Elective & Cosmetic Procedures

Elective and cosmetic procedures comprise a $10 billion industry in the United States. Procedures deemed “minimally invasive” are increasingly popular, and new strategies for everything from minimizing hair loss to diagnosing and treating certain medical conditions, such as infertility, are gaining ground. 

But with more elective and cosmetic options available today, how do you separate effective solutions from the promises of slick marketing campaigns? Some of Madison’s best-known established local practitioners have some advice. 

Fillers vs. Facelifts

Next to Botox, fillers are the most popular cosmetic treatment provided in medical clinics today—and with good reason. Minimally invasive and relatively affordable, injectable fillers such as Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse and Sculptra can seemingly  melt years from the face. But don’t go overboard. If you’ve ever seen a picture of a Hollywood star who has had “too much work” done, chances are the culprit is not traditional plastic surgery but simply an overuse of fillers.

“It’s popular because it works consistently and well, especially in the nasal labial groove and the bottom corners of the mouth,” says Dr. Richard Parfitt of Parfitt Facial Cosmetic Surgery Center & AestheticA Skin Health Center, who offers both non-surgical and surgical options. “The problem is when people think if a little bit is good, a lot must be better.”

Parfitt says overuse of fillers, especially in the cheeks and jowl area, can lead to a distorted, unnatural look. In addition, patients who worry too much about what they consider specific “problem” areas may lose track of the bigger picture of their appearance. The experts advise asking a brutally honest friend to keep an eye on your overall look, and working with a practitioner who offers more than just non-surgical options. “If it’s done right, nothing looks more natural than surgery,” says Parfitt. “At least wrinkles are natural. Eliminating them isn’t worth the tradeoff of unnatural distortion caused by too much volume.”

Laser Liposuction

For those who have pockets of stubborn fat that won’t respond to diet and exercise, liposuction—in which a tube is inserted via incision, and fat cells are vacuumed out—has long been an effective option for healthy candidates. In recent years a host of less-invasive liposuction options have been introduced to the market, including laser liposuction. Sometimes called Smart Lipo, Slim Lipo, or Cool Lipo, these modalities work by delivering energy via laser to liquefy fat cells through the skin, which are then naturally absorbed by the body. They also have a tightening effect on excess skin, which sometimes eliminates the need for further skin excision, tucks or lifts. As always, though, buyers should beware.

“There’s a lot of selective consumer advertising going on that sometimes misses the point,” says Jacob Gerzenshtein, MD, of Madison Plastic Surgery Associates, a double-board certified, fellowship-trained plastic surgeon known as “Dr. G” to his patients. “Ultimately, it depends on who’s doing the lipo and not so much on what they’re using to do it.”

Gerzenshtein safely performs most types of liposuction, but warns that only a small segment of the population can actually get complete results from laser lipo; it’s most effective on certain people in certain areas of their bodies, which can only be determined on an individual basis via consultation with an experienced professional. For some people, laser lipo may still need to be supplemented with traditional lipo, skin excision, or both.

Healthy Hair

Once considered the exclusive territory of aging men with receding hair lines, the hair loss solution industry is evolving. Half of the male population over age 25 experience some visible thinning, but so do 21 million women. At Capilia Madison, formerly known as the Winner’s Circle Hair Restoration, certified trichologist Dan Brummel has nearly two decades of experience in consulting and making recommendations for male and female hair loss—including eczema, psoriasis, alopecia, shedding, hair loss after pregnancy, and hair loss from the effects of chemotherapy and radiation. 

“There’s a shift in hair and scalp care today, including an all-natural approach,” says Brummel. “You can’t have healthy hair without a healthy scalp.”

At Capilia Madison, Brummel uses a micro-camera and sophisticated analyzing software to help customize preventative hair loss solutions, including a wide range of options, from cleansing, purifying and growth-stimulating scalp treatments and laser hair therapy to the Comfort wig boutique and other non-surgical hair replacement options. 

“This isn’t just giving someone a certain style or changing their look, this changes lives,” says Brummel. “We’re very excited to bring the first Capilia in the U.S. to the Madison area.”

Elective Fertility Options

Wisconsin Fertility offers a complete array of elective procedures designed to diagnose and treat infertility, from very simple procedures to complex, state-of-the-art interventions.

“The Internet is littered with infertility diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, most of which are fabulous money-makers but do little to aid reproduction,” says David Olive, M.D., of Wisconsin Fertility Institute. Olive is board-certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. “We offer only those procedures proven to be of value to those in need of our services, and provide them with maximal skill at the lowest cost possible,” he says.

Many people are unaware of the vast array of services available to help with fertility or gynecologic issues. Diagnostic tests, computerized semen analysis, and sonohysterogram and hysteroscopy to evaluate Fallopian tube and uterus anatomy are just some of the tools available to determine what, if anything, might be hindering fertility. Treatment procedures include artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, surgery, new medications and third-party reproduction (sperm and egg donation or surrogacy). All of these options are more affordable than people might realize; the important thing, say experts, is that practitioners thoroughly evaluate each patient individually to customize the appropriate plan.

“A fertility specialist’s job is to sort through these techniques, determine which are of value, and convey this information to the patient,” says Olive.

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