How to Choose a Non-Surgical Aesthetic Treatment: Experts Weigh in on How to Look Hot Without Surgery

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Laser resurfacing, Botox, fillers, ultrasound, radio -frequency, IPL, thread lifts. Whew! And those are just a few of the non-surgical face and body rejuvenation options available. While it’s thrilling to know there is a pantheon of options, it’s also confusing, intimidating, and, ironically, downright discouraging when you don’t know what to choose or where to begin.

People are always amazed at how great they look after these nonsurgical procedures. They are great options for those who want something that is not so invasive, provides results and is more affordable,” Dr. TJ Tsay.

In 2020, Americans spent over $14 billion dollars on aesthetic procedures. The demand for these services is on the rise and shows no signs of slowing down. While many were suspicious of such treatments in the past, experts and consumers alike agree that looking more youthful and healthy increases confidence and self-esteem in every aspect of life.

We secured the expertise of Dr. TJ Tsay of Ageless MD and Dr. Parvaneh Rafaeloff of Le Jolie Medi Spa, two top practitioners in the field of non-surgical aesthetics, to unclog the surfeit of information and de-mystify the surgery vs. non-surgery conundrum that we all face eventually to maintain a youthful facial contour and toned physique.

Are You a Candidate

Provided you have no contraindications, according to Dr. Tsay, non-invasive procedures are best suited to those with mild-to-moderate severity for the area of interest. Surgical options are for moderately severe to severe cases or problem areas for which there are no non-surgical options available, such as a breast lift or reduction. “Most skin pigment and texture issues would fall in the category of non-surgical intervention,” says Dr. Tsay. Other suitable issues include wrinkles and folds, facial lines and depressions, cellulite and fatty deposits, veins, hair loss, skin laxity, and lack of muscle tone. 

Our Doctors’ Top Picks

Clients of Dr. Rafaeloff love Forma for the face and EmsculptNeo for the body. Forma is a non-surgical device using radio frequency and heat to lift, tighten, and sculpt the face. EmsculptNeo uses radio frequency, heat, and HIFEM(high-intensity focused electromagnetic technology) on the body to kill fat and build muscle.

Dr. Tsay sees a growing demand to treat facial laxity and droopiness. He notes that he sees many clients who are still too young for a surgical facelift but need extra help with problem areas such as jowls and eyelids. “This is where a PDO thread lift would be extremely beneficial,” he claims. “It can lift and reposition the skin to a younger phase of life. The PDO threads have miniature barbs that lift the skin and are completely buried underneath and not visible to the eye.”

Do They Really Work

Dr. Rafaeloff believes that If a client is dedicated and committed to the treatment plan then yes, one can expect similar or even better results with no cuts or scars. For Dr, Tsay, the subject is more complex and can vary from one individual to the next. “I never try to steer my patient against surgery if that is the best option for them. For most mild-to-moderate issues, non-surgical options are usually very good. At the same time, if I see a case where non-surgical treatment will not give them a good outcome, I will kindly decline the case and give them a referral for a plastic surgeon that can help them.” 

Cost Analysis

Non-invasive treatments are not cheap. They also usually require maintenance appointments. However, post-surgical downtime costs add up: time off work, childcare, post-surgical supplies, in-home care or recovery facility, post-op doctor appointments, etc. Plastic surgery may not be the best lifestyle choice for those with very busy schedules or commitments.

Now Trending

Dr. Rafaeloff notices a continued uptake in appointments for neurotoxins and one of their most advanced modalities, Morpheus8. This process combines micro-needling with radio-frequency technology for fractional resurfacing that stimulates collagen production and tissue remodeling. This is followed by minor swelling and bruising, which disappears after a few days.

Non-surgical nose jobs and jaw contouring are big at Dr. Tsay’s office. This is achieved using dermal fillers and or threads. “They have a very high patient satisfaction with very low complication,” remarks Tsay. Also, lip injections and procedures to enhance one’s jawline are extremely popular, especially with millennials. “We can give a snatched jawline using fillers or threads to lift and define someone’s jaw.”

More “Me” Time

One of the greatest advantages of the non-surgical route is the convenience and zero to no downtime. Many people dislike the idea of something more invasive or undergoing general anesthesia. One also must keep in mind that not everyone is a candidate for plastic surgery. Specific health conditions can render one ineligible for elective surgery. Most reputable plastic surgeons will not operate on just anyone who will pay.

Do Your Due Diligence

  The provider should be able to provide many before and after photos of their own work (not provided to them by the manufacturer). Dr. Tsay highly recommends doing research on and browse the “worth it” rating for a particular device. “It all boils down to trusting your provider and having a good relationship with them and knowing that they have your best interest in mind,” he advises.

Let’s Get Real

It’s all about realistic expectations and not expecting to achieve what cannot be done. According to Dr. Tsay, his most common question is if the results are permanent. “Nothing in life is permanent. Not even our family or our health,” he warns. “After any procedure, our bodies still undergo the aging process, that is what we are trying to slow down.”


Ageless MDFounder of Ageless MD in Orange County, CA, Dr. TJ Tsay has appeared on the Netflix reality series Bling Empire and is consistently ranked by Allergen as one of their top doctors. Known for his expertise in facial and body rejuvenation, Dr. Tsay teaches others who are learning the art of injectables and fillers. He attends conferences around the globe annually to stay at the forefront of the latest non-surgical advances and techniques. Ageless MD is a premier, state-of-the-art facility that accepts patients from across the nation and globe for its innovative and efficacious treatment options.

ALe Jolie Med Spa medical researcher and physician, Dr. Parvaneh Rafaeloff headed a very successful private practice before joining forces with her esthetician daughter and business executive nephew to open Le Jolie Medi Spa. As one of the most highly sought-after aesthetic medical practices, Le Jolie is a true celebrity hot spot with glamorous locations in West Hollywood and Studio City, CA. Paired with her idiosyncratic knowledge of physiology, Dr. Rafaeloff works closely with the aesthetic device and machine manufacturers to provide a truly customized treatment plan that uses a variety of highly specialized modalities for optimal and long-lasting results.