FALSE EXPECTATIONS FOR COSMETIC PROCEDURES

FALSE EXPECTATIONS FOR COSMETIC PROCEDURES

Leading dermatologist Dr. Joshua Fox urges

patient education and research before scheduling

 

New Hyde Park, New York, February 2009 – With nearly 12 million surgical and nonsurgical procedures performed in the United States in 2007, cosmetic surgery has become both big business and a mainstream part of American life. Many more Americans than ever before are seeking to improve their facial features, remove unflattering spots, flatten their tummies or expand their breasts. In fact, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery says the overall number of cosmetic procedures has increased by more than 450 percent since it started collecting statistics in 1997.

 

But, warns Joshua L. Fox, M.D., a leading dermatologist and founder of Advanced Dermatology, PC, and The Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery, setting your sights too high and having false expectations can make the process and its results less than beautiful. Dr. Fox says patients considering surgical cosmetic procedures need to be well informed, have realistic expectations and avoid common mistakes…Or they may be disappointed. Following are nine misconceptions about cosmetic procedures:

 

1.  I’ll be in and out today. “While it’s true that many cosmetic procedures are done on an out-patient basis, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be in and out in a few hours and then done,” Dr. Fox says.  “Cosmetic surgery is just that — surgery — and you’ll probably be tired, sore and uncomfortable for several hours or even several days after you get home depending on the procedure, of course.”  Non-surgical cosmetic procedures, like Botox fillers, microdermabrasion, laser hair removal and some other laser procedures are quick, with minimal risk with the patient back to work in as soon as a few hours.

2. It will heal quickly.  Wounds may heal faster or more slowly depending on the type of procedure.  “Immediately following a surgery with cutting, your wound may be warm, red, swollen and tender while the healing begins,” Dr. Fox says. After a few days, he says, the wound may begin to look wet and white or yellow as the skin around the area thickens and the wound gets smaller. Finally, a slow process of “maturation” begins, as the wound gets stronger. This process can last from several weeks to much longer.

3. I will have no marks left.Patients undergoing cosmetic procedures want to improve their appearance and keep scarring to a minimum,” Dr. Fox says.  “As cosmetic surgeons, we work very hard to reduce scarring, but patients must take some of the responsibility by remembering that sun damage can slow or even prevent the healing and fading of scars.”  At the very least, he urges patients to initially keep scars out of the sun or protect them with sun block. “With correct care and protection after surgery, most scars fade and become barely noticeable.”  Other things patients must do include the following recommendations:

a)  follow all instructions carefully

 b)  avoid trauma or home remedies to the area;

c)  avoid smoking as it slows wound healing;

d)  use moist wound healing technique

e)  avoid potential allergens like Bacitracin®, Neosporin®,  or Polyporin®, unless infection is suspected.

4. There will be no discomfort. By its nature, cosmetic surgery is superficial and does not generally cause much swelling or bruising. However, any surgery carries with it the risk of discomfort or pain, swelling and other complications. The patient’s pain or discomfort, of course, will vary depending on their own threshold for pain.  There are many methods to reduce pain include a Zimmer cooler, ice packs, gating technique, better instrumentation, and buffering the local anesthetic.  Of course, if it is a larger procedure an anesthesiologist or a nerve block, as well as oral antianxiolytic and narcotics may be helpful.

5. It is safe/there won’t be any complications. While most cosmetic procedures and surgeries have predictable results and are very safe, it is important to remember that complications can arise whenever a procedure takes place. Cosmetic surgery complications, although rare, can range from scarring, infection, skin depression or discoloration to, even on rare occasions, fatalities.  The effects of surgery can sometimes be traumatizing to patients both physically and psychologically. “The risks of cosmetic surgery will differ depending on the individual and the procedure,” Dr. Fox says, “so make sure to ask your physician a lot of questions beforehand so that you will know what to expect and be able to minimize risks.”  “It is critical to ask your surgeon to explain what sort of recovery you will face, what complications may arise, and how you can reduce discomfort or pain,” Dr. Fox says.   Ask your doctor how to minimize risks.  For example, which medications may or may not be introduced during surgery and what you can do to lessen bruising.  Also, ask your medical doctor if you are healthy enough to have the procedure you are electing.  Choosing a cosmetic surgeon with a lot of experience also lowers the risk of complications.

