Cosmetic plastic surgery is now more than a $10 billion a year industry in the United States that has seen increases in number of procedures across all age groups. The largest growing population of patients, however, are those in their later years. Due to Americans being healthier, living longer and being more active later in life, millions of them want their looks to keep pace with how they feel. As a result, many are turning to cosmetic surgery to help them look younger and feel better about themselves.
In 2010, over 600,000 Americans age 65 or older choose to undergo some form of cosmetic surgery. Compared to ten years ago, that is a five times increase in number of procedures done. However a significant of these procedures, and a big reason for the large surge in numbers being done, is not actual surgery. In the interest of of wanting to look younger and fresher, many are going the injectable route choosing such popular products as Botox and Juvederm. While not as effective as surgery, they do help give one an extra edge in their appearance by decreasing frowning and plumping up certain wrinkles and folds.
Such injectable procedures involve only a minimal amount of discomfort by being placed right under the skin. Between wrinkle reduction and tissue plumping, these injections help give the face a smoother more youthful appearance. These are all procedures that can be done fairly quickly with a limited recovery time and are more economical options compared to surgery. When combined with a variety of available skin refreshening procedures such as chemical peels and light laser resurfacing, one can really take off a few years with next to no recovery or downtime.
While injectable treatments have lead the way in number of procedures for older Americans, ironically they are not the most effective given the amount of aging changes that are usually present. Injectables are more effective in younger patients simply because they have less wrinkles, lines and sagging skin. This is why surgery is also growing in numbers for the Baby Boomer generation with popular procedures being eyelid tucks, browlifts, and face and neck lifts. These anti-aging facial plastic surgery procedures can be done alone or, ideally in combination with surgery, to remove loose and sagging skin that creeps its way across our faces as we age.
We all look for that extra something to look and feel better as we age. My older and more mature patients clients are traveling, playing sports, exercising and doing all of the right things in life to look, feel and stay young. But, unfortunately as we age, all of the activity and exercise won’t make your face look any better. Looking better requires a effort, just of a different kind than that of feeling better.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: I am a male who is unhappy with the result of my facelift. My plastic surgeon was way too aggressive when he performed a SMAS rhytidectomy three years ago. The outcome from this facelift looks very unnatural and I know it. I get a lot of eye popping stares from women which leaves me feeling very uncomfortable. What was supposed to be a facial rejuvenation for the better has in fact turned out to be something for the worse. When making my concerns known to my plastic surgeon he told me,” look at many other male celebrities, you don’t look like them”. I did not find these words very consoling. Is there any way now to improve the result of my facelift to make it look more natural?
A: Facelifting in men is a bit different than in women. It is easy to overdo a facelift in a man and create a very unnatural result. There are many male celebrities that exhibit this look. What is it that makes them look this way? It is actually not the facelift result per se. A facelift technically is just a neck and jowl procedure. That is not what makes the unnatural look. As part of many facelifts, other procedures are done with it such as eyelids (blepharoplasty) and browlifts. This part of the ‘facelift’ which occurs around the eyes can make for ‘eye popping stares’. Brows that are lifted too high and too much eyelid skin removed (eyes that are too ‘tight’) can make the entire periorbital area look unnatural. Since the eyes are a focal point in conversation, this is a hard area to hide.
Unfortunately, there is no surgery to undo the results of a facelift and its associated procedures. Time, however, will help with some facial skin relaxation and returning to a more natural aging look for a man.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: I am interested in a brow lift or botox treatment…maybe a facelift. I am 43 years old and I believe I look ten years older. Do you know if I could try one procedure now and then gradually work up to a progressive series of surgeries?
A: The wonderful thing about the many procedures for facial rejuvenation is that both small and big changes can be done. And the procedures can be customized to how much one wants to do, how much one wants to spend, and how much recovery one can allow. Since facial aging is a progressive phenomenon, younger patients will need smaller procedures while bigger changes are reserved for those with more loose skin and wrinkles.
Since you have never had any of these cosmetic procedures before, it is understandable that one often does not know where to start. To ‘put your toe in the water’ so to speak, doing something non-surgical like Botox or injectable fillers is a good way to start. One can venture ‘further into the pool’ with laser treatments and even facelift surgery at a later date. A progressive approach to facial aging treatments is both reasonable and prudent.
Always start with the facial concerns that bothers you the most. To get started, it is helpful to meet with a plastic surgeon and have an educational session about what is appropriate now and what may be beneficial in the future.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Plastic surgery continues to grow in popularity as evidenced by the statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgery over the past decade. Surgical procedures as well as non-surgical cosmetic office treatments have increased every year since 2000. With the explosion of the internet and other communication mediums, a tremendous amount of information about plastic surgery is available at the click of a mouse from anywhere in the world.
But like much on the internet, news magazines, and product brochures, what can you believe? How do you separate reality from the marketing hype? How can you decide what are the best treatment options for your facial concerns?
Dr. Barry Eppley, board-certified plastic surgeon of Indianapolis, takes you on a tour of facial plastic surgery. Covering dozens of the most popular cosmetic surgeries and treatments of the face, Dr. Eppley talks plainly about his experience and observations. From facelifts and nosejobs to injectable fillers, Dr. Eppley writes from his own extensive plastic surgery experience of the face, and provides insights into what many cosmetic procedures are, and what they actually do.
The desire to feel beautifully confident at any age is a natural one. Seeking plastic surgery ‘assistance’ is not vain or trivial. It is a major decision that requires forethought and preparation. Whether you are still considering if plastic surgery is right for your face, have an upcoming consultation with a plastic surgeon, or are planning a procedure in the future, Dr. Eppley prepares you to ask better questions and Face The Facts!