Rolling back the years: the costs and benefits of cosmetic surgery
Having 'work done' is now commonplace but how much can you expect to pay and what do you get for your money?
When Amanda Brunker appeared on The Late Late Show to get Botox administered live on air, the reaction was akin to if it was brain surgery. "Men were horrified! Most of the female population were lovely. I'm still stopped in the street by women asking me for details. I genuinely can't understand the fuss men made. That must be why so few women admit to having cosmetic procedures done," the model and author told me this week.
She's right that it has become just another consumer product. Clinics abound in every town, some with waiting lists for weeks, but yet it still seems we can't really talk about it, never mind admit to 'getting something done'.
"Injectables, like dermal filler, are one of the most commonly carried out treatments at our clinic," says Fiona Dunning, marketing manager with River Medical, Dublin. "For surgical, breast augmentation or reduction along with liposuction and tummy tucks would be most popular." There are a whole range of non-surgical treatments that people tend to start with, from chemical peels to fillers or Cool Sculpt, which freezes fat cells at very low temperature to kill them (it's reportedly not sore, but uncomfortable, and over six to eight weeks the fat cells are eliminated).
You can expect to pay €200-€350 for a single vial of administered Botox - enough for mild line smoothing. Westport-based Allergan manufactures the entire world supply of the product but stresses less than half goes toward aesthetic treatment; most is used for medical conditions like MS and spinal cord conditions but there is no doubt that millions benefit from its smoothing qualities.
Kambiz Golchin is on Allergan's board and is also the facial plastic surgeon and owner of Beacon Face and Dermatology, Sandyford. "Filler techniques have come a long way. My latest treatment, the 'Knightsbridge Lift' involves advanced use of Botox and Ultherapy to give a soft, natural lift with visible results from day one," he says.
"'Emotional Botox' provides patients with positive facial emotions while eliminating the negative ones associated with it." He means the frozen, startled look is a thing of the past.
When it comes to men, they're lining up in droves.
"We do surgical correction of nose and ears from sports injuries. Those in their mid to late twenties are having cosmetic procedures to improve their confidence," says Golchin. At River Medical, Dunning agrees. "Men are cottoning on to the fact they can keep ageing at bay. We are seeing more of them having Botox and filler; subtlety is key."
Breast augmentation is still one of the most popular procedures for women. But the thought of general anaesthetic and silicone implants, which have received bad press in recent years, can be a real turn off.
Dr Peter Prendergast, medical director of Venus Medical is pioneering a new, less invasive version in a two-for-one procedure, which uses the patient's own fat cells to create extra volume - about one cup size.
"Using fat for volume enhancement is revolutionary. It is totally natural, done under local anaesthetic and is not painful. The woman can go home afterwards with minimal side effects. It's popular for after childbirth for women who don't want that rounded, obvious look, but just want volume restored."
The cost is around €7,000-€8,000 compared to breast implant surgery (€6,000), with separate liposculpture another €2,000 -€3,000. The procedure involves sucking out fat from thighs or abdomen and injecting it around the glandular tissue in tiny drops. Aftercare involves massage, lymph drainage and painkillers.