This is a complicated question – with a perhaps complicated answer! Of course, if you can get the same results with a non-invasive procedure as you can with a minimally invasive or totally invasive procedure, then by all means, you should choose the non-invasive procedure (non-invasive being a procedure that requires no incision).
There is no question that we are seeing a strong trend towards the minimally and non-invasive procedure as the technology is getting better and better. As procedures are getting less and less invasive, it is allowing us to perform these procedures earlier and stave off having to do the more invasive procedures for many years – perhaps forever. This is a great trend. There will still be those patients who will get the best results for their situation with a more invasive procedure. As your surgeon, I’d be able to explain why this may be the case for you after seeing you for a complimentary consultation.
There are some amazing non-invasive and minimally-invasive procedures that my clients are seeing great results with. Having said that, are there any things a patient should be cautious about? Most definitely! First and foremost, know that the results are equipment-dependent. It actually drives me a bit nuts when I am using a Cellulaze laser from Cynosure to help cellulite and I hear ads on the radio for topical creams that promise even more than I would ever dare to suggest I can accomplish. We can accomplish a lot with technology, but I would never suggest I can completely eliminate the problem. The new technology is expensive for the doctor to buy, and you get what you pay for. For example, many spas are now offering similar treatments, but with much lesser equipment. Oftentimes, the lasers used are of inferior quality and the results are not permanent. One area I see this in quite often is laser hair removal. The laser used matters, and you simply won’t get the same result with a lower-grade piece of equipment.
For improvement in hyper-pigmentation, acne scarring and fine lines, the Picosure laser is the gold standard. However, it is a very expensive laser to buy and it takes skills to operate it. You simply will not find this in a spa and therefore you will need get the benefits of a Picosure laser if you want to be treated in a spa.
Minimally invasive fat removal systems, such as Smartlipo and Body-Tite, are expensive. However, there will be knock-offs that will be less expensive – and also less effective. This is also true of the Sculpsure laser, which can non-invasively decrease fat, but will likely not be as aggressive as Smartlipo or Body-Tite for those that want or need something more aggressive.
The best advice I can give prospective patients is to insist on a board certified surgeon, preferably a plastic surgeon (there is no such thing as a board certified “cosmetic surgeon”). Meet the surgeon in advance to discuss the procedure and your desired results. Although it is reasonable to be aware of costs, do not select the least expensive option. You are paying for both the quality of the equipment and the experience of the surgeon.
If you’d like to discuss your concerns or potential treatments, please contact my office at 703-406-2444 to schedule a complimentary consultation with me.