The 11 Most Over Rated Cosmetic Procedure of 2013 According to Allure Magazine....Dr. Persky's Thoughts


The recent issue of Allure Magazine discusses the 11 most overrated cosmetic procedures. As the title would indicate, we don’t perform most of these procedures, we perform some of these, but definitely have our opinions on all of them. So here we go:


1. Foot Lifts…this can vary from surgical intervention to make feet fit better into pointy shoes, shortening of a long second toe, and even lipo for a little toe that is too fat! The treatment that we are most asked about is the injection of hyaluronic acid to add padding to the balls of the feet (dubbed the “Loub job,” after Christian Louboutin). We do not perform any of these procedures, the risks and complications are not worth the small benefits of the treatments.

2. The “Vampire Lift”…involves drawing blood from a patient and then re-injecting plasma (the yellow fluid) from the blood into wrinkles around the eyes and lips. The problem with the procedure is that it has not proven to be effective, does not last, is not FDA approved, and adds about $1,000 to your filler injection bill. Kim Kardashian had a variant of this when she had her own plasma applied to her face after having had a dermapen treatment (it makes small pin pricks into the skin). We are not fans of the Vampire Lift.


3. Smart Lipo…is effective when performed properly. It uses a laser fiber to assist in liposuction of the body. There is an increased risk of skin burns and scars with the treatment. It is one of the best treatments that I have seen for loose upper arms in women. We do not perform body liposuction, and have found that standard liposuction of the neck is as effective without the risks and complications.

4. Stem Cell Facelift… is quite the rage, most surgeons believe it is more hype than substance. Almost immediately, surgeons began to claim—with no proof—that the stem cells in fat improved skin quality and  calling fat injections a stem-cell face-lift, says Rod J. Rohrich, MD chair of plastic surgery at the University of Texas, Southwestern, in Dallas, and the coauthor of a recent paper on the subject. But the idea that fat injections could replace a traditional face-lift is “high on marketing and short on science,” Rohrich says. “Stem cells have great promise, but there is so much conjecture.” We have believed that the stem cells present in fat transfer procedures are responsible for some of the incredible improvement of the overlying skin, but doubt the added benefit of concentrated these stem cells and calling it a stem cell lift.


5. Artefill and Sculptra for Lips…should never be used. Lip tissue is delicate, Artefill is a permanent mixture of Plexiglas-­like beads and cow collagen, is approved only for filling smile lines. We do not use Artefill. Sculptra is a wonderful facial volume rejuvenation treatment, but should not be used close to or in the lips.

6. Silicone Cheek Implants…The news for women who want to add volume to their cheeks is good: Facial fillers have all but replaced the silicone implants that were standard in the ’90s. I am not a big fan of permanent cheek implants as they remain static as the face changes over time, often causing a “funny looking” result (see Barry Manilow, Dionne Warwick, etc.). I much prefer using injectable fillers such as Sculptra and Radiesse to augment cheeks.


7. Ulthera…is one of our favorite and most popular and effective procedures. The reason that Ulthera made this list is because so many practitioners are unable to control the discomfort of the procedure for their patients. We have by the judicious and strategic use of local anesthesia. After more than 250,000 worldwide treatments over the past 3 years, Ulthera remains the best non-surgical lifting and tightening tool for the face, neck, and eyebrows at our disposal!

8. Fat Injections for Breast Augmentation…There’s a good reason “fat injection” is the latest catchphrase in cosmetic breast augmentation. The results look good and feel natural, and unlike a scalpel, the needles leave no scars. But there are often downsides. Multiple procedures may be necessary and, with few exceptions, provide, at most, a one-cup-size enlargement. A study by Mihye Choi, an assistant professor of plastic surgery at NYU School of Medicine, found that half the volume created by shots of fat disappears into the body within months. More worrisome, there is concern that, years later, stem cells in the fat might stimulate cancer. We limit our treatments to the face. 


9. Brachioplasty…is surgical treatment of the upper arms. The problem is that no one likes the scars that result, defeating the goal of the treatment, being able to again wear sleeveless clothes.

10. Butt Implants are being replaced by fat transfer due to the lack of a natural pocket and the high complication and re-operation rate.


11. Zerona Fat Melting Laser…only melts your hard earned dollars from you wallet. The super market bar code reading laser cannot penetrate through the skin to cause the effects that are claimed by the company. The studies only measure patients results for two weeks after the treatment, and patients must take a dietary supplement, Curva to get the “results”. Zerona truly deserves to be on this list, probably at the top.

We are constantly evaluating new techniques, products, devices, and procedures. Unfortunately in the “business ” of aesthetics it is often difficult to distinguish the hype from what’s real. Other than Ulthera and SmartLipo, the Allure article has successfully done that for the public.  Be well!

Article by
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon