According to Eleanor Barone, MD, an aesthetic plastic surgeon at Advanced Dermatology and The Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery in NY and Long Island , “Roughly 11 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures were performed in the United States last year, up seven percent from 2005. And while minimally invasive procedures — injections of Botox and wrinkle-fillers such as Restylane, for example — are behind much of that increase, surgeries were also up. This is due in large part to the demand from 40-somethings who are finding that surgical procedures deliver more of the results they want.”
New York , NY (PRWEB) November 9, 2007 — Roughly 11 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures were performed in the United States last year, up seven percent from 2005. And while minimally invasive procedures — injections of Botox and wrinkle-fillers such as Restylane, for example — are behind much of that increase, surgeries were also up. This is due in large part to the demand from 40-somethings who are finding that surgical procedures deliver more of the results they want.
“Everyone loves the idea of a minimally invasive procedure,” says Eleanor Barone, MD, an aesthetic plastic surgeon at Advanced Dermatology and The Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery in NY and Long Island . “But minimally invasive procedures aren’t always the best choice.” As we get older, we all lose elasticity in our skin, she explains. In our 30s, we can use injectable fillers, lasers and other tools to correct the lines and wrinkles that start to appear, but when we reach 40 and beyond, she says, we might need stronger medicine. “There’s no denying that the baby boomer generation is getting older,” she says. “The youngest baby boomers are now 42, and the oldest are just turning 60. Every eight seconds, another one turns 50.” These are the people to whom plastic surgery appeals most.
Indeed, a recent national survey found that baby boomers want to look younger — and feel younger. Study participants shared a belief that they would be entering middle age in their 60s — quite a bit later than their parents did. “People feel that the 40s are the new 30s,” says Dr. Barone. “And we all want our outward appearance to match our inner perceptions of age.” She notes that a separate study of women ages 35 to 69 found that the majority wanted their faces to look 13 years younger. These women almost universally wished to get rid of wrinkles and sagging skin.
The good news is that aesthetic plastic surgery can do just that, and today’s surgeons are using new techniques to give better results than ever before. What’s more, patients are becoming more educated about the procedures that are available. But while patients are definitely becoming better informed about the risks and rewards of plastic surgery, myths remain.
Here, then, are five common misconceptions about plastic surgery:
1. You won’t get scars. In any type of surgery, Dr. Barone says, scarring takes place — period. “When a surgeon cuts through the skin, the body will create scar tissue in that spot as it heals.” Of course, scarring varies widely, depending on the procedure as well as the patient’s skin type. It also can be affected by the way the patient takes care of her skin post-op. “Your doctor can give you specific advice on how to minimize scarring,” Dr. Barone says. “But anyone who tells you that you won’t get any scar at all after a surgical procedure isn’t telling you the truth.”
2. After plastic surgery, your face will look perfect. Realistically, you can expect a cosmetic surgery procedure to make you look younger. But you can’t ask your surgeon to make you look like a completely different person. “We caution patients against looking for huge changes,” says Dr. Barone. “You certainly can expect improvements, and those improvements can do a lot for your self-confidence,” she says. “But plastic surgery can’t restore your youth or turn you into a movie star.”
3. The correction will last forever. Again, results vary among different procedures — and different patients, Dr. Barone says. But the truth is that your face and body will continue to age after you have plastic surgery, just as it did before you saw your surgeon. “No operation can stop the aging process,” says Dr. Barone. But what it can do, essentially, is to ‘turn back the clock’ by improving the most visible signs of aging. For example, a facelift involves removing excess skin, tightening the underlying muscles and fat, and repositioning the skin of your face and neck to resemble the way it looked when you were younger.
Today’s facelift procedures produce even better results that a few years ago, she adds. In fact, there’s new evidence that facial aging is not uniform, the simple result of gravity, as was earlier believed. “A study that was published this year found that the human face is made up of distinct fat compartments around our eyes, cheeks and forehead, each of which change individually to affect the way our faces age.” These compartments gain and lose fat at different rates, she explains, creating sagging and wrinkling.
4. A “mini” facelift gives the same results as full facelift. Sorry — this one is also untrue, says Dr. Barone. “Some people might tell you that you can achieve the results of a facelift — technically called rhytidectomy surgery — with a “mini facelift” or S-Lift (which describes the type of incision that is used). “A mini facelift rejuvenates the lower third of the face, including the jowls and neck, and can be appropriate for some patients. But it can’t do as much for drooping skin as a full facelift can,” Dr. Barone explains. Full facelifts also provide more lasting results, she says.
You also can’t expect the same results with non-invasive procedures such as lasers and injectables, Dr. Barone says.
As we get older, expression lines, jowls and wrinkles become too deep to be smoothed out this way. At that point, she says, aesthetic surgery is your best option.
5. All aesthetic or cosmetic surgeons are plastic surgeons. Not true, says Dr. Barone.
Any licensed physician can call himself or herself a cosmetic surgeon, she says, regardless of his or her training and experience in plastic surgery. “That’s why it’s so important to find a properly trained and certified provider,” she says. Your first step should be to choose a doctor who’s a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. ASPS Member Surgeons are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, which is the only board dedicated to plastic surgery of the face and entire body. Unlike other specialty organizations, ASPS requires each member surgeon to have a minimum of five years of surgical training, with at least two of those years specifically in plastic surgery.