In recent years, plastic surgery has become more common than ever. Once seen as an uncommon luxury only used by the rich and famous, plastic surgery is now easily accessible to the masses. The internet has given the world a seemingly unlimited resource to explore the possibilities of cosmetic surgery, so it’s only natural that more and more people are finding new ways to join in on the trend.
As the movement grows, newer, safer and cheaper procedures continue to be developed. Doctors can be seen advertising less pricey alternatives to more common treatments on their social media and during consultations. Some doctors have even chosen to specialize in these alternative treatments and create a practice dedicated to affordable procedures. Cheaper procedures can also encourage patients to schedule more treatment in the same appointment, allowing for a “full makeover” effect.
Although some of the most popular procedures for an enhanced look can be extremely pricey, there are countless options available that are much easier on the wallet. Putting price aside, these non-traditional treatments often provide patients with a less invasive choice and little to no downtime. Minimally invasive procedures are great for patients who have a phobia of surgery or health issues preventing safe surgery and recovery.
Finding a Trusted Surgeon
Even after scouring the web for countless hours researching different procedures, it’s best to schedule a consultation with an experienced surgeon to discuss which option will be the most suitable. Only a professional can provide the most informed and safest recommendation. It is also recommended to research and visit a few doctors before narrowing down the best fit. Consultations are an easy way to get to know several doctors and find out which ones provide the best information and which ones are only looking to secure a new patient. Key qualities to look for in trusted surgeon are:
- Substantial experience providing desired treatment
- Excellent before and after results on similar patients
- Compassion and eagerness to listen to concerns
- Innovative, introducing new technologies into their practice
- Thorough and open to questions
- Honest, unwilling to provide procedures solely based on cost
It may be tempting to choose a doctor based only on price, however this typically leads to subpar results and potentially dangerous procedures. The right doctor will provide treatment options for any budget while still maintaining their integrity. Safety and effectiveness should be the main concerns when debating cosmetic procedures, not cost.
Rhinoplasty v. Injectable Fillers
Rhinoplasty is a classic treatment that is only growing in popularity. Reducing the appearance of large bumps or an unflattering shape can provide more symmetry and an overall more flattering appearance for the face. Unfortunately, traditional nose jobs require significant surgery and downtime. Furthermore, according to The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, a typical rhinoplasty in the United States can cost anywhere from $3,000 – $10,000 or more. In Korea, the price can be anywhere from 3M – 8M KRW. The most popular alternative to surgical treatment for nose reshaping is non-surgical rhinoplasty. Non-surgical rhinoplasty, also known as a “liquid nose job,” is a cheaper way to reshape the nose without having to undergo invasive surgery.
Non-surgical rhinoplasty involves the injection of hyaluronic-acid based dermal fillers into the nose to change the shape. Typical fillers used are Restylane, Juvederm and Radiesse.The procedure is minimally painful and can provide results that mimic that of surgery. Best used for patients who seek minor changes to the shape and appearance of their nose, non-surgical rhinoplasty is often recommended for those who aren’t comfortable with surgery or who express interest in a less permanent option. Unlike traditional rhinoplasty, results of the liquid nose job can be reversed. Hyaluronidase enzyme injections are highly effective at dissolving hyaluronic-acid based fillers and can be a great solution in case of less than perfect results.
The most obvious benefit of choosing an injectable filler over traditional rhinoplasty is cost. The average cost of a non-surgical rhinoplasty in the United States is around $1,000, making it a much more attractive option to those with a smaller budget. In Korea, the price is similarly cheaper, at around 1M – 2M KRW. The procedure is also virtually painless and requires little to no recovery time. Finally, the results of treatment are instant, allowing patients to marvel at their new nose immediately after receiving the filler.
The most important cons of non-surgical rhinoplasty are the limited results and temporary nature of the injectable fillers. Non-surgical rhinoplasty is not suitable for patients seeking extreme changes to the shape of their nose or permanent results. Results typically last six months to one year, so patients must schedule additional treatment regularly to maintain their appearance. Treatment may also require more than one visit for additional injections, in order to achieve desirable results.
