We hear the term on a regular basis, but just what do we mean when we speak about “minimally-invasive” procedures? In a general sense, the term is used to describe a medical procedure that involves, for example, smaller incisions than in traditional surgery. The effect is that you lose less blood, and have less postoperative pain, smaller scars, and a quicker recovery than you otherwise would. The range of minimally-invasive surgery covers many different procedures in many different areas of the body. Examples include colon surgery, heart surgery, orthopedic surgery, and others.
Similarly, in the case of cosmetic surgery, there are many different procedures that fall within the general category of minimally-invasive. The most popular, as of the end of last year, were as follows:
- Botulinum Toxin Type A (Botox®).
- Soft tissue fillers.
- Chemical peel.
- Laser hair removal.
There are numerous advantages to these and other minimally-invasive procedures, including less “down time” and lower cost than many surgical procedures. It’s no wonder, then that the number of people opting for these procedures has skyrocketed in recent years. To get an idea of just how popular they have become, close to twelve million were performed in 2013. Botox was the most popular of all, with more than six million procedures nationwide last year. Soft tissue fillers (2.2 million) were up by 13% over the previous year, indicating that their popularity is still growing. And the five procedures listed above are just some of the many available minimally-invasive procedures. Others include dermabrasion, laser skin resurfacing, spider vein treatments, IPL treatment, etc. And we can expect that the number of people choosing these less invasive procedures will continue to rise as newer techniques are developed.
There are, of course, situations in which surgery is the right choice, and while the number of people opting for surgery is far less than for minimally-invasive procedures, that number is still significant. The most popular of these (not necessarily in order of popularity) are breast augmentation, eyelid surgery, liposuction, nose reshaping, and facelift.
Whatever your cosmetic concerns may be, talk to your doctor about the cosmetic procedure that is best choice in light of your particular goals.