Getting Real: What Real Self tells us about trends in plastic surgery
If you haven’t visited RealSelf.com to research cosmetic treatments or plastic surgery, you may be in the minority these days. I’ve been affiliated with the Seattle-based site almost from their
inception, and watched the company to grow into possibly the most widely used platform for information on medical aesthetics. This puts them in a unique position to observe trends, from what patients are most interested in to what they are happiest with afterward. Here’s a snapshot of 2019:
Botox and Ultherapy remain popular
Among nonsurgical treatments, Botox continues to hold the top spot. It now has a range of therapeutic uses in addition to wrinkle reduction, but cosmetic use is the primary driver of its popularity. Gone is the stigma of the frozen look, as we get better at customizing treatments. There are now 3 other brands available (Xeomin, Dysport, and the most recent addition Juveau), so this category seems here to stay. Moving up from last year is another mainstay treatment, Ultherapy, which we have offered for several years. Ultherapy, which uses micro-focused ultrasound, remains the only FDA-approved device for non-invasive facial skin lifting, and new treatment protocols are designed to make it even more effective.
The most-researched plastic surgery procedure remains breast augmentation, followed by tummy tuck. And despite the emergence of nonsurgical fat reduction treatments such as Coolsculpting, liposuction remains in the top 5. It’s still the most effective and precise method of body sculpting when there are areas of localized disproportionate fat.
What's worth it? Breast augmentation, breast reduction, facelifts, and fillers
RealSelf’s “worth it” scores are especially enlightening. Breast augmentation is near the top at 98%, based on more than 36,000 reviews, but breast implant removal is equally highly rated (though with fewer reviews.) Breast reduction also checks in with a 98% worth it score. As you might guess, these numbers align with what procedures are researched on RealSelf, with tummy tucks and mommy makeovers almost as highly graded. Facelifts, Botox, and dermal fillers also hold positions in the high satisfaction range.
So what does all this mean? In my practice at least, people are motivated to appear healthy and natural, and the occasional aesthetic procedure isn’t seen as being out of line with this. Patients want their external appearance to match how they feel internally. They are better educated about their options than in years past thanks in part to resources like RealSelf. I welcome questions about new technologies and procedures, but place the most value in what is tried and true.