I was one of the first who started using the new modern techniques in 1986. In those days, we used to do it under general anesthesia; now it’s done under local anesthesia—people walk in for the procedure and walk out after. It’s a totally different world. Lasers help us do much finer tuning than we could ever do before using ultrasound technology, so the area isn’t as traumatized by the procedure. It really is a much kinder, gentler procedure.
Liposuction is the most common patient request. The most common area we do is the abdominal planks. Men, for example, get their neck and breast area done. In the old days, when I started doing it, it was one man for about every 100 women; now it’s one man for every 10 women. There’s a higher acceptance of people getting liposuction done today. It’s not for weight loss, but for people to fit in their clothes better and be more comfortable in their skin and more confident.
Cosmetic surgery does not have the stigma that it used to. People’s conception about things really is different than it used to be. It all started with Botox. Fillers and Botox can be done with very little trauma and very, very good results. You look good instantly and stay looking good for months, if not years. It really becomes a lifestyle choice. People are more willing to accept that change is inevitable, but they really want to look and feel their best.
I have my own radio show, and interview people from around the world on the best and newest cosmetic procedures and tools. That’s where I learn about some of latest things. It not only keeps me at the forefront—it keeps clients who listen at the forefront. Every year, our practice gets reinvented with newer, better things. Last year, we introduced probably five new major technologies not available five years ago.
By the Numbers
Percentage of overall work that involves cosmetic surgery
Weekly downloads of Dr. Lycka’s program, Inside Cosmetic Surgery Today, on WebTalkRadio.net
Percentage of overall work that involves reconstructive/cancer-related surgery
Number of annual patients
Everybody recognized Michael Jackson’s nose was a problem. This was a person who didn’t like his nose and wanted a better nose—but it becomes like walking a tightrope. You take one step too far and it becomes a worse thing. Most people realize the time to quit. In the few drastic Hollywood star cases I’ve seen, I’d say they probably had gone to people who were not considered to be authorities or the best at that procedure. You have to be very careful when you choose a doctor. Cheap is not always better. There are people out there with various degrees of training. I’ve dedicated my life to cosmetic surgery, to help people look and feel better. It’s a passion and a devotion, and that’s different than people who just dabble in it.
The biggest thing that’s come out of cosmetic surgery is that we really make people’s lives change. We treat a lot of cancer patients and patients with disfigurement from accidents. A person who had been badly mauled by a dog when he was a child once came up to me and said, “Dr. Lycka, you took my scars away, and I couldn’t imagine living with those scars. I’m so happy with what you’ve done.” I’m doing the same thing now for a burn victim because there are new lasers that can make terrible scars look much, much better—and help them be able to function better. Some of these lasers can now take care of scars that go over joints, which caused people to not be able to move the joints. That’s the power of modern cosmetic surgery.