We can summon our cars with our smart phones, have a drone bring our wildest wishes to our door, and we’re just an Alexa and Roomba partnership away from having our own The Jetsons–style domestic assistant at our beck and call. In the world of aesthetics, futuristic procedures we never knew we needed are here now, too. These are today’s top tweaks that prove the future is actually now.
Moving fat from one part of the body to another is a procedure that has been around since the late 1800s, and because fat transfers have been a reliable source of volume for faces, butts and breasts, their popularity continues to rise. Now, you don’t even need your own fat to get a volume boost. “Renuva is an alternative way to do fat transfers without liposuction,” says Vero Beach, FL plastic surgeon Alan Durkin, MD. “It can fill in scars and dimples, and plump hollow cheeks and hands. Instead of creating collagen, it induces natural human fat. When injected, Renuva acts as a scaffold that allows the body to stimulate its own fat cells to grow and divide creating organic fat.” So, where does this fat come from? Dr. Durkin says it’s donated human tissue that is screened extensively and processed for quality and safety. “It arrives in dehydrated form and we rehydrate it with saline before injecting it.”
Think of microdroplets of filler as the Tiny House Nation of injectable rejuvenation. “Although microdroplets have not yet been approved by the FDA in the United States, Juvéderm Volite was created for this specific application and is being used extensively and successfully in Europe,” says Bloomfield Hills, MI dermatologist Linda C. Honet, MD. “Restylane Skinboosters Vital and Vital Lite are also used with the microinjection technique in Canada and marketed with a special microinjection syringe that delivers tiny amounts—0.01 milliliters of filler—in a serial injection fashion.” The main benefit of this approach? A consistent, superficial glow. “We have found that when the hyaluronic acid–based filler is deposited in one area, deeper into the dermis, we still see the plumping and hydration in all areas of the skin,”adds Beverly Hills, CA dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD.
A few years ago, under-eye carboxytherapy injection videos were going viral, as the insertion of carbon dioxide under the skin causes skin to inflate like a balloon. That visual hasn’t stopped doctors from utilizing carboxytherapy to boost skin rejuvenation. “The intent of carboxy injections is to increase oxygen in the skin by increasing capillary blood flow to eliminate carbon dioxide,” says San Antonio dermatologist Vivian Bucay, MD. Now, a CO2 Lift mask gives similar benefits without the intense skin expansion. “The mask is made of two gels that we mix together and apply on the skin,” she adds. Although there are no formal studies to show carboxytherapy speeds recovery compared to other topicals, Dr. Bucay uses it after laser treatments, Ultherapy, microneedling and chemical peels to reduce healing time.
When we think of getting something “lasered,” we tend to think of the skin- resurfacing treatments that obliterate layers of dead skin to reveal baby-fresh skin. But some doctors, like New York dermatologist Doris Day, MD, are harnessing laser energy to help hair grow in places where it hasn’t for years. “I use the Fotona laser—it employs photobiomodulation, a form of gentle deep heat—to stimulate the stem cells of dormant hair follicles and encourage regrowth. The laser energy penetrates the tissue, where it interacts with chromophores and induces a complex set of reactions that increases circulation, reduces inflammation and helps restore normal cellular function.” Currently, there are no clinical studies to prove the efficacy of this hair growth treatment, but there are controlled studies being planned. Dr. Day has seen results with some patients as part of a long-term plan that also includes Nutrafol, DuoZyme supplements and quercetin, as well as topical treatments and sometimes platelet-rich plasma therapy.
Belly buttons get an automatic upgrade during a tummy tuck or Mommy Makeover, but stand-alone umbilicoplasty is trending as patients continue to find small areas of their bodies to tinker with and perfect. And, it’s not just about turning an outie into an innie. Most of the belly button surgeries performed by Raleigh, NC plastic surgeon Michael Law, MD are on those who have had a tummy tuck with another doctor and are left with visible scarring, or their belly button has an odd, or “operated-on” look.
For tummies in need of extra tightening, there’s a nonsurgical option being explored that involves the same polydioxanone (PDO) threads used in thread lifts for the face. “Abdominal thread lifts are essentially retention sutures, which are placed into the lower, mid or upper abdomen to lift tissue,” explains Spokane, WA dermatologist Wm. Philip Werschler, MD. “Ideal candidates are those who aren’t surgical candidates, those who don’t want surgery, or those whose concerns are less than what a typical tummy tuck would correct.” The in-office procedure takes about one hour and is performed under local anesthetic. There are no current studies to show the efficacy or benefits of thread lifts in this area, but Dr. Werschler says he continues to see good results.
To slenderize the legs, calf reduction is actually a thing. “Excess fat on the calves may result in the appearance of ‘cankles’— being a bit shorter can also make the calves appear thicker,” says Los Angeles plastic surgeon Peter Lee, MD. “We can perform liposuction in order to trim them down to the patient’s goal size. Excision techniques may also be needed for the removal of excess tissue.” To make calves look smaller without surgery, New York dermatologist Tatiana Khrom, MD uses Botox Cosmetic to reshape: “We target the back of the lower leg, the gastrocnemius muscles, to slim the calves and help patients fit into their favorite boots or feel more confident in their shorts, with results lasting up to six months.”
All the doctors included in this story mentioned how important creative, off-label use is to the medical community—and strongly stressed seeing a board-certified doctor, practicing within scope, who has vast experience and knowledge on the treatments in question. Off-label use can be safe when done by an experienced doctor who specializes in that off-label treatment; that doctor may also produce research showing efficacy of the off-label use, has been trained on the off-label use, or performs it regularly. Of course, all cosmetic treatments can have a potential risk whether on-or off-label and this is why it’s important to see a properly board-certified doctor.