6. The more procedures I get, the better I will look. “Again, it is important to remember that any surgery carries with it inherent risks and potential complications, and the more surgeries, the more risk.” According to Dr. Fox, some general risks, although rare, for cosmetic surgery include Some people feel the need to have cosmetic procedures when they look great – dubbed “cosmetic surgery junkies”.  A good cosmetic surgeon will tell you that nothing is required in that situation.

7. It won’t cost too much. Several factors determine the cost of cosmetic surgery,” Dr. Fox says, “including geographic location, the surgeon’s expertise, the number of areas treated, amount of time and effort required of the cosmetic surgeon and, in the case of a larger procedure, the cost of the anesthesiologist’s services as well as operating room and lab fees. Ask about all costs surrounding the surgery before you schedule it.”   Some practices will package the fees as one inclusive cost or may have their own out-patient surgery center – which may lower the total cost.

8.  I just need to fix this tiny spot. The most important thing to remember about any type of medical beauty procedure is that there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of complications, so if you’re looking to fix something tiny, you and your physician may be able to consider alternatives to surgery like laser or other spot treatments.”

9. All laser and cosmetic surgeons are equal.   As with any field, experience matters and can make all the difference between technique, expertise and knowledge.

Dr. Fox says that education and research are the keys to avoiding false expectations from cosmetic procedures. “One of the best ways to achieve your goals and at the same time limit your risk and assure a positive result of your cosmetic surgery is to educate yourself,” he says. “Do your homework before you schedule the first visit to a cosmetic surgeon, research each procedure and its inherent risks, look up your doctor and/or his website, and learn about your cosmetic surgeon’s background and experience. In addition, it is ideal to have a full medical checkup prior to embarking on major cosmetic surgery.

LASER TREATMENTS GET RID OF TATTOOS.

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DERMATOLOGY: LASER TREATMENTS GET RID OF TATTOOS. J0SHUA FOX, M.D., dermatologist and founder of ADVANCED DERMATOLOGY and THE CENTER FOR LASER AND COSMETIC SURGERY in New York:

“Americans are fond of using decorative tattoos as a form of expression. According to a study in the September 2006 edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, nearly one in four Americans report being “tattooed” at least once. Yet the same study reports that 17 percent of those with tattoos would like to have them removed. The good news is that laser treatments and equipment have kept pace with the rising interest in tattoo removal. While there are several lasers that may be used to remove decorative tattoos, the Q-switched ruby laser is the most effective, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.”

Tattoo Regret? Studies Show You’re Not Alone

healthnewsdigest

Skin Care
Tattoo Regret? Studies Show You’re Not Alone

Leading dermatologist Dr. Joshua Fox discusses technologies, solutions for safe, effective tattoo removal (HealthNewsDigest.com)

New York, NY, April 2007 –Whether it’s an old flame’s name on the bicep or a prom-night red rose on the ankle, Americans are fond of using decorative tattoos as a form of expression. And, notwithstanding the advent of semi-permanent and temporary inks, men and women in the U.S. are choosing permanent tattoos more now than ever. According to a study in the September 2006 edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, nearly one in four Americans report being “tattooed” at least once. Yet, the same study reports that 17% of those with tattoos would like to have them removed. (more…)

DERMATOLOGY: LASER TREATMENTS GET RID OF TATTOOS.

forbes.com

DERMATOLOGY: LASER TREATMENTS GET RID OF TATTOOS.

JOSHUA FOX, M.D., dermatologist and founder of ADVANCED DERMATOLOGY and THE CENTER FOR LASER AND COSMETIC SURGERY in New York: “Americans are fond of using decorative tattoos as a form of expression. According to a study in the September 2006 edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, nearly one in four Americans report being ‘tattooed’ at least once. Yet the same study reports that 17 percent of those with tattoos would like to have them removed. The good news is that laser treatments and equipment have kept pace with the rising interest in tattoo removal. While there are several lasers that may be used to remove decorative tattoos, the Q-switched ruby laser is the most effective, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.”

