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Prime holiday party season is upon us, and there’s so much to get done before then. There’s RSVPs to respond to, cocktail dresses to pick out, hostess gifts to buy… and appointments to book at the plastic surgeon?
That’s what some partygoers are planning: more people are choosing to book cosmetic procedures around the holidays, according to anecdotal surveys from cosmetic surgery resource RealSelf’s community of board-certified experts. That includes everything from Botox injections to more invasive surgical procedures like breast augmentations, facelifts or rhinoplasty.
“This is definitely my busy time,” says Dr. Dara Liotta, M.D., a double board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon at NYC’s City Aesthetics at Totum Health. “It’s really the non-surgical stuff that's huge. The non-invasive, or the minimally invasive stuff because that gives people enough time to be totally healed for the party season.”
So besides Botox, patients are also turning to cheek fillers and all sorts of other injectables before hitting the party circuit. “Under the eye is also really big, because for selfies with overhead lighting and holiday parties, the undereye really gets those dark circles accentuated, so that's a big one,” Liotta says. “Then my other really popular one, especially in the last year or so, has been injection rhinoplasties. That's also a huge one for pictures during holiday parties.”
Call it a not-quite-nose-job: with a liquid rhinoplasty, Liotta can straighten out the appearance of a nose bump in profile by injecting a little bit of filler above and below the bump.
“You can minimally inject around the tip and do some other things too, but you can't make the nose smaller with injections,” she says. “But you can make the light hit your nose in a more flattering way. If you think about when you contour makeup and you put that line of light down your nose when you're looking straight at your face. Putting filler in that same spot definitely gives you permanent contour makeup because the light will hit you in that spot all the way down. It's very subtle.”
Liotta always uses hyaluronic acid filler, which lasts from one to two years and can be easily dissolved if you end up not liking it. She also says that since she uses cannulas to inject instead of needles, many patients see little bruising or swelling and could conceivably head to a holiday party ASAP. “If you're not a person who gets a bruise, you have zero downtime. You could literally go to dinner that night,” she says.
But it’s not just non-invasive procedures that are on the upswing during the holiday season. “For surgery, people are booking directly before the holidays. I am psychotically booked the two days before Thanksgiving and the two days before Christmas,” Dr. Liotta told The Lookbook.
Makes sense. If you can somehow manage to get out of all holiday obligations with family and friends, Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve could be the perfect chance to lay low and recover from cosmetic surgeries — no questions asked. “It seems like people are trying to take advantage of their office being slow or most people being out anyway for recovery. I'm chalking it up to ‘Forget the holiday this year,’” Dr. Liotta says.
Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Heather Furnas, MD of Plastic Surgery Associates of Santa Rosa has also noticed an uptick in bookings during the holiday season over the past few years. “I think there are a couple of reasons,” she says, noting that recovery time for plastic surgery is faster than ever nowadays. “One is people get time off during the holidays and that tends to be a time that people have to recover. I think particularly come the New Year, people are looking at their goals, and sometimes they will look at booking to give themselves a boost and a new track on life.”
Since the holidays are often peak season for cosmetic treatments, Dr. Liotta has three words of advice for anyone thinking about booking a procedure: Beware the Groupon.
“It is a time when a lot of places are hiring new people, trying to train new people and putting out specials for non-MDs injecting,” she says. “I think that you have to be careful and go to someone who is well-trained. My own personal bias is to go to someone who is an MD, board-certified in facial plastics like I am — plastic surgery or dermatology.”
Because if there’s anything in this world you shouldn’t take a risk on, cosmetic procedures have got to be it. “If you're choosing your surgeon by low cost, that can actually be the most expensive procedure that you've ever paid for,” Dr. Furnas says. “It's actually a lot more difficult and expensive to revise something that's been badly done and not everything can be revised.”
That’s a good PSA. It’s not just people booking procedures for themselves around the holidays — plastic surgeons also see loved ones gifting their family members procedures. Dr. Liotta says she’s noticed daughters paying for their mothers cosmetic procedures as gifts.
“Now that a lot of the stigma for these plastic surgery procedures is going away because maybe social media and because people are more open about it, the daughters who are in their mid-thirties, early-forties are saying, 'Wow, I've been doing this and I feel so good, I want to give back to my mom. It's time for her,” she says. “And then, of course there's husbands for their wives. Plastic surgery is the new diamond, I guess."
Although perhaps it is best to tread carefully before giving plastic surgery as a gift. Dr. Furnas says it’s important to let a patient choose their own surgeon and to never suggest a procedure that your loved one has never mentioned.
“It could be the husband, knowing that the wife has wanted a procedure for years and then this is going to be a surprise. That's really the best situation, when the present comes from the heart and it's something that pleases the person, that the person's been wanting to have — a facelift or tummy tuck. It's truly a gift,” she says. “If a patient is doing it for someone else, ultimately that leads to a lot of distress and dissatisfaction. The ultimate goal of aesthetic surgery is a satisfied patient, somebody who is happy, somebody who has been distracted by something, whether it's a belly after childbirth or droopy eyelid skin. A procedure can really give that patient a boost of self confidence.”