The 4 Levels of Cosmetic Medical Care
We all know that as we age, our bodies will change. But the process doesn't occur at the same rate over the decades. In fact, the older we become, the faster we age.
The passage of time and the pull of gravity cause us to lose the natural collagen and fat in and under our skin, thinning the outer tissues and leading to wrinkles. Below the skin, fat cells diminish and collect in less desirable places - such as under our eyes and jawline.
We gain weight more easily, stress enhances the lines in our brows and around our mouths, and for some individuals, the skin around our stomachs, hips, legs, and breasts stretches and sags.
There are many non surgical and surgical ways to improve our appearance and diminish the effects of the aging process. Exercising, healthy eating, avoiding tobacco, and reducing ultraviolet light exposure are simple ways to maintain our health and bodies throughout life. Certain noninvasive and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures enhance the way we look and lessen the impacts of age and sun exposure. Surgical procedures offer more lasting solutions to reduce the evidence of aging on our skin and bodies.
Plastic surgeons rely on their in-depth medical knowledge of the entire human body - its changes over time and its response to external factors - to accurately map our health and beauty goals at the appropriate life stages. They help us understand our options and manage our expectations.
Presented here is information on the four levels of cosmetic medical care.
Noninvasive cosmetic procedures - or spa treatments - are therapeutic and relaxing, designed primarily to reduce blemishes and revitalize and protect the skin. The results are temporary.
These techniques and treatments - such as cellulite wraps, facials, and deep tissue massages - are used by people of all ages, from younger people who want to improve skin tone to older adults looking to relieve muscle tension or back pain.
Minimally invasive treatments even out our skin tone, increase cell turnover, promote cell growth, remove unsightly veins or abnormal hair growth, and stimulate collagen production to help the skin retain its softness and reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
Common procedures include light-based treatments to remove sunspots (e.g., Intense Pulsed Light, or IPT®), microdermabrasion, light skin peels, spider vein treatment, hair removal, and treatment of leg veins. These treatments - usually undertaken in a series - are not without risk and should be performed by a trained provider overseen by a plastic surgeon.
Medical skin care can produce pleasing outcomes for patients by reducing the effects of sun damage and discolorations and improving skin texture.
Moderately invasive procedures, while nonsurgical, are neither risk-free nor a substitute for plastic surgery. This level includes injection therapy with Botox®, soft tissue fillers, laser skin resurfacing, deep chemical peels, nonsurgical skin tightening, and cellulite treatments.
The longevity of these treatments varies - from a few months to a few years. For a time, they reduce the appearance of lines and creases, plump thin lips, enhance shallow contours, and soften wrinkles. But we don't achieve the same results as we would with surgery or surgery combined with moderately invasive procedures, which produce more noticeable and longer lasting results.
Surgical or invasive procedures reposition our tissue and restore lost volume to rejuvenate our faces. Body contouring can reduce fat deposits, lift sagging skin, and shape our arms, hips, and thighs. The most common surgical procedures can be grouped in three categories:
- Face - surgical repositioning and volume restoration
- Facial rejuvenation - eyelid surgery, forhead lift, facelift, and neck lift
- Facial implants
- Ear surgery and nose reshaping
- Breast - breast lifts, augmentations, and reductions
- Body Contouring - liposuction, tummy tucks, and arm, thigh, and body lifts
Choose a Surgeon You Can Trust
Anyone with a medical degree can claim to be qualified to perform cosmetic procedures. The first and most important step before you can undertake any procedure is selecting a qualified plastic surgeon you can trust. Choose a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery or an ASPS Member Surgeon.
Members of these organizations:
- Are board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery® or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada®
- Completed at least five years of surgical training following medical school, with a minimum of two years of plastic surgery residency training
- Successfully passed rigorous written and oral examinations administered by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
- Perform surgery in accredited, state-licensed, or Medicare-certified surgical facilities
- Adhere to a strict code of ethics
When it comes to cosmetic medical care it's not always easy to know where to begin. Plastic surgeons, because they are the complete "go-to" resource for great outcomes in cosmetic medicine and surgery, are the best professionals with whom to start. Working with your plastic surgeon will bring you one step closer to achieving your Beauty for Life goals.