No Scalpel Required: Popular Nonsurgical Facial Treatments

Reaping the rewards of a healthy, active lifestyle continues even as you get older. The hours at the gym, hitting the road on your bike, and resisting that morning doughnut keep you feeling youthful and fit as the years roll by. Looking as young as you feel, however, poses a challenge that is difficult to tackle without a little help.

It’s no secret that plastic surgery is much more acceptable now than 10 or 15 years ago, but many of us still flinch at the idea of going under the knife simply to look better. It also puts a dent in your bank account, and plastic surgery is just so … surgical.

Enter nonsurgical cosmetic procedures. Yes, BOTOX® Cosmetic injections have been around for a decade, but new techniques and devices designed to turn back the clock without surgery — and the associated cost and downtime — are becoming increasingly popular.

No Scalpel Required Popular Nonsurgical Facial Treatments

Dr. David H. Song, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons®, cautions patients to choose the practice of a board-certified plastic surgeon even for these minimally invasive, nonsurgical procedures. Not all providers have the same level of expertise or rigorous training, he says. “It may not be surgery, but there is still a lot at stake,” Dr. Song says. “Before you undergo any procedure, do your homework and make sure you’re putting yourself in the hands of only the most qualified and highly-trained expert available.”

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the number of nonsurgical procedures performed in 1997 totaled 740,751. That number exceeded 10.8 million in 2015. Most of those treatments involved BOTOX and fillers, but there are a number of nonsurgical trends that plastic surgeons expect to continue. Here’s a look at a few of the most popular:

Double Chin Treatments

Our necks are notorious trouble spots, and a “double chin” is one of the biggest cosmetic concerns that men and women share. This isn’t necessarily a weight-related issue or caused by aging. Some people are genetically predisposed to have extra fat below the chin. Last year saw the FDA approve 2 nonsurgical treatments to reduce the fat that causes double chins. These procedures represented the first alternative to surgical liposuction for minimizing fat in this area. KYBELLA®, sometimes called the “double chin shot,” is actually a series of injections. Its approval by the FDA in early 2015 generated quite a bit of buzz, and so far the reviews are pretty favorable, according to RealSelf, an online cosmetic enhancement community.

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The “ worth it rating” is 97%, according to patients posting reviews on the site. Patients usually need 2 to 4 treatment sessions, which involve multiple injections targeting the neck fat.
CoolSculpting®, the procedure known for “freezing” fat away, received clearance from the FDA for a specialized applicator designed to treat double chins. The applicator fits snugly on the neck and uses the same technology to destroy fat cells by cooling them without damaging the skin.


Many nonsurgical anti-aging treatments cause minor, controlled injuries to the skin, prompting the body’s healing process to produce collagen. Collagen is an essential component of smooth, tight skin. Smooth and tight is good; wrinkled and saggy is bad.
Micro-needling works by creating dozens of tiny punctures in the skin. Many providers take the treatment another step by combining it with platelet-rich plasma, or PRP. Micro-needling with PRP uses the body’s own platelets to enhance the results.


“These platelets contain growth factors which are released to accelerate the body’s healing process by promoting the production of new collagen and elastin,” says Dr. Vito Quatela, one of the top facial plastic surgeons between Syracuse and Buffalo, on his website. “The addition of PRP with micro-needling is an ideal treatment for clients looking to minimize the appearance of aging including acne scars, stretch marks, wrinkles and fine lines.”


This nonsurgical skin tightening treatment is becoming the go-to procedure for plastic surgeons and dermatologists whose patients are interested in lifting and tightening the areas around the brow and neck, as well as under the chin. Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Aniston are turning to Ultherapy for their aesthetic pick-me-ups.

Ultherapy is considered one of the best noninvasive facial rejuvenation treatments for women and men in their 50s and 60s. This noninvasive skin tightening treatment uses ultrasound technology to tighten and lift the skin of the face and neck, making it a good alternative to a traditional facelift.