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New trend: choosing the needle over the knife
Report shows 53 percent more minimally-invasive procedures since 2000

by Brian Hugins
Rest and relaxation seem like impossible feats to most Americans trying to balance the demands of home life and career. This balancing act could account for the continued growth in minimally invasive cosmetic plastic surgery procedures with 8.4 million performed in 2005. According to the statistics released May 16 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), minimally-invasive procedures increased 13 percent from the previous year and 53 percent since 2000.

Minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures are mostly performed in an outpatient setting, do not call for general anesthesia, require little to no downtime and usually cost less than the more invasive cosmetic surgeries. The top five minimally-invasive procedures this year and since 2000 are Botox (3.8 million), chemical peel (1 million), microdermabrasion (840,000), laser hair removal (780,000) and sclerotherapy – elimination of spider veins (590,000).

“For facial rejuvenation especially, we have seen a shift from surgical treatments to a more subtle approach,” said ASPS President Bruce Cunningham, MD. “As patients choose to address signs of aging with less invasive procedures, plastic surgeons also have more tools at their disposal to care for these patients. For instance, plastic surgeons may use more than one type of product or procedure to treat different areas of a patient’s face.”

Since 2000, total surgical cosmetic procedures have decreased by five percent. In the same time period, facelifts decreased 19 percent and forehead lifts 54 percent; however, Botox injections increased 388 percent and laser skin resurfacing 59 percent. Another notable trend — collagen and fat injections have decreased 58 and 13 percent respectively since 2004, but on the rise are hyaluronic acid (Restylane, Hylaform), polylactic acid (SculptraTM), and calcium hydroxylapatite (RadiesseTM) fillers. This can be attributed to the fact that collagen and fat injections can be time consuming with allergy tests and harvesting procedures, and the newer fillers can achieve similar, if not better, results.

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