Goodbye plastic surgery? How cutting edge technologies are taking the knife out of cosmetic procedures

Goodbye plastic surgery How cutting edge technologies are taking the knife out of cosmetic procedures

By
Daisy Dumas

Last updated at 7:44 PM on 23rd February 2012

An astonishing 14 million Americans underwent cosmetic procedures last year.

But, increasingly, patients are not going under the knife, instead taking advantage of new technologies that mean plastic 'surgery' is less invasive than ever.

A new skin-tightening device, for example, negates the need for a scalpel and shaves hours off time under anaesthetic and recovery time.

Surgery-free facelift: Instead of going under the knife, patients are taking advantage of new technologies that mean plastic 'surgery' is less invasive than ever

Surgery-free facelift: Instead of going under the knife, patients are taking advantage of new technologies that mean plastic 'surgery' is less invasive than ever

Incisions are shorter and fewer, reports ABC's 20/20 – and the processes are certainly geared towards the less squeamish, a fact that is sure to boost the bottom line of the $10 billion per year business.

Advances in high-tech procedures come with a hefty price tag attached.

Dr Doug Steinbrech, a New York specialist performs a new facelift with the device at a cost of an eye-watering $35,000.

And a day to re-sculpt a face using ultrasound and lasers costs an astonishing $11,000.

A non-surgical liposuction option comes in the form of Lipsonix.

Dr Doris Day told the programme that it 'is the newest kid on the block for helping to re-sculpt and melt fat.

'It's like liposuction, but it's a non-surgical approach. … It uses that high-density focus ultrasound to actually heat up and melt fat.'

The same ultrasound wizardry can be used to give non-surgical facelifts.

Cheri Bollman, 48, has a brood of 11 children and featured on the show My Life is a Sitcom. Dr Day gave her a non-surgical facelift that used high-density ultrasound shrink and tighten tissue under the skin.

The doctor told the network that the special ultrasound 'delivers heat very deep, that helps give a lift.'

In her book, Forget the Facelift, the doctor explained that the advancements have not ruled out surgery altogether, but instead focus on an integrated approach that uses the best of both worlds.

'I do not believe in aging gracefully… I think you have to fight it every step of the way'

The doctor told Barbara Walters on ABC that she does not 'believe in aging gracefully.

'I think you have to fight it every step of the way.' As such, she details in her book the arsenal of approaches surgeons use in that battle: 'We have different tools and we also have different approaches.'

By combining ultrasound with fillers, Botox and laser smoothing for Mrs Bollman, for example, the doctor addresses the nuances of ageing gracefully and gives the surgeon the freedom to be more artistic and responsive with her craft.

That artistry, though, comes at a cost of around $11,000 for one day's work.

'Before, we just had a few different types of animal-based collagen, and now we have a whole palette of tools available,' she told the network.

'We are putting some elements deep, and some elements more superficial, to get a very natural approach.'

The very busy mother, who has never had any cosmetic procedures or treatments – even a facial – before, is clearly pleased with the outcome.

She told ABC that the results 'look so natural' and, just three weeks after her non-surgical boost, said: 'I noticed I don't have to pick up my eyelid to put on makeup anymore.'

Watch the full story on The Cutting Edge, a 20/20 special, this Friday at 10pm.