Less invasive procedures equate to less trauma and strain during recovery, which equates to faster healing, minimal downtime, and more natural-looking results.
In recent years, there has been a noticeable shift in the field of aesthetics, as more patients opt for minimally invasive treatments instead of surgical methods to rejuvenate and uplift appearances. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) observed a decrease in facelifts and increase in injectable facial rejuvenation procedures from 2017 to 2020 .
Minimally invasive procedures are now becoming the standard approach in medical aesthetics, as patients not only desire physical improvement but also want to prioritise their health, enhance their psychological well-being, and increase their overall comfort when undergoing these procedures.
Dr Koh Kai Yee and Dr Tan Yee Chiun from Klinik De Era, share their insights on similar trends in the Malaysian aesthetic market.
1. Technological advancements
Dr Koh Kai Yee, Medical Director of Klinik De Era, based in Ipoh, says that one of the primary reasons behind the shift toward minimally invasive treatments, are the recent innovations in the aesthetic industry that have enabled many non-surgical treatments to deliver results that were often only achievable through surgery in the past.
“Compared to 10 or 15 years ago where effective facial rejuvenations could only be attained by going under the knife, we now have many types of minimally-invasive treatments in the market such as fillers, botulinum toxin injections, threadlifts, and collagen biostimulators that when used either individually or in combination can lift, tighten, and augment the skin without the patient having to undergo surgery,” says Dr Koh.
While cosmetic surgery can produce dramatic transformations after a single procedure, most younger patients in their 20s to 50s prioritize subtle enhancements to their appearance, rather than major alterations.
“We have noticed that a growing number of patients are seeking minimally invasive treatments that offer a refreshed and rejuvenated appearance, while preserving their unique features or characteristics, rather than undergoing a drastic cosmetic procedure that makes them look ‘done’,” shares Dr Koh.
“Often, these involve collagen biostimulators like GOURI, which does not change or augment the natural contours or animations of the face, but instead restores the skin’s natural collagen levels so it appears lifted, firmer, smoother, and more radiant from within (3). GOURI is the first and only liquid polycaprolactone (PCL) collagen stimulator which rejuvenates the face without the use of microparticles, so patients can expect it be less painful and result in fewer risks than other collagen biostimulators available,” adds Dr Tan, resident physician at Klinik De Era in Penang.
Many patients also opt for minimally invasive treatments over surgery because the latter involves prolonged downtime, which many patients cannot afford especially if they are employed and have to attend to the needs of their families.
According to Dr Tan, “The Malaysian aesthetic market primarily consists of working professionals aged 20 to 60. Most individuals in this demographic prefer minimally invasive alternatives, as these enable the patients to quickly return to their regular routines within two to five days, unlike full-blown surgeries that may require up to six weeks of downtime. It’s quite common for patients to come in during lunch hour for a quick pick-me-up, complete their treatment within the hour, and return to the office without missing a beat.”
There is also less risk of potential side-effects and complications with less invasive procedures.
“Non-surgical procedures do not result in some of the more severe side-effects or complications associated with surgery such as nerve or tissue damage, hematoma, hair loss near incision sites, as well as swelling and bruising which can last up to six weeks. While there can be some bruising and swelling after an injectable treatment, for example, these usually subside within two to five days.”
Minimally invasive treatments are also exponentially cheaper than surgery. In Malaysia, surgical facelifts, for example, can cost between RM20,000 to RM30,000, depending on the complexity of the procedure and type of medical facility the patient chooses to undergo the procedure.
“Minimally invasive procedures are quick outpatient procedures that do not involve surgeon’s fees, in-patient hospital admission or general anesthesia. While the results may not be as drastic or pronounced as with surgery, these procedures still offer visible results over time, at a fraction of the cost, and are accessible to a broader demographic,” says Dr Koh.
At the same time, she cautions patients against opting for treatments simply based on price alone, as there are other factors involved, including the authenticity and safety of the product.
“To enjoy a safe and comfortable experience, it’s also important to ensure you are receiving a certified, authentic treatment or product. In the case of GOURI for example, you can check the packaging for holographic authenticity sticker and scan the QR code displayed to ensure the product is indeed authentic.”
Visit a qualified aesthetic doctor
Minimally invasive treatments are still medical procedures and can carry risks such as skin necrosis and blindness when not performed correctly by medical professionals (5). Dr Koh and Dr Tan advise patients to visit doctors who are registered under the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) with a valid annual practice certificate. Practicing aesthetic doctors in Malaysia must also possesses a Letter of Credentialing and Privileging (LCP), as only certified physicians are trained to perform cosmetic treatments and manage potential complications should these arise.