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Plastic surgery is hot. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of people undergoing cosmetic procedures has more than doubled in the past ten years to over 14 million in 2010. Advances in technology are partially responsible for this trend, as looking better has never been easier or cheaper.
So what do I see in store for plastic surgery this year? Quite a bit. Here are my plastic surgery predictions for 2012.
5. Cosmetic filler injections will continue to get better and cheaper. There are two types of cosmetic injectables: neurotoxins and fillers. Neurotoxins, like Botox, weaken muscles that cause wrinkles, such as crow’s feet. Fillers, like Restylane, literally ‘fill-in’ deeper wrinkles of the face or plump the lips. Ten years ago, collagen was the only filler available. Unfortunately, it lasted only 2 to 4 months and was extremely expensive. Today’s fillers are cheaper, have greater longevity, and come in many different types. Juvederm Voluma is one of the new fillers poised to gain FDA approval in 2012. This treatment adds fullness to the face and can even enhance a weak chin.
4. More and more Botox competitors will hit the market, but real Botox will remain the juggernaut. Botox is the most popular plastic surgery procedure of all time, with over 5 million treatments performed last year. Up until a few months ago, Dysport™ was the only true Botox alternative available. Although a great product, it hasn't caught on as much as some plastic surgeons expected. 2011 brought the FDA approval of Xeomin®, another Botox competitor, although its advantages to Botox remain under debate. The next big neurotoxin staged to hit the market, PureTox®, may be available in 2012.
3. The Ideal Implant will begin making waves. Our two current breast implant choices have their limitations. Silicone implants give the best results but are still considered controversial by many. Saline implants don’t look or feel as natural as silicone, but have a great safety profile. 2012 may bring us the best of both worlds. The Ideal Implant is a saline-filled breast implant specially designed with internal chambers to mimic the feel of a silicone implant. It's currently in the FDA approval process and may get cleared this year, allowing patients the peace-of-mind of saline with the natural feel of silicone.
2. The number of people undergoing nonsurgical fat reduction will skyrocket. The Holy Grail of plastic surgery is removal of fat without needles, surgery, or pain. So far, there are two common treatments that claim to accomplish this. Zeltiq® and Zerona® have been met with a ton of enthusiasm, but overall mixed results. The newest nonsurgical liposuction machine, Liposonix®, recently received FDA clearance and is now being marketed to physicians. It utilizes external ultrasound to blast away fat cells. Ultrashape is a similar device that may achieve FDA approval in 2012, giving us yet another option in the battle against the bulge. Expect long lines at your plastic surgeon’s office if either of these devices lives up to the hype.
1. We’ll see more and more nightmare surgery stories from phony plastic surgeons. Cosmetic surgery is currently the “Wild West” of medicine, with doctors of all types of training (Ob-Gyn, ER, family practice, etc.) performing plastic surgery procedures for which they are poorly trained. A lack of regulation combined with the gradual decline in insurance reimbursement are pushing more and more doctors to close their medical practices, take courses in plastic surgery, and then reopen their offices as cosmetic surgery clinics. I expect we’ll hear more and more nightmare plastic surgery stories as these poorly trained doctors botch surgeries on unsuspecting patients.
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Dr. Anthony Youn is a Michigan-based, board-certified plastic surgeon and regular contributor to msnbc.com and TODAY.com. Youn, who runs the blog Celebrity Cosmetic Surgery, is also the author of a memoir called “In Stiches.” Read an excerpt here.