Celebrity Cosmetic Surgery Red Carpet Secrets Revealed
AOL Stylelist, February 25, 2011

AOL Stylelist asked Dr. Copeland for the lowdown on pre-Oscar celebrity cosmetic fixes.

With the Oscars upon us, that means one important thing for some of Hollywood's hottest celebs: It's time to sneak a trip to the cosmetic surgeon for a tune-up.

After all, millions of eyes and flashbulbs will capture their spins on the red carpet, and with it, any flaw that dares to bulge, spot or wrinkle on the world's most glamorous stage.

We caught up with New York plastic surgeon Michelle Copeland for the 411 on what last-minute nips and tucks the celebs have been booking in the days leading up to the Oscars. Situated directly across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Copeland's Fifth Avenue practice draws top A-list names through its elegant doors.

"I don't envy celebs, they're scrutinized so much. Fortunately, there are a variety of nonsurgical 'quick fixes' that have no downtime that I can choose from to make them look good. Celebrities have always been at the forefront of using these kinds of treatments, because of the pressure to constantly look good for public appearances," Copeland tells StyleList.

Ideally, patients come in a few weeks before the day to assess their concerns, and put together an action plan of what is often a variety of touch-up procedures to tighten skin and give it a glow. Yet with busy filming and travel schedules, it's not uncommon for many celebs to wait until the last minute for their fix.

"They're so busy, it slips their mind -- and then suddenly, they look in the mirror a week before, and say, 'I need to do something, now!'" Copeland says of her patients, some of whom have booked appointments just days before the Oscars.

So what kind of fixes are celebs clamoring for? Read on as we list the top most requested pick-me-ups.

Fat Shrinkage

When you've got to slip into a sexy, body baring gown, Spanx can only work so many miracles. In addition to supportive undergarments, celebs turn to the Zerona Laser to shave off a few more inches of fat.

"Zerona uses light energy to help shrink fat cells. It's not surgical, and not painful. You sit in front of a light for 45 minutes every other day for six sessions. Most people lose between 3.5 to five inches," explains Copeland.

Patients often combine the Zerona with their already aggressive pre-Oscars routine combination of a light diet and exercise for best results.

Copeland says the fat is truly burned off, as it would disappear if you had exercised or dieted it away. Naturally, if you overindulge again and gain weight, the fat cells can come back as they otherwise would.

Sessions vary in cost, but can run between $500 to $700 per visit, with six treatments within a two-week time frame suggested for the maximum return on your investment.

With cost being no restriction for the wealthy, Copeland reveals that she just had a patient who doubled up on sessions, for 12 altogether, and lost a staggering 14 inches of fat total -- which is an uncommonly exceptional result, even for celebrities.

Skin Tightening

Strapless and low-cut gowns may look simply stunning on the red carpet, but they also put a laser focus on areas where many women feel self-conscious about the pull of gravity: their jowls, the back of the arms and décolleté.

"Thermage uses radio frequency waves to stimulate the tightening of the tissues. You'll see immediate results, but the tightening effects will continue for three to six months," says Copeland of the laser.

Another new laser that is "hot off the press" right now is Ulthera, which works in much the same way as Thermage. With no downtime and instant gratification from both lasers, they're often used just days before the Oscars for tightening.

A common area that is zapped by both genders is the under-eye area, which can get puffy and loose with age -- and of which high definition video is becoming increasingly unforgiving.

The widespread use of these lasers right before big events can also be attributed to a relaxed comfort level, since results look believable. The heat simply stimulates the natural collagen found in your skin.

This type of laser can vary dramatically in cost, as people may treat anything from a small area like the jowls to a more expansive area like the chest and back of arms. A typical cost can range from $2,000 to upward of $6,000 per individual treatment.

Brown Spots Begone

Pigmentation changes are one of the most common aging concerns, and celebs aren't immune. Most say they're especially self-conscious about spots on the face, cleavage and back of the hands while posing for their Oscar arrival photo.

Entirely eliminating brown spots takes multiple treatments or more invasive procedures like deep chemical peels that require downtime, and can't be done merely days before a big event. Powerful lasers may zap problematic spots into oblivion, but they form a scab that must naturally flake off on its own, or else risk scarring.

However, a variety of noninvasive treatments like microdermabrasion and non-ablative lasers can be combined like a cocktail to significantly lighten spots in as little time as a week before the big day.

For maintenance, a regular patient may first go through the regimen of four to six sessions to undo sun damage on the skin, and then maintain with follow-up sessions once every season. Celebs, on the other hand, often book standing appointments every four to six weeks on regular rotation, so that their skin is always glowing.

"Celebrities don't want highs and lows. They want to consistently look their best," says Copeland.

The kind of non-ablative skin rejuvenations described above typically cost between $800 to $1,200 per individual treatment, with celebs stacking a few together for the fastest, most beautiful results right before an awards show.

Fillers and Botox

A mainstay on the red carpet for years now, Copeland says that fillers and Botox have unfairly been given a bad rap due to unskilled application and overuse.

"You can do it without ending up looking like Nicole Kidman or Meg Ryan. But not everyone is a Rembrandt! There are very different ways of applying Botox and fillers. Some ways give you natural animation, others make you appear frozen. It all has to do with the amount you use and the placement of it," says Copeland.

Yet stars like Joan Rivers and Dolly Parton may actually want to look unnaturally taut.

Botox is a cosmetic must-have for most celebs. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images


"Some people actually prefer that artificial look and ask for it. People have different expectations for how tight and lifted they want their skin to look," adds Copeland.

Fillers like Juvederm and Restylane are most often shot into the lips for a fuller look, or to erase aging marionette lines. Radiesse is a firmer filler, and is often used in the cheeks for more support. While typical fillers last a few months, firmer versions like Radiesse can often stay in place for up to a year and a half.

Sold by the syringe, most patients require two syringes of filler for an area like deep laugh lines, or one syringe for the lips. Prices can vary dramatically depending on volume needed, and the part of the country the doctor practices. "It's entirely possible to spend several thousand dollars on filler for the face," says Copeland.

On the other hand, many surgeons sell Botox by the area of face treated -- which is broken down into units -- and can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars for a session.

But when it comes to Botox and fillers, celebrities have to be careful to treat themselves with at least a week to spare for healing, just in case they end up with surface bruising. Copeland says it's difficult to anticipate whether or not a person will bruise.

"Sometimes people just bruise more than others. And they may be taking a blood thinner like Aspirin or Advil, and forget to stop them before coming in for an injection. That'll make them bruise more. The good thing is, you can cover bruising with makeup," says Copeland.

Ah, yes -- that's the magic of Hollywood.