When to Make the Jump From Noninvasive Treatments to Surgery

When to Make the Jump From Noninvasive Treatments to Surgery featured image
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In an industry crowded with the latest and greatest in nonsurgical cosmetic enhancement and rejuvenation, it can be hard to accept that not every cosmetic problem has a noninvasive solution. From patients transitioning away from nonsurgical treatments to areas that simply yield better outcomes with surgery, we asked experts to explain how to recognize when achieving the end goal requires a more invasive approach.

Fort Lauderdale and Delray Beach, FL plastic surgeons Drew Schnitt, MD and Daniel Crane, MD, frequently assist patients in transitioning from treatments to procedures that yield the best results. We delved deeply into their approach to enhancement and rejuvenation to understand how to discern when it’s time for plastic surgery.

Skin-Perfecting Treatments

If you feel like you’ve tried everything to correct unwanted and excess skin, it may be time to explore more invasive options.

“When diet and exercise fail to address lax skin resulting from weight gain, weight loss, pregnancy and aging,” Dr. Schnitt explains, “there aren’t any strong nonsurgical solutions for stretch marks, skin stretching that occurs during rapid growth such as pregnancy, or the separation of the abdominal muscles.”

While many patients may find noninvasive skin-tightening methods effective for a period, there will come a point where a transition is likely necessary. When the goal is no longer just to minimize fine lines and improve skin texture, but to turn back the clock several years, surgery becomes the answer.

“If patients are interested in full facial rejuvenation, aimed at turning back the clock 10-15 years, they are ready to consider surgical intervention,” advises Dr. Crane.

Surgical solutions also offer the added benefit of longer-lasting results, which may be important to patients who have already heavily invested in nonsurgical treatments.

Lifting and Tightening

While the idea of a noninvasive facelift is certainly appealing, oftentimes patients won’t achieve the full and impactful results they’re looking for.

“Noninvasive skin treatments may improve the appearance of the skin and filler may add volume to areas where volume has been lost, but neither addresses the true problems that occur as we age,” explains Dr. Crane.

These methods yield the best results for those with minimal skin laxity to begin with, typically patients in their mid-40s who would not be interested in pursuing a facelift.

“Noninvasive methods can be an excellent choice, but only for some and only to a point,” adds Dr. Schnitt. “When noninvasive treatments fail, surgery is the next step.”

Gravity-Defying Procedures

There are also areas that simply achieve better outcomes through surgery than noninvasive options.

“There just aren’t that many options to address loose and inelastic skin besides surgery,” says Dr. Schnitt. “Areas of the body that need to be lifted or augmented typically require surgery.”

In many cases, aesthetic concerns involving loose skin around the face and eyes also require an invasive solution.

“As we age, we develop excess skin in the upper eyelids,” explains Dr. Crane. “The medical term for this is dermatochalasis. The skin excess can be so extreme that it touches the lashes of the upper eyelids. Unfortunately, there are few noninvasive procedures that will address this problem.”

The same tends to be true when dealing with lower eyebags, though filler can help disguise the look of hollowing and bags for some time.

“Once there is obvious excess skin and herniation of fat, only surgery will be capable of rejuvenating the area,” concludes Dr. Crane.

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