What is a Facial Plastic Surgeon?
With many different types of aesthetic surgeons in practice today, it is important for you to make an informed decision when considering an elective procedure. One of the most confusing issues facing patients when choosing a surgeon is that of board certification. It is important to seek out a surgeon who is board certified in the correct field of expertise. If you are considering surgery of the face and neck, that area of expertise is facial plastic surgery.
“I spoke to several surgeons before proceeding with facial plastic surgery, but only one really took the time to answer all my questions and make me feel comfortable. I appreciated that. You need to have a lot of trust in someone who’s going to operate on your face.” — j e a n i n e c o d i s p o t t i , a g e 4 8
facial plastic surgeons may perform any or all of the folloWing:
Rhinoplasty (rye -no-plasty) is surgery of the nose–where cartilage and bone are reshaped and reconstructed and excess bone or cartilage may be removed. Recovery time is approximately one week.
Blepharoplasty (blef-a-roe-plasty) is surgery of the eyelids where fat and excess skin, bags, pouches, wrinkles in the eye area
are removed to make the eyes look less tired. Recovery time is approximately one week.
Results: Lower lids, permanent; upper lids, ten years.
A rhytidectomy (rit-id-ek-tomy) is surgery to remove excess skinand tighten muscles in the neck and lower part of the face. Recovery time is approximately two weeks.
Results: From five to 10 years, depending on the patient.
A forehead lift–or browlift– is surgery to minimize forehead lines and wrinkles, and elevate brows to reduce lid drooping and provide a refreshed appearance. Recovery time is about 10 days.
Results: 10 years.
Genioplasty (jeen-e-o-plasty) or mentoplasty (men-to-plasty) is surgery to augment a small chin or reduce a prominent chin. Recovery time is about one week.
Otoplasty (oh-toe-plasty) is surgery to “pin back” the ears by reshaping the cartilage. Recovery time is about one week.
The outer layer of the skin may be removed with a laser (laser skin resurfacing), a liquid (chemical peel) or a spinning brush (dermabrasion) resulting in smoother and less wrinkled skin. Recovery time is about one to three weeks.
Results: Generally permanent.
After an accident or disease, surgery may be done to restore both function and appearance. This may include scar revision, fracture repair, laceration repair, vascular birth mark treatment, cleft lip and palate repair, surgery for craniofacial deformities, orthognathic surgery, or cancer reconstruction.
how to find a facial plastic surgeon
The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) has a Web site, www.aafprs.org, where you can locate a facial plastic surgeon in your geographic area.
Ask around. When seeking a surgeon, word-of-mouth referrals are a good place to begin your search. Consult with friends who have undergone a procedure, your family physician or inquire at your local salon as to which doctors in the area have good reputations for performing facial plastic surgery.
Do your homework. Check to make sure that the surgeon’s area of expertise and corresponding board certification is in facial plastic surgery.
You may want to ask the following questions:
- How did they locate the surgeon?
- Were they happy with the results?
- Would they return to the same surgeon for another procedure?
Primary care physicians may also be able to recommend facial plastic surgeons with whom they have worked. It is still important to validate the training, skills, and experience of the surgeon.
how to choose a facial plastic surgeon
One of the most important factors for successful facial plastic surgery is the relationship between the patient and surgeon. An initial consultation provides the patient and surgeon an opportunity to discuss all that is involved in the desired procedure. It is advisable for the patient to write questions down before the consultation.
You may want to ask the following questions:
- Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
- How long will the operation take?
- What is the recovery time?
- What are the risks involved?
- Is post-operative medication necessary?
- What is the cost of the procedure?
It is also a good idea to write down the answers the surgeon provides so that you can review these carefully. The consultation also provides a chance to experience the personality of the surgeon to see if it is compatible with yours.
You should be prepared to be candid with the surgeon about your medical history, medications, allergies, habits, and background— which could affect the outcome of the surgery. The surgeon will also explain to you their experience and expertise in the area of facial plastic surgery you are considering. Some consultations may include computer imaging to show you what the surgery might accomplish. The surgeon can also describe what anesthesia is used for each of the surgeries you may be contemplating. The surgeon might also advise on supportive surgery to enhance the outcome. It is crucial for you to ask enough questions to find out about all aspects of the proposed surgery.
A large percentage of all facial plastic and reconstructive surgery is performed by board-certified otolaryngologists, whose rigorous training in the complicated head and neck area includes extensive experience with facial plastic surgery techniques.