Doctors Sound Off On the Most Overrated Procedures

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From has-been fillers to noninvasive techniques that just aren’t all that popular anymore and beyond, these are what top doctors are saying are really the most overrated beauty procedures out there, even though you may be hearing quite a lot about them.

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Noninvasive procedures

According to Orlando, FL, plastic surgeon Armando Soto, MD, when it comes to some noninvasive procedures patients are most likely to be disappointed with these treatments over surgery because the improvement is limited. “The less-invasive the treatment option (in general), the lower the patient’s expectations should be set. For more dramatic improvement, you generally need to have more procedure. Some of the noninvasive laser-based fat removal systems I think show very little improvement (in my opinion so far) and I think there are a lot of topical skin care products that over-promise and under-deliver.”

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Encino, CA, plastic surgeon George Sanders, MD, says Thermage is one of the most overrated cosmetic procedures out there because it gives minimal improvement and is actually quite painful to the patient. 

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Over-injecting filler in the nasolabial folds

Despite the fact that many doctors inject filler into the nasolabial folds as a way to improve the effects of aging in the area, Dover, OH, facial plastic surgeon David Hartman, MD, says that the procedure is not just overrated, but in fact, can work to a patient’s detriment more often than to their benefit. “To begin with, a significant nasolabial fold can, in fact, be a feature of stunningly beautiful faces. For some patients and medical ‘fillers,’ this obsession with filling, especially overfilling, the ‘smile lines’ produces a face that begins to take on a chimpanzee-like appearance. Deep smile lines of aging are actually the consequence of a problem farther up the face, which is decent of the upper cheek fat pads,” he adds. 

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“In my opinion the most ‘overrated’ procedure is Aqua-Lipo,” says Nashville, TN, plastic surgeon Alexander Nein, MD. “The advertisements repeatedly say that the procedure is minor, has no downtime and that you can return to work that afternoon. But the reality is that the treatment is still liposuction. By whatever technique, fat and fat cells are removed, tissue is injured and there is a recovery associated with the procedure, which is related to the amount of liposuction that has been performed. There is no ‘magic’ liposuction out there.”

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Stem cell treatments

The buzz around stem cell treatments doesn’t seem to be what it once was. “Stem cell treatments for the skin don’t currently have enough safety or efficacy data for my comfort as a practitioner,” says Houston dermatologist Jennifer Segal, MD. “Clinically proven treatments that stimulate the body’s own innate growth factors and collagen through controlled cellular injury (such as Fraxel or Clear + Brilliant) are my preferred methods for achieving the same result.”

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Minimal facelift procedures

According to Chicago plastic surgeon Peter Geldner, MD, minimal face lift procedures are overrated. “Facelifts are based on evaluating the features of the face, determining how best to address those features, and artfully performing those procedures to please the patient. It is not based on fitting the patient into whatever is a trendy procedure with great fanfare and little result. Treated patients often praise their providers in a twisted form of affirmation bias. Minimal facelift procedures, in the hands of most surgeons, provide minimal results. The carnival atmosphere surrounding aesthetic medicine is worrisome.”

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