FIRST QUARTER 2004, VOLUME 18, NO 1

FAQs about facial plastic surgery … are you a good candidate?

IN THIS ISSUE

The advantages of rejuvenation at an early age

FAQs about facial plastic surgery … are you a good candidate?

Ask the Surgeon / Health Tip / What’s New

Types of scars and how to minimize their visibility

Before considering a procedure, you should try to get as much information as possible. The following questions represent the most popular inquiries that new and current patients ask in regards to facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. Please feel free to contact us if your specific questions were not addressed.

Am I a good candidate?
Every patient is unique. Your physician will determine this based on your expectations, attitude, and physical features. Be prepared to answer the following questions: What do you want to change? Why do you want to correct this problem? What do you expect the surgery to do for you? Has anyone else urged you to have surgery? What is your goal in seeking this change?

Good candidates for facial plastic and reconstructive surgery understand how facial plastic surgery can improve their appearance, but they are not looking for perfection. They are strongly motivated and understand that surgery involves a certain amount of discomfort and it may be some time before the final results are realized.

What is the purpose of the consultation?
The consultation gives you an opportunity to get information, ask questions, and discuss concerns. It will help you make an informed decision as to whether a procedure can help you achieve the improvement you desire.

How does a facial plastic surgeon determine what is attractive?
There have been studies of the features and characteristics of facial appearance that are accepted as beautiful. Facial plastic surgeons learn about these aspects of treatment planning during their many years of training, and are quite familiar with commonly held standards of beauty by the time they are ready to take their board examinations. Discussion with each patient helps the facial plastic surgeon integrate general standards of beauty with the patient’s thoughts about beauty as well as those of the physician.

The following aesthetic principles may be considered. First, the rule of thirds: A well-portioned face may be divided into equal thirds by drawing horizontal lines through the forehead hairline, the brow, the base of the nose, and the edge of the chin. Second, the rule of fifths: A proportionate face may be divided vertically into fifths, each approximately the width of one eye. Facial features should fall within these parameters. Third, bilateral symmetry: An attractive face exhibits a high degree of similarity between one side of the face and the other. Remember though, aesthetic principles are only a guideline. True beauty starts from within. The goal of facial plastic surgery is only to enhance the unique features you present to the world.

What are the most popular procedures patients have?
In 2002, the most popular cosmetic surgical procedures were blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) and rhinoplasty (nose surgery). In the same year, the most common cosmetic non-surgical procedures were Botox, microdermabrasion (skin resurfacing), and chemical peels (skin resurfacing).

What type of anesthesia is used?
The type of anesthesia is determined by the procedure and what you and your doctor decide is best (i.e. local anesthetic, intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia).

What are the risks involved with surgery?
As with any surgical procedure there may be risks involved, such as infection or scarring. You can reduce your risks by choosing a qualified facial plastic surgeon and closely following both the before and after surgery instructions.

What can I do before I have surgery to enhance the surgical outcome and recovery?
Quit smoking. Smoking affects the blood supply to the skin; it may slow healing time and increase the risk of bleeding and other complications. Exercise! A regular exercise routine pre-operatively will help you post-operatively. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. What you eat affects both the surface of your skin and the underlying structures, including nerves, blood vessels, cartilage, and muscle tissues. A healthy diet promotes a vibrant complexion and an overall healthy glow. Also, relax and prepare yourself mentally for the procedure. A positive mental outlook can actually speed healing time and help you look and feel your best.

Will the insurance company cover any of the costs?
Reconstructive surgery is covered by most health insurance policies, although the specifics of coverage may vary greatly.

Cosmetic surgery, however, is usually not covered by health insurance because it is elective and not considered a medical necessity. Keep in mind that there are a number of gray areas that may require special consideration by an insurance carrier. The insurance company often looks at the principal reason the procedure is being performed: is it for reprieve of symptoms or for aesthetic improvement?

Does skin type affect the surgical results?
Yes. Your facial plastic surgeon will carefully assess your skin type, because the outcome may be affected by such factors as thickness of your skin, the amount of oil it contains, the degree of pigmentation, and the quality of underlying cartilage. Skin type will not necessarily disqualify you for facial plastic surgery; however, it may be necessary to modify, or even avoid certain procedures to minimize the possibility of scarring or prevent undesirable changes in pigmentation.

What is the recovery period for most surgeries?
The healing period for many facial plastic surgery procedures is one to two weeks. Much of the swelling that may occur resolves within this period, and any discoloration can be effectively camouflaged with high-coverage cosmetics. This is just an average, however, and does not pertain to all procedures or combinations of procedures.