Liposuction v. CoolSculpting
Liposuction can be used in a variety of areas on the body. It makes sense then, that this fat removing procedure is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures year after year. Liposuction, often referred to as “lipo,” involves the process of flattening and reshaping areas of the body by removing excess fat. The stomach or abdomen is a common target for liposuction and is often performed in conjunction with other procedures to provide “mommy makeovers” for new mothers who are seeking a flatter stomach and overall slimmer appearance.
In order to produce such drastic results, liposuction is a very aggressive procedure and requires about a month long recovery period after surgery. Bruising and swelling after liposuction are also very common, along with pain and soreness.
Fortunately, patients now have options if they’re interested in the results that liposuction can provide, but want to cut down on some of the obvious cons of the procedure. CoolSculpting has quickly become a leading contender for liposuction alternatives. CoolSculpting involves the use of cryolipolysis or “fat-freezing” technology, targeted at fat deposits in order to create a flatter, slimmer appearance. One treatment can be completed in around 35 minutes and requires little to no downtime.
At around $1,500 per treatment in the United States, CoolSculpting is a cheaper option than most liposuction procedures, which normally costs around $4,000. In Korea, prices for liposuction generally run anywhere from 12M – 15M KRW, as opposed to around CoolSculpting is also a non-invasive procedure, requiring no anesthesia. Marketed for patients who are seeking help to reduce the “stubborn fat” leftover after sufficient diet and exercise, CoolSculpting is best for smaller treatment areas. Further benefits of the treatment include:
- Slight discomfort, no pain during the procedure
- Minimal to no downtime or recovery after treatment
- Non-invasive, for patients who can’t or prefer not to have surgery
- Fast, can be completed in less than an hour
Although CoolSculpting can be an ideal option for patients who want to supplement their recent weight loss through traditional means, it is less suitable for larger treatment areas or more drastic results. Larger treatment areas can require several CoolSculpting treatments, which could drive costs far past that of liposuction. CoolSculpting is also not recommended for patients who are planning additional cosmetic surgeries. Combining liposuction with other procedures such as a tummy tuck is a common way to provide the “body makeover” effect. If a patient is already interested in other surgical procedures, it is normally recommended to perform liposuction while they’re already under anesthesia. Coupling procedures also helps to cut down on the overall recovery time.
Facelift v. Titan
A rhytidectomy, also referred to as a facelift, is a cosmetic procedure that is known to shave years off a patient’s face. Performed by removing excess facial skin in order to tighten and reshape the lower half of the face, facelifts are a highly effective way to remove the deepest of wrinkles and reduce the appearance of hanging or loose skin around the jawline and chin.
However, one of the most evident drawbacks to having a facelift is the fact that it is major surgery. In addition to the substantial amount of required downtime and recovery after surgery, patients also run the risk of having too much skin removed, resulting in a startled or “pulled back” look. Facelifts also sport a hefty price tag of around $8,000 in the United States and anywhere from 8M – 15M KRW in Korea, despite the fact that the results may not be absolutely permanent.
One alternative currently gaining popularity among those who want a less surgical option than a facelift is Titan. Titan or Titan Laser is a non-invasive skin-tightening treatment that applies the use of infrared light to boost collagen production. Results of the procedure are similar to that of using dermal fillers and patients are free to return to normal activities immediately after treatment. As a major plus, one treatment of Titan can cost as little as $500 in the United States or 1M – 2M KRW in Korea, making it a relatively affordable option if the desired treatment area is small.
Unfortunately, like other alternative treatments on this list, Titan normally requires more than one treatment session to provide maximum results. As a result, Titan is not recommended for patients seeking treatment of extremely loose skin or excess facial fat.
When Not To Go Cheaper
Price can be a major deciding factor for those contemplating cosmetic surgery. For many, the appeal of a cheaper procedure is enough to justify ignoring a surgeon’s professional recommendation to go with a more expensive, yet more suitable procedure. Many of these alternatives are either not permanent or provide less than incredible results, insufficient for patients expecting extreme changes. It’s important to research every alternative treatment thoroughly, to understand what results are typical and truly compare the long-term costs. Here are some cases of patients who should not choose to go cheaper when choosing a cosmetic procedure:
- Patient hasn’t researched the alternative treatment
- Cosmetic surgeon believes the patient is a better fit for a different treatment
- Patient is expecting drastic or extreme results
- Patient has a large desired treatment area
Contributed by Kayla Orage (You can find Kayla at www.orangewriting.com or on Instagram @kaylaorangewriting)