Dr David Sharp, Specialist Plastic Surgeon and ASAPS Member shared his thoughts for the trends and pitfalls of having cosmetic surgery in 2019.
Why did you choose to do a Fellowship in Plastic Surgery?
I chose plastic surgery as a sub-specialty because I love performing the full spectrum of procedures it offers. They are all rewarding because they affect positive change in patients’ lives in different ways. For example, blepharoplasty surgery provides an instant reward because the recovery is so quick and it’s a small operation that makes a significant change. Whereas post pregnancy abdominoplasty is rewarding – even though the recovery is longer – because it restores core strength and improves back pain, pelvic floor issues and skin irritations after a woman has given so much of her body over to having a baby.
What are the most popular procedures people will be asking for in 2019?
In my practice, our four most popular surgical procedures are breast augmentation, abdominoplasty, breast reduction and blepharoplasty. Also on the rise, however, are non-surgical treatments such as anti-wrinkle injections and cosmetic fillers.
What trends do you think will occur in the next few years in cosmetic surgery?
We will see more interest in minimal downtime surgery such as lip lifts, mini-facelifts and procedures that combine fat grafting. For skin condition and improvement, there is a growing interest in medical grade lasers, micro-needling and PRP therapy to help stimulate the skin’s own natural responses. It’s a more holistic approach than we’ve seen in the past, and I think it’s going to achieve more natural, sustainable results for patients.
Do you think cosmetic surgery is on the rise or decline?
The interest in having cosmetic surgery is definitely still on the rise. This is because the taboos that previously existed around these procedures have lifted; they are also easier to access now, thanks to lower costs. Some of the procedures can also be claimed through private health insurance such as
abdominoplasty, breast reduction or rhinoplasty if they are considered to be medically required.
We are seeing more demand for breast augmentations and facelifts than we have in the past. This rise could be due to a greater awareness of the options available; facelift surgery techniques have evolved to offer a procedure that provides a very naturally rejuvenated look – not the stretched, pulled-back appearance. We also see smaller facial procedures, such as mini-facelifts and lip-lift surgery, grow in popularity as we can perform some of these under local anaesthetic.
The “new generation”, high-quality breast implants I use also look and feel more natural than ever before, and along with fat grafting, it means we can tailor the augmentation result to the patient’s unique anatomy. In terms of breast augmentation, the popularity of this procedure has skyrocketed over the past 10 years in general.
What is the biggest misconception about cosmetic surgery?
There is a concerning lack of understanding around credentials. We still speak to a lot of patients who didn’t realise there’s a difference between a doctor that has done 7-10 years of additional training and supervision to become a surgeon, as opposed to a doctor who wants to call themselves a surgeon, and opens up a cosmetic clinic. I encourage patients to check their doctor’s qualifications on the Royal Australasian College of Surgeon’s website’s surgeon finder; if they aren’t there, they aren’t an accredited Specialist Plastic Surgeon. Meaning, they will not be covered by the same training, hospital operating rights or insurance provisions. The same applies to cosmetic injectables; when you can get a TGA-regulated injection in a hairdressing salon or beauty clinic with no medical professional in sight; we need to ask why patients’ best interests and safety are not being considered.
What steps should a patient take before agreeing to have a cosmetic procedure?
- Look at lots of websites, choose a shortlist of two or three surgeons and check their credentials on the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons’ website to ensure the surgeon you choose in, in fact, a Specialist Surgeon and accredited by the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency.
- Book a consultation with more than one surgeon; it’s a big decision, and you need to choose a surgeon that you resonate with and feel comfortable around.
- Have at least two consultations before your surgery to ensure you’ve had the time to ask all of your questions and that you fully understand the potential complications and how long your recovery is going to take.
- Have realistic expectations; plastic surgery is about making improvements – not about achieving perfection.
Originally posted as ‘Ipswich folk think plastic is fantastic’ in the Queensland Times Newspaper.