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Summary: Are non surgical procedures competing with surgery? Or is something a little more complicated going on? If you’re at all familiar with this website, you know we tend to favor complicated answer to things (the world is a complex place). How, then, do surgical and non surgical procedure interact, and when should you choose one technique over another? Those are all very good questions.

Are Non Surgical Procedures Competing With Surgery Right Now?

Non surgical procedures have become more and more popular in recent years. But are non surgical procedures competing with surgery? Are they that effective or that popular? It’s a good question, because we wouldn’t necessarily expect that they’d be all that effective. It’s all supposed to be different strokes for different folks, right?

In other words, one might assume that surgical and non surgical procedures should be competing in different niches. But that hasn’t always been the case lately. In fact, there are some procedures that seem like they’re directly competing with a plastic surgery counterpart.

Whether that’s intention or not–and whether patients see it that way too–is a little up in the air. I suppose the answer to the question is this: non surgical procedures do compete with surgical ones, but only to a degree. That might sound a little like a cop out (it’s not intentionally meant to be one), but that’s only because the answer to this question can get both a little complicated and a little, well, sensitive–understandably.

Where Are Cosmetic Procedures Competing With Surgery?

So, there are a couple of cosmetic surgery procedures that we can safely make an assumption are–at least a little–competing with their surgical counterparts. And these are the procedures that bill themselves as a “non surgical” version of a surgical procedure. Common examples include procedures such as a “non surgical facelift” or “non surgical nose job.”

Now, the degree to which a non surgical nose job, for example, competes with a surgical nose job has changed in recent years. That’s because non invasive techniques have become much more successful and potent.

A good example of this can be seen with Kybella and Coolsculpting. These are two non surgical body contouring procedures that either didn’t exist years ago (as was the case with Kybella) or wasn’t nearly as effective (as was the case with Coolsculpting). Now that these two non invasive techniques have become both effective and popular, it’s easy to see patients electing to undergo a Kybella injection instead of a liposuction procedure.

Why the Competition Will Never Be True

Even still, it’s not as though the competition is a one-to-one, apples-to-apples competition. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • Effectiveness: There’s just no getting around the fact that surgery is capable of generating bigger and bolder transformations. And, furthermore, there are just some things that surgery can do that non invasive techniques cannot (eliminating excess skin, for example).
  • Longevity: Surgical procedures tend to be rather permanent. Whereas non surgical or non invasive procedures will sometimes rely on temporary provisions (this true with non surgical nose job, for example). That said, there are some non surgical techniques that yield permanent results (non surgical nose job with bellafill, for example, or any formulation of Kybella).
  • Recovery: Most surgical procedures require recovery of some kind. This means time off work, it means taking care of yourself. Many non invasive procedures, on the other hand, let patients get back to their daily routines almost immediately.
  • Cost: There are significant cost differences between surgical and non surgical procedures. In part, this can be chalked up to differences in anesthesia (most non invasive procedures do not require anesthesia). But that’s not the only source of cost differentials.

There are going to be some cases in which a non surgical procedure is going to be the clear winner. And then there are going to be cases in which a surgical procedure will be the obvious choice. The reason why surgical and non surgical procedures are not in direct competition is because there are very few instances in which either procedure type will yield similar results for the patient.

Which One Should You Choose?

In other words, your circumstances combined with your desired final results will usually make it clear whether you should go with a surgical or non surgical procedure. There aren’t going to be all that many circumstances in which you could choose one or the other willy nilly–though it may happen from time to time.

There are benefits and drawbacks to surgical approaches and non surgical approaches alike. As a patient, you will have to make a determination about what approach will work better for your desired final results–whether that’s surgical or non surgical.


About the Author: Dan Voltz has been writing about plastic and cosmetic surgery for over five years. He is constantly in communication with surgeons to get the latest and most up to date information about various procedures.

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