How About a Drive-Thru Facelift?

We are frequently exposed to ads for surgery purported to rejuvenate the face in seemingly remarkable ways. “In as little as one hour . . . with miraculous results . . . with no scars or down time . . . over your lunch break . . . ” and so on. Usually there are accompanying photos which show dramatic results that appear almost “too good to be true.” Is it all true?

It is important for individuals seeking facial rejuvenation to have both a careful evaluation by a professional who performs reliable procedures and an understanding of the various options available. A successful treatment plan usually considers the recovery and down time involved, the possible risks of the treatment as well as the patient’s medical status, and the pros and cons of the choices (and there are many choices nowadays). Did you know that some of these heavily advertised procedures are offered by “franchised” operations that involve non-physicians for patient screening and evaluation? Did you know that some of the procedures that are speedier than others may be a poor match for certain patients and can increase the risk of side effects or the amount of down time? Did you know that some of the photos which appear in ads represent results achieved only weeks after surgery (and may not hold up over time)? Did you ever think that an effective procedure performed over lunch would allow the average individual to return to work “business as usual?”

For most of us, applying common sense would raise suspicions and doubts about many of these claims. The aging process in the face is quite complex, and involves many factors including loss of skin tone, changes in fat volume and location, and changes in the skeleton itself. Each of us ages in our own way based upon factors such as genetics, environmental influences, diet, and lifestyle (and there are other factors). Surely, common sense would suggest that we are not all candidates for the identical treatment!

More than twenty years of plastic surgery practice have allowed me to make some observations:

(1) Good results are generally based on a skilled assessment of the aging changes for a specific individual, rather than a “cookie cutter” approach;
(2) Often, the best results require a larger procedure that may involve longer healing and recovery instead of a “quickie” approach;
(3) A non-physician or non-expert evaluating a patient in order to devise a treatment plan that is implemented by a physician creates a “disconnect” or fragmentation of care that may compromise the results; and
(4) While some “quickie” procedures are completed in a short time, they may create unnatural results.

As with many things in life, if it looks “too good to be true,” it often is. Quick and easy works great for online shopping . . . just don’t shop that way when it comes to your looks!

To your health!
Dr. Berger

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