By Stuart Kincaid, MD, FACS
In a culture where youth reigns supreme, the physical signs of aging can seem to some like harsh reminders of decreasing social status, fading beauty and waning desirability. Many men and women appreciate the wisdom and experience accrued with age; but when that experience takes the form of drooping facial skin, deep lines and wrinkles or unyielding body fat, some may suffer significant blows to their confidence and self esteem – and as a result, elect to pursue plastic surgery in order to restore balance between their outward appearance and internal sense of self. However, surgery is not for everyone: and in order to attain truly safe and natural results, it is critical that patients enlist the advice of an experienced and board-certified professional surgeon.
According to the
American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
, three middle-aged women recently chronicled their attempts to counteract the aging process in the August issue of
magazine. As sophisticated career women in the art, media and fashion fields, all three interviewees explained the humiliation and shame they felt as a result of puffy eyelids, drooping earlobes, and sagging jaw and necklines – features they feared would set them apart as aging and negatively impact their social and professional lives.
After consulting dermatologists, aestheticians and plastic surgeons, the women learned of various options – from skin-plumping Juvederm, Botox and
(also known as the “liquid facelift”) to earlobe reduction surgery, liposuction, jaw rejuvenation surgery and laser resurfacing procedures – designed to lift, tighten and tone their aging faces. However, while one woman chose to undergo periorbital laser resurfacing to battle drooping eyelids (and expressed satisfaction with the results), the other two remained noncommittal in the face of more invasive surgery -- and elected to wait before undergoing any procedures for which they were not yet prepared.
Such consideration is an important part of the cosmetic surgery process, and any qualified surgeon would support a patient’s decision to think long and hard before choosing surgery. However, one solution to many patient concerns is preemptive action – that is, the early use of injectables and other minimally-invasive procedures by women in their 30’s and 40’s whose skin is still relatively supple – to help ease the transition into middle age. For most patients, seizing the opportunity to prevent (as opposed to counteract) the physical signs of aging is the best way to harness the power of cosmetic enhancement in an effective and affordable manner.
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Elective surgery is a major decision, and one in which an individual’s health history, mental and emotional state, aesthetic motivation and desired result must be seriously considered by both patient and physician alike. Non-invasive laser procedures and cosmetic injectables like Sculptra, while lower risk, are equally significant; and no patient should move forward with any such plans without first finding a cosmetic plastic surgeon who genuinely understands not only the medical technicalities of each procedure, but also the emotional impetus behind it – as well as the repercussions, both good and bad, that may ensue as a result of the surgery.