As the new decade begins to unfold, we asked leading cosmetic surgeons Mr Alex Karidis and Mr Mark Ho-Asjoe from the Karidis Clinic to share their predictions for the tweakments and trends set to take 2020 by storm.
With the social media backlash around overfilled lips signalling the demise of the ‘duck face’, Mr Karidis is looking at new ways to achieve natural results. If you’re assuming that lip fillers are the only way to add volume to your lips, you’re overlooking an alternative, he says. The Lip Lift technique has similar benefits to hyaluronic acid-based lip filler, without the need for return visits to refill every few months.
“A risk of using dermal fillers and particularly putting too much in, is that you’re left looking very overblown. This could also cause the lips to become overly stretched or result in a build-up of scarring on the inside, so the tissue becomes very stiff and rigid and no longer moves naturally. It just looks wrong. The lips will project outwards and it looks unnatural, like a duck bill,” says Mr Karidis.
“Lip lifts involve a cosmetic surgeon removing tissue from beneath your nose. The scar is hidden right underneath the nose, in a squiggly line almost shaped like a bullhorn, but it’s hidden in the shadow underneath your nose. This gives a more natural lift to the upper lip without over filing.”
We live in a fast-paced world and people want to see results just as quickly. While surgery should never be trivialised, techniques and technologies have evolved and having a cosmetic procedure no longer means significant downtime or recovery. Certain procedures, such as eyelid lifts (blepharoplasty) can now be performed in as little as half an hour on a walk-in, walk-out basis. And the Karidis Clinic is seeing more and more women enquiring about surgeries like these.
“We have to be careful not to trivialise any surgical procedure, but blepharoplasty is a quick, not very complex procedure that can produce great results,” explains Mr Karidis. “With an experienced surgeon, it can be done very successfully, very speedily. Patients can leave hospital the same day and the recovery is relatively quick. For most patients, the scarring is small and well-hidden and the skin on the eyelids is very thin so typically heals well.”
Mr Karidis is renowned for his award-winning and unique stitching techniques which have led to a 170% in-clinic increase in procedures such as male breast reduction, or ‘moob-jobs’ in the last three years and a decrease in the recovery time after tummy tuck operations to just 10 days.
Mr Karidis likens it to being a master tailor, such as those on Saville Row. He says, “Plastic surgeons are tailors and, just like in the clothing industry, you have different standards from haute couture to mass market. In the same way that a Saville Row tailor approaches a suit, so we approach the body and face. You are aligning the fabric that is the skin and muscle in such a way that you are not left with an unwanted pleat or seam. The fabric should always flow and be moulded to look perfectly natural.
“My stitching technique is not just about reducing the risk of complications, it’s also about how it looks. During a tummy tuck, you’re effectively taking skin from the upper abdomen, pulling it down, tightening the muscle and fixing it lower down the abdomen. To get a seamless result, it has to flow with the movement of the body and the body lines.
“My quilting technique for male breast reduction was extrapolated from a facelift technique. You want a flat chest so I stitch the skin to the muscle to close off the empty space. It also helps you to guide the skin where you want it to heal.”
Although PDO threads have been used for tightening the skin of the face for many years, Mr Mark Ho-Asjoe believes that it’s their potential to be used effectively in other areas of the body that is set to be a trend in 2020.
“With the body, skin tightening has been trickier if you don’t want to go down the route of the tummy tuck, thigh lift or arm lift,” he says. “PDO body threads offer another option, especially to target the dreaded bingo wings. Even very slim, toned women will tend to develop loose, sagging skin on the arms as they get older. This is partly due to losing skin elasticity but there’s also a hormonal factor. Men just don’t tend to develop fatty deposits in this area. PDO body threads can improve the appearance of the arms significantly, without scarring, to be an exciting option. This could be a huge market as I don’t think I’ve ever met a female patient over a certain age who’s happy with their arms.”
The image of the grandmother as an old lady with a blue rinse and pearls is long gone, replaced by the ‘Glam Gran’, women who are striding into their senior years looking and feeling vibrant and confident. In line with this, Mr Karidis has seen a rise in the number of women in their 60s having facelift surgery at his London Clinic. In 2017, the average age of a facelift patient was 57 but in 2019 it had risen to 61, with his oldest facelift patient being 79. He says “Seventy is the new 50; people are healthier, active and living longer and there seems to be less guilt about wanting to look good past 60. It’s empowering.”
With increased media coverage and the rise of social media, aesthetics has become truly global. However, where we once looked to America for innovations, it is now countries in the East that are leading the way in terms of trend-setting procedures, particularly in the non-surgical aesthetic field.
Mr Ho-Asjoe says, “There is a very different culture in countries like Korea, for example, where there’s no shame about having had plastic surgery. Any of the top 500 Korean film and TV stars are very open about the aesthetic work they’ve had done. We’ve already seen this influence in the rising popularity of certain treatments here. Facial slimming, achieved with botulinum toxin injected into the masseter (jaw) muscle, dermal fillers into the chin or PDO threads to reshape the lower face, are all becoming very popular in the West, but I’ve been performing treatments like these for years on Oriental patients that have a wider jawline and desire more of a V-shape. Now, we are seeing patients in the UK that want the same procedures to produce a slimmer, more youthful and tauter jawline. We are slow to adapt to new ideas in the UK, which is not a bad thing in terms of safety and testing the efficacy of new procedures, but it does make it very difficult to be a world leader if you’re not innovating.”