This article was originally published at www.aedit.com/aedition
Cosmetic treatments are on the rise in the U.S., particularly in urban centers like Los Angeles and New York, and most of us are aware of common cosmetic procedures like breast augmentations, face lifts, and tummy tucks. Even if we haven’t gotten them ourselves, chances are we know someone who has.
According to Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Walt Sweeney, MD, there are five areas patients commonly seek to change. “The majority of patients we see desire a face refresh, breast augmentation, improvement of the abdomen (especially after pregnancy or weight loss), removal of unwanted pockets of fat, or improved nasal contours,” he says. These common themes are why certain procedures are so well known. Face lifts, chemical peels and BOTOX® (botulinum toxin) refresh faces, breast implants are common breast augmentation procedures, tummy tucks address abdominal issues, liposuction treats unwanted fat, and rhinoplasty (nose jobs) are used to change nasal contours. In today’s world, most Americans have an awareness of what these procedures entail.
The cosmetic surgery industry is expanding and, thanks to medical developments and an increase in the number of trained plastic surgeons, our options are no longer limited to the classics. More treatments are available to those who want to nip and tuck less conventional areas. Patient demand increased surgical sophistication and shorter healing times have been instrumental in an increase in procedures like brachioplasty (arm lift), facial hair implants, blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) and vaginal rejuvenation. So what are some of the cutting edge procedures you haven’t even heard of yet? Read on to find out.
Vampire Face Lift
No, it’s not the title of a monster movie. The Vampire Face Lift is a non-invasive skin rejuvenation treatment, not a surgery, that uses PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) to enhance facial skin, lift brows, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, even skin tone, and encourage healing and cell regeneration.
PRP is a serum made using platelets from the patient’s own blood, which is then injected into the face to promote the skin’s natural healing powers and slow signs of aging. After a small amount of blood is taken, the facial treatment takes about 30 minutes. Results are visible within a couple of weeks and two or three sessions are recommended to get the full effect. The recovery period for a Vampire Face Lift is minimal and patients can expect a little tenderness and redness where the injections have been made. Typically this procedure costs between $450 and $650 per session.
As the name suggests, a dimpleplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure to create dimples in the cheeks or chin and has become increasingly popular in recent years. Dimples are seen as an attractive facial feature in western culture and natural dimples are actually a muscular abnormality created by a gap in the buccinator (cheek) muscle and causes a slight indentation in the skin. A dimpleplasty takes about half an hour to create a similar indentation artificially.
Usually performed under local anesthesia, the surgeon makes a small incision in the buccinator muscle from inside the mouth which creates the dimple. While this is a minimally-invasive procedure, patients still need to be careful for a few days after the treatment. Antibacterial mouthwash and antibiotics may be prescribed to keep the incision clean. Results are visible in about two weeks. A dimpleplasty costs between $1,500 and $2,500 depending on how many dimples are made.
Blepharoplasty (Eyelid surgery)
The area around the eyes can be one of the first on our face to show signs of aging. Eyelid skin can droop and cause a dull, tired look and excess skin around the eyes can add to the appearance of aging. Blepharoplasty is the medical term for eyelid surgery and can involve the surgical enhancement of the upper and lower eyelid. This enhancement may mean the removal of fatty deposits which cause puffiness around the eyes, tightening and smoothing of either or both eyelids, and the removal of excess skin which helps reduce the appearance of lines and create a more youthful, bright-eyed appearance.
Blepharoplasty is a surgical procedure and recovery times vary depending on the type of work done, though most patients can expect up to two weeks of healing before results are fully visible. The average cost is around $3,000 as estimated by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Brachioplasty (Arm Lift)
As we age, the skin around our upper arms stretches and fat deposits can make it appear undefined and saggy. Brachioplasty is a form of body contouring that sculpts and removes unwanted skin from the upper arm, creating a leaner and more youthful appearance. The term covers a wide range of procedures, including skin removal, fat removal, and skin tightening. A brachioplasty can also include a fat transfer, where fat is removed from one area of the body, like the upper arm, and put into another area, like the butt or breast.
As is typical of surgical procedures like this, the recovery time for brachioplasty is between two and three weeks. The cost of a brachioplasty varies from practice to practice, but on average costs between $4,000 and $4,500.
Otoplasty (Ear Lift)
You’ve likely heard of a face lift, a breast lift and even a neck lift, but another cosmetic procedure becoming more popular is the otoplasty (ear lift). Otoplasty refers to a range of different cosmetic surgery procedures, including ear size reduction, ear pinning (called pinnaplasty and used to correct protruding ears), and ear reshaping. The process required for any of these procedures is minimally-invasive and generally performed under local anesthetic. Depending on the type of surgery you want to be done, it usually involves the surgeon making a small incision behind the ear, removing cartilage and then pinning or stitching the ear into the desired shape.
During recovery from otoplasty, ears can feel numb and tender. Stitches need to be kept dry until they can be taken out, usually after about a week. After two weeks, the surgery should be fully healed and the final results visible. Like other procedures, the cost of otoplasty varies, but on average is around $3,000.
Facial Hair Implants
You may have heard of hair implants, a popular cosmetic surgery option to help treat hair loss and male pattern baldness. Now for those who want a fuller beard, moustache, sideburns, or thicker eyebrows, but can’t naturally grow them, facial hair implants are an option. The new procedure involves removing hair follicles from the scalp and carefully implanting them into the face one by one. Usually performed under local anesthesia, the procedure uses hundreds of tiny grafts of hair depending on the desired density of facial hair. After the grafting process is complete, the area must be kept completely dry for about five days. After two weeks, the hair will shed and after three months, it will grow back thicker and fuller, even if the area has never grown hair before.
Facial hair implants typically cost about $3,000 to over $7,000 depending on the number of grafts that are needed.
Vaginal rejuvenation, or vaginal reconstructive surgery, refers to a wide range of both non-surgical and surgical procedures that are performed on the vaginal area and are designed to reduce laxity, improve sexual satisfaction, tighten vaginal walls and help reconstruct the vagina both internally and externally after childbirth. Procedures can involve laser and radiofrequency treatments for tightening the internal canal, labial reduction surgery, and monsplasty, which reduces fat deposits in the mons pubis (located above the vagina).
Depending on the type of treatment, the recovery period for most vaginal rejuvenation surgeries is one to three weeks. Non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation can cost between $500 – $1,000 while surgical options have a higher price tag of between $5,000 – $8,000.
Gynecomastia Surgery (Male Breast Removal)
“Aesthetic surgery is increasingly becoming a genderless pursuit, with men and women alike seeking treatments,” says Dr. Sweeney. While female breast reduction is more common, male breast removal surgery is also a popular procedure for men. The technical term for excess breast tissue in men is gynecomastia and men can see it due to weight gain or because their body has an imbalance of the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen. Gynecomastia surgery, or reduction mammaplasty, involves removing excess fat through liposuction, removing excess skin using excision techniques or a combination of the two.
Recovery time is typically between two and three weeks with full effects seen after three to six months. Scarring is common, but if the procedure is done properly, will likely fade over time. Male breast reduction surgery costs an average of $3,500 to $5,000 depending on the practitioner.
No cosmetic procedure, including those listed above, is without risk. Make sure you visit a board-certified plastic surgeon at an FDA-approved clinic and consult at least two different cosmetic surgeons to ensure you have all the information before proceeding. Always ask the doctor questions about risks and the necessary steps to recovery before embarking on any procedure. And since it is unlikely that any cosmetic surgery will be covered by your health insurance, be sure to ask about the cost of any surgery up front.