly rated. Why? A tummy tuck can profoundly transform your shape and deliver dramatic results. The procedure is far more than a “tuck” and affects multiple layers of tissue: the procedure removes excess skin and fat, repairs underlying abdominal muscles affected by pregnancy or weight changes, and can even help create an hourglass shape for women. CoolSculpting, on the other hand, provides more subtle results, more akin to losing a bit of weight: your jeans will gradually get a little less tight over the three months it takes to see results.
Is plastic surgery worth the extra cost?
Many people assume plastic surgery is the most expensive option when it comes to rejuvenation; you may be surprised to hear that a surgical facelift or a tummy tuck can be more economical than non-surgical options. This is because procedures like Ultherapy and Coolsculpting have fairly high price tags, and patients need multiple treatments to achieve the degree of change they want. After three or more treatments, their cost usually ends up equalling or exceeding that of a surgical procedure. Not only that—after multiple cycles of CoolSculpting, you still may not have the results you truly wanted. Thus a proven plastic surgery procedure is often the most direct and cost-effective way to achieve your desired results.
While patient ratings are helpful information, the best procedure may be different for you.
Remember, the most satisfied patients for any procedure are the ones who were both fully informed and had realistic expectations for their results. Fully educate yourself on all of your options and avoid providers who are unwilling to discuss a variety of treatments with you. For this reason, we recommend heading to a plastic surgeon’s office rather than a medspa or other provider that only offers non-surgical options.
Looking for a plastic surgeon in Hagerstown?
Dr. Henry Garazo would love to help you fully understand your rejuvenation options, from subtle non-surgical interventions to life-changing plastic surgery procedures. He invites you to make an appointment for a personal consultation: contact us online or call (301) 791-1800.