A 40-year-old woman has a near death experience and finds herself in front of God. “Is my time up already?” she asks.
“No,” God says, “you have another 40 years, 2 months and 8 days to live.”
Relieved, she exchanges her Visa for a facelift, liposuction, a nose job and a tummy tuck, is released from the hospital, gets hit by a bus and winds up in heaven in front of God again.
“I thought you said I had another 40 years,” she said. “Why didn’t you save me from the bus?”
“I didn’t recognize you,” God told her.
Unless you’re in the witness protection program and running from the mob, you should not strive for a result that will leave you unrecognizable to those who know you best. And you should not receive one. Can you look like yourself after a procedure – only better? Look good – not done? Look rested? In the right hands, of course! Below are several important ways to achieve the natural result that you seek.
1. ‘Plastic’ Surgery: It’s a specialty, not an adjective. Only surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery are actually Board-certified plastic surgeons. Only successful completion of an ACGME-accredited plastic surgery residency program allows one to call himself or herself a 'plastic surgeon' and makes one eligible to sit for their Board examinations. Passing both grueling written and oral examinations given by the American Board of Plastic Surgery results in Board certification. There is simply no other path. All others using the term ‘plastic’ to describe their specialty are simply 'surgical unicorns' – they don’t exist. At least, not in the eyes of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the official Board in the United States that accredits the 24 specialty Boards (to view the list go to: ABMS Member Boards). Many health care providers market themselves as ‘cosmetic surgeons’. Among those, it is critical to distinguish those with plastic surgery training from those with dental or other unrelated training – unless you’re comfortable with a dentist performing your breast augmentation or an OB/GYN performing your liposuction. Remember, when a surgeon tells you they are ‘board certified’, your next question should be ‘in what?’ The question after that should be 'by which Board?'
2. Trust proven technology. Techniques proven over time are the ones most likely to produce enduring results. There are multiple techniques of liposuction just as there are numerous facelift techniques and a myriad of approaches to rhinoplasty. Patients often make the mistake of seeking a technique rather than a result. Too many surgeons spend too many marketing dollars promoting the 'latest and greatest' unproven technology rather than focusing on developing true expertise with proven techniques. Only true expertise can result in versatility and the ability to incorporate worthwhile technology into one's practice as well as the ability to recognize overmarketed and underdeveloped technology which is nothing more than a gimmick and will not benefit one's patients.
3. Arriving at ‘in skin gratification’. It’s all about realistic expectations. At times it is necessary to cut through the fantasy to arrive at a goal that can be realistically achieved. It is critical to promise only what can be delivered and then to deliver it. But in order to do so, the surgeon and patient must be on the same page. So, prioritize your concerns. Refine your wish list. As the surgeon, I guide. As the patient, you decide. My goal is to point out how changing one structure (e.g., the nose) might make another more or less prominent (e.g., the chin) but not to modify your preference list. When asked, “What concerns you the most?” your response should always strive to identify the one thing that, if corrected or modified, would make you happy. Of course, secondary concerns should also be addressed but they, too, should be prioritized as that can influence the approach taken and the ultimate result achieved.
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Please note that unless you are actually my patient, in which case I have seen and evaluated you at JW Plastic Surgery, then I am technically not your doctor. These posts and responses to inquiries are provided for educational and entertainment purposes but cannot apply to any individual patient who has not been directly evaluated by myself or another Board-certified plastic surgeon.