PLASTIC FANTASTIC

01.30.15 10:50 AM ET

Less Rhinoplasty, More Chin Melting: Plastic Surgery Is Weirder Than Ever

More Americans than ever are tweaking their bodies and faces, but they’re doing it without knives.

Ever wanted some help ditching that double chin? A new procedure might just have the answer. An application for a fat busting face injection is currently being processed in the US, which could reinvent the world of quick, workout free weight loss.

The ATX-101, which is being regulated by the FDA, is a man-made version of deoxycholic acid—a secondary bile that naturally occurs within the body, helping to break down dietary fat. Clinical trials have yielded positive results for their 1,600 participants, minimizing the “submental fat” cells beneath the skin and creating a more streamlined look. With numerous options in the wrinkle-smoothing/filler arena but little in the way of fat-reducing fixes, the jab could be available as early as May, becoming the first of its kind.

The proposal highlights a growing trend in America’s cosmetic tastes: plastic surgery without the surgery part. Last year, the nation’s penchant for “minimally invasive” procedures (such as Botox) was closing in on that of its more traditional counterpart, with almost half of the year’s plastic surgery spending going on the former. In the most financially lucrative year for cosmetic procedures since 2008’s recession, more than $5 billion went on treatments patients could get on their lunch break.

“I would be interested in having the chin jab done,” says Amanda, a 24-year-old youth worker. “As someone who feels that they are in a constant battle with their weight, the idea of being able to actively target chin fat is amazing! You can eat healthily and try and exercise as much as you can, but there’s no real way to select areas of your body from which to lose the weight, if at all.”

And, in a world where we can get almost anything we want with the tap of a button, these kinds of speedy treatments are inevitably a hit. “In the hustle and bustle of today’s society, everyone wants to have a fast recovery as quick as possible and see a result, so these less invasive surgeries are very attractive,” says Dr. Darrick Antell, an official spokesperson for the American Society of Plastic Surgery.

“People have absolutely been opting for these kinds of procedures over the past few years. The only down side of the injectables is that they’re not typically permanent, but it at least gives the patient the chance to try it on for a while, and see what it might be like if they went through a more extensive operation,” Dr. Antell says.

The added benefit of being far lower in cost than surgeries like breast augmentations and rhinoplasties are also key in drawing in droves of clients. Botox was easily the year’s most popular quick fix with a 15.6 percent increase in people having the procedure, while 9.5 million injectable treatments were undertaken overall, marking a 13 percent rise in surgeries of this nature.

Some may think excess chin fat removal is a little on the niche side, but there’s a whole world of bizarre treatments available for those keen on a turn in the doctor’s chair. Surgical highlights of recent history include pokertox: a filler injected into the areas of gamblers’ faces which expose their “tells,” moustache implants for the fuzz-free faces of this world, and “ball ironing”—yes, the ironing of balls, where men can have their downstairs skin smoothed on out in exchange for actual money.

So what kinds of procedures are on the horizon?

“We live in exciting times and probably the most exciting field other than continued refinement of surgical techniques is the new field of stem cell technology,” muses Dr. Michael Edwards, president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. “I think innovation will continue in all these fields allowing us to offer more treatments to our patients with hopefully improved outcomes.”

In a world where people pay to have lasers fired at their ball sacks, who can say what the future of surgery holds.