Question: Over the last several months, plastic surgery has been highlighted a lot on daytime talk shows, specifically the “lunchtime procedures” that have patients in and out and back to work with little, if any, downtime. Some of the advances seem too good to be true, but when the show has a credible host and you see the results of a procedure performed live, it seems very impressive. Have a lot of your patients been asking you about these afternoon procedures and what is your opinion of them?
Answer: It seems that a month doesn’t go by without a new product or procedure being highlighted on a talk show or newscast. Sensationalism gets viewers, viewers increase ratings, and ratings bring in money. It is disappointing to me that these programs do not investigate the long-term result of these products and procedures better. Instead of giving a snapshot of immediate success, they should show the final product months later. The injectable medications, whether proven effective longer term such as Botox or Restylane or more recently introduced products like the new volumizer touted as a “liquid face lift” can not be realistically assessed when performed for an audience. Once a needle is used to penetrate the skin or lips, swelling occurs immediately. The clinician does not even need to inject any substance other than saline to get an immediate result that would impress viewers. The reality is, all injectables are not created equal, nor are the clinicians injecting them. This also holds true with the minimally invasive procedures that are promoted to have immediate improvement without requiring healing time. I reviewed my thoughts on the thread lift and feather lift in a previous article (July 2005) and still consider them to be a questionable course of action with noteworthy risks involved. Benefits have to substantially outweigh the risks with any procedure, and the results should have a reasonable duration given the cost. Many physicians use these new and unproven treatments to attract patients to their practices but offer no guarantee of the longevity of the end product. Remember the old adage: If it’s too good to be true, think again. I suggest that you do research about the product or procedure that you’re contemplating, look for a physician with good credentials or referrals and ask about these products before you put yourself and your pocketbook at risk.