From eHealth Connection: Dispelling the Myths of Cosmetic Procedures

Naomi Lawrence, MD, Head, Division of Dermatology, Section of Procedural Dermatology

Who is the “cosmetic surgery” patient? In our office the most common reason that a patient seeks advice is that the image they see in the mirror does not reflect the youth and vitality they feel. The old image of the cosmetic patient as the privileged wealthy or Hollywood star is outmoded. Even the term “cosmetic surgery” doesn’t truly reflect the wide range of non-surgical procedures that are available for rejuvenation. And while the “extreme makeovers” we see on reality TV are compelling, they do not accurately depict the day-to-day services provided in cosmetic practices throughout the country. Here are some of the biggest myths about cosmetic procedures:

Myth #1: People who have cosmetic surgery look fake. Only poorly done and/or excessive cosmetic procedures look artificial. Well-planned and carefully chosen procedures restore your natural appearance and make you look fresher, rested and yes, a little younger. Make sure your doctor listens to what you are trying to achieve. Everyone has a different bone and soft tissue structure. Everyone ages differently. Trying to restore a more youthful appearance or making modest changes is usually achievable. Trying to completely change your features or look like a model in a magazine can lead to an artificial appearance.

Myth #2: Botox makes your face look frozen. Only poorly done or excessive injections of botulinum toxin look unnatural. When done correctly, facial movement is fluid and natural and only the undesirable movement (such as frowning) is softened.

Myth #3: Injectible fillers are not worth doing as the results are too short-lived. Many of the fillers such as hyauluronic acids (best known – Restylane and Juvederm) and others stimulate the body to lay down collagen and over time can give a natural filling that requires fewer products, less often.

Myth #4: Liposuction is for people who want an alternative to diet and exercise. Liposuction is a reshaping procedure that works best in people that have a figure problem that is resistant to diet and exercise. An example would be the outer thigh or “saddle bag” area in women which corrects nicely with liposuction.

If you do decide to go to your dermatologist for a cosmetic evaluation, make sure that you get a full face analysis taking into account your face shape, bone structure and fat distribution. You should be given clear pricing for everything discussed. Finally, no cosmetic procedure is emergent. Don’t feel pressured if you are not comfortable.

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