Plastic surgery has historically been a specialty that strives to improve the future for its patient’s health and well-being. Plastic surgery received its name from the Greek word plasticos, which means to mold. It traces its origins to World War I, where there was no adequate way to treat facial wounds that were sustained in battle, and surgeons were called upon to re-mold wounded faces. These surgical pioneers were called plastic surgeons. They subsequently developed specialized skills in treating burns, hand injuries, congenital deformities, cancer reconstructions, and also cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures. Plastic surgeons have been innovative and on the forefront of surgical care. The first kidney transplant was performed by a plastic surgeon.
The cosmetic aspects of plastic surgery are quite different than most other surgical specialties. In most of the surgical specialties, the goal is to correct an injury, a deformity, or disease. Cosmetic surgery is different. The cosmetic surgeon must take a person with a normal appearance or condition and improve upon that. It requires a very high standard of surgical care in order to meet our patient’s expectations.
We have an aging population that is very different from previous generations. People are living longer and healthier lives and want to look as good on the outside as they feel on the inside. Younger patients also have many requests for cosmetic procedures. This allows for a very bright future for plastic surgery and the patients treated by plastic surgeons.
I believe that the future of plastic surgery will be focused on both traditional surgical interventions and more minimally invasive treatments. There are certain conditions that require surgical intervention. For example, if someone has an aged face with significant laxity of their skin, they will best be treated with a facelift. This used to be the main option we offered patients. However, the future of plastic surgery is shifting towards methods that are less invasive in patients who are not showing advanced signs of aging. Technological advances have enabled me to significantly improve people’s appearance with minimal incisions, minimal pain, and minimal downtime. Let’s use facial rejuvenation as an example. Today, and in the future, I can now rejuvenate a face using a combination of a J plasma skin tightening procedure and radiofrequency micro-needling with platelet-rich plasma supplementation and achieve close to a facelift result. This can be done in a one-hour procedure under sedation anesthesia with no visible incisions, little to no postoperative pain, and a return to work and normal activity that usually occurs within 1-2 days postoperatively. In the future, patients will opt for treatments like this at an earlier age and then repeat them when necessary, perhaps every 4-5 years, and thereby avoid the need for major surgery.
Injectables have become extremely popular, and in the future, plastic surgery will continue to provide newer and better injections to improve a patient’s appearance. There are many neurotoxins on the market that will eliminate wrinkles. There are many fillers on the market that will treat deeper wrinkles and adjust facial proportions. There are many energy-based devices that will tighten skin and give it a much younger appearance. There is an exciting new area in the future of plastic surgery utilizing exosomes for topical skincare to improve skin quality.
Technology is also influencing the future of plastic surgery. One very exciting new technology is called TruSculpt Flex. TruSculpt Flex actually allows a patient to build and develop muscles while lying on a table. In just 4 comfortable 45-minute sessions, patients can dramatically improve the musculature of the abdominal region, buttocks, thighs, and arms. In the future, plastic surgeons will be able to augment the results of their abdominoplasties, liposuction procedures, arm lifts, and thigh lifts by developing the muscles underneath the operated areas. For example, I predict that the future plastic surgery will shift away from full tummy tucks and more towards a combination of liposuction, J plasma skin tightening, and TruSculpt flex in a large group of patients.
In the future, by having earlier, more subtle, more frequent interventions, plastic surgery will allow patients to obtain and maintain a more natural, youthful appearance for a prolonged period.