Our experts review the most popular cosmetic procedures
By Marieve Inoue
Time may bestow wisdom, but it also leaves signs of its passing, and while society is moving towards a more inclusive definition of beauty, some of those signs may be unwelcome. Fortunately, cosmetic treatments are also evolving. As a result, you have options—embrace the changes in your body, explore non-invasive treatments, or even take the plunge and have surgery.
Cosmetic procedures are less taboo than ever, says Dr. Karl Schwarz, a plastic surgeon and the founder of Clinique K in Montreal. “People talk about them more on social media and among themselves; there’s been a cultural shift.” This evolution may explain the increasing popularity of both surgeries and non-invasive treatments such as injections.
Not all procedures are created equal. “There’s a difference between what’s popular and what’s most effective,” says Dr. Nabil Fanous, a cosmetic surgeon and the president of the Canadian Institute of Cosmetic Surgery. While injectables are very sought-after, he says, they aren’t the best strategy on their own. Here are our two experts’ recommendations.
If your goal is more luminous skin, Fanous suggests a chemical peel or fractional laser treatment. “The peel uses acid, while the laser uses a light beam to damage the surface of the skin, forcing it to repair itself,” he explains. He likens a face peel to giving a wall a fresh coat of paint and the laser to sanding the surface before repainting it.
Every doctor or aesthetician has his or her own approach, with the recovery period depending on the technique. Fanous estimates three to four days of recovery after a peel and about 10 days for a laser treatment. As techniques and intensity can vary greatly, so does the cost; you can expect to pay between $300 and $3,000 for a peel and from $700 to $7,000 for a laser treatment.
Refresh Your Gaze
Eyelid surgery, injections, or a forehead lift can help open up your eye area. The most popular technique is cosmetic eyelid surgery, or “blepharoplasty,” Schwarz says, adding that a good number of men are choosing to undergo it. During the procedure, “excess skin is removed to refresh the eye area.” The procedure is often combined with muscle relaxant injections to treat crow’s feet and the “lion’s wrinkle” between the eyes.
Fanous recommends a mini forehead lift, which he performs using three small incisions in the scalp. He usually prioritizes this procedure over eyelid surgery to “bring the eyebrows up by a few millimetres.”
Recovering from eye or forehead surgery can take 10 to 14 days, although fully healing from any surgery can take a few months. The results of a blepharoplasty are usually permanent, with touch-ups rarely necessary until 10 to 15 years after the procedure. Expect to pay around $5,000 for upper-eyelid surgery and $7,000 to $11,000 for a forehead lift.
Tighten Your Face and Neck
A lack of definition in the jawline and excess skin on the neck can be corrected with a facelift. “Incisions are made in the front and back of the ears,” Schwarz says. “The skin of the face and neck is lifted, the muscles underneath are tightened, and the skin is pulled up over them.”
Both practitioners favour an approach that yields natural results, even if it means those results are less apparent. “The goal is to refresh your appearance—not necessarily look 20 or 30 years younger,” Schwarz says.
Recovery following a facelift can take three to four weeks, with visible swelling and bruising. The costs can be as much as $15,000 or $20,000, and the surgery will need to be repeated 10 to 15 years later.
Consider Breast Augmentation
Popular with women who notice a lack of volume and tone after menopause, a breast lift can be done with or without an implant. During the procedure, the nipple is moved, excess skin is removed, and the breast is lifted. “If there’s a history of breast cancer in the family, I send the patient to see a specialist and get clearance first,” Schwarz says. Although the surgery does leave scars, it can really help improve the shape of the breast.
For a breast lift without an implant, recovery takes four or five days, whereas it can take 10 days if you add an implant. You’ll have to wait four (without an implant) to eight (with an implant) weeks to resume any sports. As with a facelift, the lifespan of a breast lift is 10 to 15 years. The price is $9,000 to $15,000, depending on the procedure.
With time, you may notice a loss of volume in certain areas of your face, such as “around the eyes and below the jaw,” Fanous says. For this, hyaluronic acid injections are recommended. According to Fanous, there are close to a hundred different types of fillers that can help add volume or fill in wrinkles.
Injections should be redone every five or six months, and recovery takes only a day or two. Prices vary from $400 to $800, depending on the type and quantity of product used.
Remodel Your Body
If you want to get rid of fat deposits on your body, liposuction can target your stomach, love handles, inner thighs, knees, and outer thighs—these are the most popular areas, according to Schwarz. Men often opt to do their tummy and love handles. “After making small incisions, metal cannulas are used to suction and remove fat cells,” Schwarz says.
Recovery is about four or five days, but you’ll have to avoid working out for two weeks. Provided you maintain your weight, the results are permanent. Prices vary depending on the location and the number of areas you want to treat. For example, you could pay $4,000 to $8,000 for your stomach, with most surgeons offering a discount for additional zones.
Rejuvenate Your Hands
Fanous suggests a twofold approach for making your hands appear more youthful, which starts with a filler injection. “When your hands lose their volume, veins are more visible and wrinkles are more apparent,” he says. A single injection in each hand once a year can be a tremendous help. A light chemical peel can then help with any hyperpigmentation.
Injections can cost $700 to $900 per hand, and it takes one or two days for bruises to fade.
Why Some Patients Are Turned Away?
Schwarz says he declines to operate on several patients every year, the main reason being that they are unsure whether they’re ready for the change. “The patient’s expectations must be aligned with what I can deliver in the operating room,” he says. The key to a successful intervention, he says, is an honest surgeon and a patient who is confident in their decision.
How to Choose a Surgeon?
In addition to selecting a plastic surgeon certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, our experts recommend turning to your friends and acquaintances for recommendations and then visiting two or three clinics before making a final decision.
Image: Marc-Antoine Charlebois; makeup: Jean-François CD; hair: Sophie Manzerolle; model: Christiane A.; artistic direction: Marie-Michèle Leduc and Jean-François CD.