NO KNIFE NEEDED
By SELENE MILANO
March 1, 2004 — THE latest trend in plastic surgery is no surgery at all.
The elimination of wrinkles, tauter skin and a smoother, more youthful complexion used to mean laborious, painful procedures that required weeks of swelling, recuperation and often a hospital stay.
Now, thanks to widely available – and wildly popular – new products like Restylane, which has been dubbed "the new Botox," a quick dip into the fountain of youth can be squeezed into a lunch hour.
Compared to traditional facelifts and plastic surgery, these simple injections and laser treatments carry a far cheaper price tag, can be performed in a doctor’s office and promise to have you looking your best with minimal downtime – though they do carry risks of side effects, like bruising, swelling and redness.
But in the wake of novelist Olivia Goldsmith’s death due to complications from an anesthesic before a facelift and increasing reports of quacks like Dean Faiello, it’s no wonder people are shying away from going under the knife – and opting to go under the needle instead.
"It’s totally acceptable now to have cosmetic work done," says Carol Boyle, 46, a stay-at-home mother who was one of five women who volunteered to test new surgery-free treatments for The Post.
"It takes so little time and the payoff is well worth it. Anyone who feels insecure about their looks and can afford a trip to a doctor should go for it.
"And today, I think most women do."
Dr. Everett Lautin, co-author of "You Don’t Need Plastic Surgery: The Doctor’s Guide to Youthful Looks With No Surgery, No Pain, No Downtime," credits the phenomenal popularity of Botox with the public’s willingness to sign up for these new procedures.
"Since the FDA approval of Botox, the manufacturer has done nearly $800 million in sales, and that’s just to doctors," he says.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, cosmetic procedures have jumped 393 percent in the last 10 years, with Botox injections leading the way.
"Thanks to the ease and availability of the procedures, they have gained total social acceptability – therefore they’ve become more popular," says Manhattan plastic surgeon Dr. Philip Miller.
"And thanks to the huge demand, corporations are able to produce safe, extremely efficient products at a better price."
Critics have questioned the overall safety and long-term effects of these new treatments, but Miller points out that they’ve been researched extensively and carry the FDA’s seal of approval.
"What’s considered new in the medical field is relative," he says. "A product that has just been approved by the FDA has been tested and re-tested for four to five years."
Still, these new products haven’t yet eliminated more invasive surgeries like facelifts.
"As far as we’ve come with new technology, it still can’t reverse the aging process," says Miller. "There are some cosmetic needs that still require surgery."
But there’s no denying the appeal of an injection or a facial peel versus hours in an operating room to women like Mindy Magier, 47, another of the Post’s volunteers, who won’t even consider surgery.
"Maybe in 25 years I’ll feel different," says Magier, an administrator, "but right now I’m so happy with the results I got. I can’t see myself committing to surgery for the sake of vanity.