City Profile Departments — 18 April 2014
Merits of cosmetic surgery vs. going natural

The world buzzed at the Oscars last month when some familiar faces on the red carpet appeared so, well, unfamiliar. Can cosmetic surgery help you look younger without looking unnatural?

By Robyn A. Friedman

Ruth Voluck has had cosmetic surgery. In December, she visited The Miami Institute for Age Management and Intervention, where she had a full facial lift, as well as procedures to her brows, eyes and neck, performed by Dr. Julio F. Gallo, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon. Although the recovery time was supposed to be six months, Voluck says she already looks and feels great.

“People don’t even know that I had a facelift,” she says. “I wanted something totally natural, and that was what I got.”

While it was important to Voluck to avoid the overstretched, frozen, lumpy, “plastic” look that makes some people unrecognizable after cosmetic surgery, others are not so careful. Nowhere was that more evident than at the recent Academy Awards, when 81-year-old Kim Novak and 68-year-old Goldie Hawn created significant buzz about their unnatural appearances.

That caused some headaches for local physicians.

“That stuff gives plastic surgery a bad name,” says Dr. Jacob Steiger, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon in Boca Raton. “There were many more people at the Oscars who had Botox or facelifts or nose jobs that looked totally natural, but nobody tweets or blogs about them.”

So what’s the secret to natural-looking results while still recapturing your youthful edge?

Select the right physician. “There are quality doctors and not-so-quality doctors,” Steiger says. “Seek out a doctor who has a good eye, good technique and good aesthetics. Don’t settle for the best price, or cheaper plastic surgery, because that’s what you will get in the end.” Interview several physicians to find one with whom you feel comfortable, and ask for patient referrals.

Adopt a conservative approach. Steiger says that patients seeking facial rejuvenation often opt to look from a couple of years younger to 10 to 15 years younger. “If you go beyond that, you’re going to look like a different person,” he says. Remember that with plastic surgery, more is not always better.

Let technology help. Some physicians use imaging systems, such as the Vectra XT. This system captures 3D face, breast and body images and allows you to better envision how you will look post-surgery. Watching as the enhancements are made provides both doctor and patient with opportunities to try things out, discuss options and work together to find the right procedure.

Take care of your skin now. Gallo says that hydrated, plump and elastic skin responds better to surgical techniques and is quicker to heal.

Consider all alternatives. There are many non-invasive or minimally invasive options available today to help rejuvenate faces, including Botox, fillers and lasers. Judicious use of these techniques may even prevent deep wrinkles from forming later.

Of course, aging gracefully is always an option as well. Meryl Streep still looks great at age 64. And Raquel Welch, who at 73 has denied having any plastic surgery, remains one of the most beautiful women in the world.

“Like everything in life, there is a balance,” Steiger says. “Today we can age gracefully with a little help from a plastic surgeon.”


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