Cosmetic surgery has never been more popular or more accessible. In the last decade, a conceptual shift to a “less is more” approach has brought popularity to less invasive procedures, particularly related to facial rejuvenation and body contouring. And with the rise in obesity and its associated treatments to combat it, more surgeons are called upon to perform body contouring and skin removal procedures. While the demand has grown for these treatments, so too has the workforce to supply them, requiring patients to take greater caution in selecting their cosmetic surgery provider.

Cosmetic surgery today

Cosmetic consumers are younger than ever before, seeking less invasive facial rejuvenation treatments early on to avoid major procedures later in life. They undergo injections of neurotoxins or filler agents to address wrinkles and volume loss, and treatments with energy-based devices to improve skin quality, color and tone.

"Cosmetic consumers are younger than ever before, seeking less invasive facial rejuvenation treatments early on to avoid major procedures later in life."

The number of massive-weight-loss patients has also grown as bariatric medicine to surgically assist obese patients has become mainstream. Patients are seeking arm, thigh, breast, face and body lifts to remove excess skin and redefine their body shape.

The importance of training

The growing demand for these treatments, coupled with shrinking reimbursements, has driven a greater number of physicians into cosmetic medicine, making it increasingly important for patients to select qualified physicians. Before undergoing surgery, patients should look to a physician’s credentials to ensure they have completed a surgical residency, a post-surgical cosmetic surgery training program and have attained board certification from one of the recognized plastic or cosmetic surgery boards, such as the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery or the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

The future of cosmetic surgery

The new frontier in cosmetic medicine is regeneration, using the patient’s own biologic activators—like stem cells, platelet-rich plasma and cellular modulators—to rejuvenate the skin and face and enhance body contours. While they have not yet reached mainstream medicine, these approaches have been, and will likely remain, the main areas of focus for research and development in the coming years.

Recent advancements have brought more consumers and physicians to cosmetic surgery, but perhaps the most revolutionary advancements—the ones that have the potential to achieve not just rejuvenation but regeneration—are yet to come.