Improve Your Business Prospects with Plastic Surgery in Baltimore
With current economic downturns, uncertainty in the financial forecast and high unemployment rates reaching about 10% nationally, employees in the workplace struggle to optimize security of their employment position. One approach is to present the best possible face one can, projecting an image of energy, enthusiasm, fitness and health, otherwise known as “survival of the fittest.” Physical characteristics translate into perception of abilities. Some say perception is reality, and while this is debatable, perception can certainly impact reality.
Gaining control of others’ perceptions of one’s work-related fitness is a primary reason individuals seek plastic surgery. Physical manifestations of aging can negatively impact impressions. Focusing on the face, deflation and sagging of soft tissues, gradual resorption of the bony skeleton, and environmental damage to the skin result in a tired, mean, and/or haggard appearance that might directly contradict what the individual feels inside. While changes accompanying aging are often involuntary and hereditary in nature, the impact of appearance may affect leadership decisions within an organization, including promotions, hirings and firings. While there is no hard data to support this, the American Disabilities Act focuses on issues related to age discrimination for a reason.
Plastic surgery done well can result in a rejuvenated appearance that is refreshed, turning back the hands of time. The goal is enhancement, not a dramatic change, in appearance. Individuals pursuing plastic surgery generally aim to re-enter the workplace without overt detection of a difference, except for those around them noting a more rested, refreshed visage that could come secondary to a well needed, relaxing vacation.
Plastic surgery procedures range from minimally invasive to surgical. Minimally invasive facial procedures can be performed in an outpatient clinic visit, and despite the relatively small investment in time and money, can result in surprisingly remarkable rejuvenation and enhancement. Numbers of individuals pursuing minimally invasive remedies are growing, as evidenced by data provided by the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS). Minimally invasive methods of rejuvenation include skin care programs, microdermabrasion, laser and light-assisted therapies, and application of “injectibles.”
Smoothing the skin through skin care, microdermabrasion, and laser and light therapies improves the appearance of the skin. Skin care programs focus on gradual improvement of skin health and constitute a program of products and/or prescription treatments. These programs may take up to 2 months to achieve skin turnover and reversal of superficial trauma to the skin incurred by the sun and pollution. Retin A, solaquin, glycolic acid and fruity acids may accompany such programs to provide more muscle. Microdermabrasion describes the use of a machine to essentially “sandblast” the skin to achieve a smoother texture and remove surface layers of dead skin and debris that impair skin appearance. Laser and light-assisted therapy require highly specialized technology to provide more dramatic removal and turnover of the superficial skin layers, resulting in healing and improved collagen organization and elasticity. This treatment may result in redness and/or swelling requiring several days of recovery. Not everyone is a great candidate for all therapies and each one must be considered when thinking about medical issues, safety, and desired degree of rejuvenation and improvement. In general, the less investment in time and money, the more moderate the degree of correction.
Injectibles like Perlane, Restylane, Juvederm, Dysport, Botox and Sculptra are a growing industry, and advertisements for these products are becoming more prevalent in the popular media. Wrinkles in the face are caused by muscle action on the skin, like seen around the eyes in “crow’s feet,” “laugh lines,” and “frown lines”; deflation of the soft tissues, like seen in “marionette lines,” thinned lips, and jowling along the jawline; or surface irregularity, like seen in acne scarring. Injectible treatments providing facial rejuvenation include paralytics which reduce muscle action, decreasing fine lines and wrinkles; and fillers, which add volume under folds and wrinkles to more closely approximate a youthful look. Botulinum toxin paralyzes muscles, and commercial products approved for use in the United States include Botox and Dysport. These products are routinely used to address deep furrows between the brows, along the root of the nose, in the forehead and outside of the eye. Injectible fillers differ in composition, but commonly used are those containing hyaluronic acid, a natural component in the skin and commercially known as Juvederm, Restylane and Perlane; and polylactic acid (PLLA), commercially known as Sculptra, a product which triggers thickening of the deeper tissues. Botulinum toxin and fillers require only an outpatient office visit and may result in several days of redness or swelling. Use of injectible products applies across a broad age range, and individuals may actually choose to start in their 20’s. The effect of these products may wear off within 6 months to a year, and individuals may choose to return for further treatment to regain the effects. Safety is critical, and applies across the full spectrum of minimally invasive treatments. Products must be approved for use in the United States, and must be administered by an experienced medical professional, preferably board certified by an American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) recognized board.
While there are excellent options in the minimally invasive treatment category, surgical treatment in an operating room with anesthesia support tends to provide one stop shopping and long term improvement with more tangible correction. Individuals often present to address their eyes, face and neck. Blepharoplasty, plastic surgery of the eyelids, can reduce the skin excess and fullness around the eye resulting from protrusion of the fat that cushions the eye. Browlift can raise the level of the brow to open the eye and reduce the weight of the brow on the eye. Incisions for blepharoplasty and browlift are minimal and hidden. Facelifting is performed through a variety of techniques and with a variety of incisions, but the maneuvers performed in this surgery are essentially universal, including improvement of underlying soft tissue support and tightness, with removal of overlying skin excess and laxity. Facelifting may be paired with fat grafting of the folds between the nose and outer corners of the lip, marionette lines and the lips to add further volume that is lost with age. Fat may be harvested from the abdomen or other body regions, and transferred to the face. Long term take tends to be very good as long as meticulous care is taken of the fat. Some individuals get dermabrasion to smooth skin irregularities and fine lines related to scarring and history of smoking. Necklifting is also often performed in conjunction with facelift, as many individuals seek improvement in the jawline and smoothness of the neck muscles which split and form visible cords with age. Surgical treatments result in clear rejuvenative results that should not require multiple treatments to achieve long term improvement. While recovery may take longer and initial financial outlay may be greater, there should not be a need for multiple visits over a long period of time.
Anyone seeking rejuvenation requires an individualized treatment plan which should be designed with a board certified medical provider, ideally one who has no conflict of interest and can provide a full spectrum of options. End goals should be clear and dictate the plan. Risks and benefits should be discussed in full. Safety is the number one priority: safety in provision of care and safety in provision of proper products and technology. Not everyone is a good candidate considering safety and optimal outcomes, and a direct dialogue with the board certified physician is very important.
People come to the United States from all over the world to seek the best possible medical care. Unfortunately there is a growing trend of people leaving the United States for cheaper medical care, known as medical tourism. Wooed by the concept of a vacation paired with surgery, the public should be wary of what a foreign medical provider can offer. Lack of governmental regulation and long term followup are big issues resulting in severe consequences for someone looking for a cheaper alternative.
In conclusion, while plastic surgery is not a definitive antidote to ensure employment security, it may be worth considering in a competitive work environment. Facial rejuvenation procedures, ranging from minimally invasive to surgical, may be performed safely and effectively, in the right hands and with a well thought out plan. The degree of improvement desired and safety concerns dictate the medical plan which should be determined with the help of a board-certified medical provider.
Michele A. Shermak, M.D., FACS, is a board certified plastic surgeon who is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) and American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), and practices in Lutherville, Maryland and Baltimore, Maryland. She is affiliated with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.