TATTOO REGRET? STUDIES SHOW YOU’RE NOT ALONE:

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TATTOO REGRET? STUDIES SHOW YOU’RE NOT ALONE:

Leading dermatologist Dr. Joshua Fox discusses technologies, solutions for safe, effective tattoo removal

New York, NY, April, 2007 – Whether it’s an old flame’s name on the bicep or a prom-night red rose on the ankle, Americans are fond of using decorative tattoos as a form of expression. And, notwithstanding the advent of semi-permanent and temporary inks, men and women in the U.S. are choosing permanent tattoos more now than ever. According to a study in the September 2006 edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, nearly one in four Americans report being “tattooed” at least once. Yet, the same study reports that 17% of those with tattoos would like to have them removed.

“In our society, tattoos are equated with a youthful free-spiritedness we all value,” explains Joshua Fox, MD, founder of Advanced Dermatology and a spokesman for the American Academy of Dermatology. “And with higher quality inks and equipment being used by tattoo artists today, many people are intrigued by the more creative and artistic designs that are available.” But, after the painstaking process of choosing a design – and the often-painful process of having the tattoo applied – what prompts those with tattoos to seek solutions for removal? Dr. Fox explains, “Obviously, tattoos that include names of past love interests do not fade, even when the ‘old flame’ flickers out.” He adds, “On a more general basis, people who find tattoos adventurous in their teens and twenties often find that they send the wrong message about them as they move into a more mature stage of their lives, when marriage, family, children and work become the focal point.”

The good news is that laser treatments and equipment have kept pace with the rising interest in tattoo removal – which some anecdotal reports estimate is as high as 40-50%. While there are several lasers that may be used to remove decorative tattoos – the Q-switched ruby laser – is the most effective, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. “The Q-switched lasers are the gold standard in removing pigmented skin lesions, which is essentially how a tattoo is identified by the body, this includes short pulse Ruby, Alexandrite, 532 and 1064” Dr. Fox explains. “The ruby laser is effective at breaking down the melanosomes where the ink is stored in the skin into smaller fragments, which are then removed by the patient’s immune system,” he adds.

Five things to consider before you tattoo…
While Q-switched ruby laser therapy is effective at removing permanent decorative tattoos safely and without scarring, Dr. Fox offers five caveats for those considering obtaining a tattoo:

  1. There are possible health risks associated with tattooing, which is largely unregulated in the U.S. Bloodborne diseases are a key concern, as are infections. “Be sure to get references from the artist’s most recent clients, and discuss the safeguards that are in place at the studio to reduce or eliminate health risks,” Dr. Fox advises.
  2. Tattoo removal is not a “same day” procedure, but rather a process that includes the laser treatment session, as well as healing time and any follow-up treatments that might be necessary. “Patients can expect the healing period to be similar to that of any wound, with possible scabbing, burning or itching at the site for one to two weeks after each treatment,” Dr. Fox explains.
  3. The time- and cost-factors of tattoo removal can be a bit surprising to some patients, depending upon the number of sessions needed to remove the full tattoo. It usually takes 5 – 10 months, for a full tattoo removal, and the costs depending on the site can run into the thousands of dollars. “Tattoos that can take multiple sessions include those that cover a large area of the skin, are intricate in detail, and/or contain various color pigments,” Dr. Fox notes.
  4. Some tattoos are more “removable” than others, based on the colors of inks used and the tone of the patient’s skin. “Fair skin, in general, responds better to laser tattoo removal than darker skin,” Dr. Fox points out. In addition, ink colors like yellow, lavender and orange are more difficult and time-consuming to remove, adding more treatments and expense to the tattoo removal.
  5. New inks are becoming available that make tattoo removal even easier, because they encapsulate the dye in tiny bio-friendly beads that can be effectively broken down by the Q-switched laser in a single treatment. However, they remain intact like standard tattoo inks, without fading or bleeding, unless and until they are removed with a laser. “For those who are considering a permanent decorative tattoo, but want the option of a simpler, more cost-friendly removal, these new inks may be an ideal option,” Dr. Fox concludes.