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Time for a Nipntuck?

April 17th, 2014

 “Am I ready for cosmetic surgery?”  or “Is it time for me to have this surgery?” Fortunately, the answer is very simple, “Yes and no!”

As we age, most everyone can find improvements to be made in their physical appearance. For that reason you might be “ready” for cosmetic surgery. However, another way to look at it is that a patient can always be sold cosmetic surgery. Wrinkles that could be smoothed,  droopy skin tightened, or fat collections removed. But, unless these things bother you, be wary of a surgeon who tries to sell you surgery that you do not ask about.

I always recommend that patients consider cosmetic surgery only when something bothers them. If nothing bothers you, there is no need to correct it.  People often accept their appearance for many years until one day it simply becomes bothersome to them.  This is a personal awareness and there is no specific age connected to it.

My mother’s situation is a good example. She grew up in a simple rural home during the depression. My youth was simple and uncomplicated, as this is what my parents were accustomed. Personal extravagances were just not on the radar.  Five years after my father’s death, my mother approached me about facial rejuvenation surgery. This was completely unexpected by me. I actually put her off for a couple of years, until she put her foot down and  insisted on the surgery, preferring that I do it.

In retrospect, it makes complete sense now. She was content and secure with herself before she was widowed. She came to the new realization that she felt self-conscious about her appearance, once she had finished grieving. She was finally ready to resume a social life, but did not like what she saw in the mirror. At 78 years old, I chose to do a series of single surgeries, safely rejuvenating her face one step at a time. Afterwards, I think she was ready and eager to pursue social activities and shortly thereafter met someone special.  

So my message is: If something about your outward appearance bothers you, consider fixing it. It might make all the difference in the world about how you feel on the inside. Certainly my mom would agree!

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Cosmetic Surgery Too Much of a Good Thing?

November 26th, 2012

When is cosmetic surgery too much of a good thing? I filmed a segment for the local Fox News Affiliate here in Minneapolis, hosted by Medical Correspondent, Dr. Archelle Georgiou.  They filmed part of the segment while I was performing a lower blephaorplasty or lower eyelid surgery.  My patient did have some other plastic surgery  in the past and while gathering routine background information, Dr. Georgiou inquired whether I felt that the patient was perhaps choosing cosmetic surgery too often.  In other words, did I think the patient suffered from a possible cosmetic surgery addiction?  As with all my patients, I am careful to evaluate a patient’s motivations for surgery and attempt to uncover any unhealthy desires for seeking cosmetic surgery.  In this case, I feel confident that my patient had legitimate concerns regarding the unsightly bags under her eyes and that she was an excellent candidate for eyelid surgery.   She expressed realistic expectations from the surgery and in my opinion; she is certainly not a cosmetic surgery addict.

However, while we are on the topic, let me elaborate. There are several characteristics that are common among cosmetic surgery addicts and for the most part, they are not dissimilar to other addictions.  Patients that have Body Dysmorphic Disorder are likely to seek cosmetic surgery to correct “perceived” physical flaws.   This disorder has significant psychological components and it is unlikely that any amount of cosmetic surgery will correct feelings of having physical deformity that may not exist.  This disorder leads some patients to have excessive cosmetic surgery.    As a physician, I feel a professional and moral obligation  to refer patients that exhibit these difficulties to the proper psychological care when it is appropriate.  

Without a doubt there are patients who do suffer from this problem.  The pop culture media machine is quick to point out the cosmetic surgery obsessions of Michael Jackson, New York’s “Cat Woman” and Joan Rivers, to name just a few.  

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