facelift
Cosmetic Surgery

Questions You Have Probably Always Wanted to Ask About Cosmetic Surgery and Procedures

Terms like Botox, filler, liposuction, facelift, and breast implants have become a common part of our lexicon. Yet even though we all seem to have a familiarity with cosmetic surgery, or have undergone procedures ourselves, you probably still have questions. Here are the answers you need: 

Is there a non-surgical option to a nose job?

Rhinoplasty:  Over 350,000 people in the US each year undergo this surgery making it one of the most common plastic surgeries.

What is it?   Rhinoplasty is nose shaping surgery commonly performed for patients who want to improve the appearance of their noses either for cosmetic reasons, after accidents, to improve the airways for better breathing.

Is there a non-surgical procedure/option?  Sometimes injectable fillers such as collagen or calcium hydroxyapatite or fat taken from another part of the body can be used to enhance the look of the nose. This is called “injection rhinoplasty” and is an alternate option to surgery when appropriate.  

If I have fat removed through liposuction, will it reappear elsewhere?

Liposuction completely removes fat cells from a specific area of the body. However, if you gain weight, fat cells in other parts of your body will expand. This means areas that are not normally fat, such as your wrists, may gain weight. Liposuction isn’t about weight loss. You’re usually just taking off a couple of pounds. Liposuction is about contouring. So if you’re bothered by having hips that are out of balance with the rest of your body, liposuction will in all likelihood work for you even if the pounds return. Your body will be more symmetrical.” 

After repeated Botox injections, will facial muscles ever lose the ability to frown?

No. You may need less Botox over the years, but if you stop having injections, frown lines will return. Regularly paralyzed muscles don’t forget how to frown, unless they lose their nerve supply altogether. However, the habit may be modified if it is difficult for the brain to activate these muscles and gradually habitual frowning may diminish simply through lack of use.

How long does it take to recover from cosmetic surgery?

There is a difference between being back on your feet and complete recovery. With make-up, you’ll be presentable two weeks after a facelift, but full recovery can take six months. Most of the swelling with breast reduction disappears within two weeks, but it will be up to nine months before you’re back to normal. After liposuction, you have to spend three weeks wearing very tight bandages over the areas treated. This can be hot, uncomfortable, and embarrassing. It may even affect everyday activities such as using the lavatory. Laser peels require the most dedication. Your face will have been stripped of its top layers of skin and you will be left with a bright red, oozing face. You have to clean the skin to remove any scabs and re-apply special burn cream many times during the day and night.” 

Is it always possible to change something about your body?

As a plastic surgeon who has operated on thousands of patients, I honestly try to do anything reasonable to make it better, if it’s possible to improve it. The problem comes when it’s not possible to improve it. Sometimes you can’t take away scars. Areas of the body could be botched beyond repair from previous plastic surgery. You can’t always change what genetics gave you. Sometimes people have Body Dysmorphic Disorder and have a skewed, unrealistic view of how they look. These are the most difficult cases.

Should I place my implant over or under the muscle?

Breast implants can be placed over or under the muscle on the chest. There are advantages to both. During your consultation, your physician will explain your options and make some recommendations for your lifestyle, body type, and desired results.

Does Botox prevent wrinkles?

Absolutely. Botox, and competitors like Dysport and Xeomin, are highly purified toxins that can temporarily erase or reduce horizontal forehead lines, vertical frown lines, and crow’s feet. The injections slow muscles that contract hundreds of times a day, eventually etching lines in the skin. Botox can also lift the corners of the mouth that sag with age, smooth out the “pin cushion” look in some chins, soften smoker’s lines around the mouth, and soften vertical neck cords.

How long do the results of a facelift last?

Some women believe that if they have a face-lift, they are doomed to repeat the operation in a few years. In fact, a lift lasts between five and ten years, with seven years being the average. By then some of the changes of aging will have returned. Surgery for facial rejuvenation is an ongoing process, with periodic maintenance. And ten years later a woman who has had a face-lift will be better off than if she had not.

What is the optimal age for a first face lift?

Facial aging changes start to become noticeable in the late 30’s for most people. As these changes progress through the 40’s and 50’s, deep facial lines caused by skin folds and loss of facial volume from fat loss create permanent skin changes that are difficult to correct with a facelift alone. Taking action early, in your 40’s or 50’s by having a facelift or volume enhancement with fillers or fat will help prevent these permanent changes.

Generally speaking, people in their 40’s and 50’s are healthier with fewer medical issues than people over 60, and younger people are generally better candidates for elective surgery such as a facelift and recover more easily.”

 Dr. John Zannis is a New Bern, North Carolina board-certified plastic surgeon and best selling author. A graduate of Stanford University and The University of Cincinnati Medical College, he received his formal training in General Surgery and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina under the guidance of world-renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Louis Argenta. During this time, he performed over 5,000 surgical procedures and covered all aspects of plastic surgery including cosmetic surgery of the face and body, complex reconstructive procedures of face and body, cleft lip and palate surgery, hand surgery, facial and jaw fracture repair, and reconstruction following massive weight loss. He blends his interests and studies of classical art and symmetry to his surgery practices. Connect with him via twitter @JohnZannisMD or his website www.zannisplasticsurgery.com