Ever Wondered What Advice Plastic Surgeons Give Their Family and Friends? Here It Is.
During a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon, you will get an educated assessment of treatment options based on personal cosmetic goals. But have you ever wanted to know what the surgeon really thinks? Do you want to know health secrets he or she shares with family and friends? I do!
I decided to dig in and interview experts in aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine about the real nuggets of information they tell those closest to them. I also wanted to know if they get any crazy questions. Thank you to Dr. Haideh Hirmand, Dr. Jeffrey Roth and Dr. Antonio Gayoso for thoughtfully answering my questions.
Mary Cunningham: As an expert on aesthetic plastic surgery, we would love to know what advice you give those closest to you.
First, what question do you get asked the most by friends and family? What do you tell them?
Dr. Hirmand: "What is the best age to start undergoing anti-aging procedures?” I tell them that they should start very early with skin protection and maintenance treatments like antioxidants and retinoids and sunblock and peels. For anti-aging injectables and aesthetic surgery, there is no specific age per se, it is person-dependent and based on how someone is aging, and when they would benefit from intervention.
Dr. Roth: I get asked did “so and so” get work done. I say that I cannot tell them. They also ask what the latest in plastic surgery is. I love talking about this subject.
Intrigued by this initial answer, I asked Dr. Roth to give us more detail about new, exciting developments in plastic surgery:
Dr. Roth: There is always something new in plastic surgery. My professor, Dr. Gil Gradinger, who was one of the ASAPS founding members said, “If you get bored in plastic surgery, then you are not reading enough.” Less invasive modalities are becoming more a part of what we do. Neuromodulators like Botox, fillers like Voluma, Juvederm, and Sculptra, all have their place alongside surgery. Often we will use a combination of both for the best outcome.
Surgery is also attempting to be less invasive with shorter incisions, endoscopic surgery, and faster recovery times. Materials are also evolving to help us achieve better outcomes. Acellular Dermal Matrix, (AlloDerm, Strattice), and Silk derived materials, (SERI), can bring strength to soft tissue construction.
Dr. Gayoso: My friends and family don't ask me many questions, but the most common question I’m asked in casual conversation is, "What do I need?" Need is a strong word. I reframe the conversion because it's not what you need, but what you want. There's no magic answer to a broad question, like "What do I need?" As plastic surgeons, we're problem solvers. So I prefer to ask, "What's the problem?" and I put it in their court. This requires them to consider what they're asking for. You don't need anything! It's far more desirable for someone to say, "this is what bothers me…", and then I can fix it.
What we do in surgery is not a little thing; there can be complications. I never want it to be my idea; I want to solve their problem.
What's an odd question you've been asked by someone close to you, and how did you answer?
Dr. Hirmand: There are no odd questions when it comes to aesthetics. However, I was asked once in the past to do a breast and body exam and give my opinion during a social occasion, and I found that somewhat odd. I recommended we defer to a professional setting devoid of wine and distractions for any professional endeavors.
Dr. Roth: A friend’s girlfriend was a model. She told me that a photographer said that if her fingers were longer she would get more work posters, pictorials, etc. She asked if I could do that for her. I declined.
Dr. Gayoso: Silly things like, "Where do you put the plastic?" The term "plastic" in plastic surgery is of Greek origin, meaning to shape, or moldable. [This is how the material “plastic” got its name.]
Is there a question you wish more people would ask?
Dr. Hirmand: “What not to do!” I think it is as important for people to know what kinds of treatments they should avoid as well as what they would benefit from.
Dr. Roth: How do I take care of myself better? How do I see through false claims and pseudo-science? What can I reasonably expect as an outcome? How can I look more refreshed and not “done”?
Dr. Gayoso: People get an impression of plastic surgeons from reality TV shows, and might assume that we are hyped personalities. We are not just about extreme makeovers and so-called boob jobs. Yes, I do breast augmentation but 1 out of 3 of my operating days is spent on breast cancer reconstruction. I'd like people to ask questions where we can demonstrate more of our medically-necessary work.
What is the best thing we can do for our body? What will naturally keep us looking younger longer?
Dr. Hirmand: Staying mentally and physically active!
Dr. Roth: Live a healthy life. Avoid the sun and UV exposure. Avoid tobacco and alcohol. Drink lots of water. Exercise. Laugh. I’d much rather take care of smile lines than frown lines.
Dr. Gayoso: Don't smoke, don't tan, keep weight under control. People who work to keep themselves up as they age will continue to look their best, regardless of whether they've had work done or received fillers. Physical health will help anyone. This is all common sense stuff, but sometimes people want to bypass common sense with aesthetic surgery.
I ask my patients to lose 20lbs –in a healthy manner-- before surgery or liposuction because the healthier they are, the better work I am able to do and the better the outcome. If they can't lose 20lbs before surgery I can still operate, but the results won't be as significant because I'll have to be more conservative in what I do.
And there you have it! Real answers from board-certified plastic surgeons.