by Cathy Martin
Let’s face it, Charlotteans are mildly obsessed with looking their best — from fitness to skin care to style. The good news for women (and men) who might be considering a cosmetic procedure: Recent technological advances have made the processes smoother and outcomes more predictable. In addition, the number of effective nonsurgical, or minimally invasive, procedures has grown.
Stephan Finical joined Charlotte Plastic Surgery in 2001 after four years at the Mayo Clinic when he and his wife, Maryallys, decided Charlotte was a more family-friendly place to raise their two children. It helped that the city’s oldest plastic surgery practice — the second-oldest in the U.S. — had an established national reputation, Finical says.
“Because we’ve got long tails, we don’t just jump on the latest fad,” he says. “We want things that work. We want to offer our patients the newest and the cutting-edge, but only if it’s efficacious and worth their while.”
We spoke with Finical about the latest trends in cosmetic surgery, and what to consider if you’re thinking about having a procedure done for the first time.
Comments were edited for brevity and clarity.
If someone is new to cosmetic surgery, what should he or she look for in a provider?
First and foremost, education and training and board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. For plastic surgery, there’s a written examination and an oral examination. It really is rigorous.
How has the practice changed over the last decade?
I looked at our numbers from 10 years ago, and 80% of our overall revenue came from surgery and 20% was everything else — injectables, all of our skin care lines, lasers, those kind of things. … This year it’s 65/35. It’s expanding our base of patients. We still do as much surgery as we ever did — actually, it’s increased.
What are some popular products and procedures?
The Profound has become really popular. It is a microneedling … that causes us to produce more collagen, so it thickens and tightens the skin. It actually has been shown to increase elastin, which is really the key. Elastin is what makes the skin stretchy.
A little over 10 years ago, some science came out that showed that topicals — skin creams and things like that — actually had some science behind them and showed improvement. Those things have really broadened our base.
We’ve separated out our skin center. We have nurses that only do injectables — Botox and fillers. In the last five years, the better and longer-lasting cheek fillers have come out. When we first got collagen, it only lasted three months. Today, the more modern lip injections last for a year. We’ve got some cheek injections that last two years.
How does the Vectra imaging system work?
The Vectra is great for breast augmentation because it allows people to presize. It takes a 3-D image of a person, and through computer software you can put different implants into a person. It makes [the process] a little more analytical.
Are there ever situations when you refuse to perform a procedure on a patient?
Yes, there are a couple of reasons: Either [we] don’t have the skill set to take care of what they are interested in, or it’s because people have an unrealistic expectation of what they’re going to get out of it. If somebody comes in and says, “I want to have this procedure done because I want to get a promotion,” that’s the wrong motivator.