What are my personal expectations of rejuvenation surgery and are they realistic?
Rejuvenation surgery, like any surgery, is associated with its own risks and unfavourable outcomes. A good surgeon will take the time to discuss these with you so that you can make an informed reasoned decision on whether or not you wish to proceed with surgery (informed consent).
For this reason, people considering undertaking rejuvenation surgery should think long and hard about why they personally wish to look younger and develop realistic expectations for the likely final outcome. Good outcomes and happy patients not only result from good surgery but also realistic patient expectations.
Without a doubt, rejuvenation surgery is becoming increasingly popular around the world and on the whole it is very successful.
Unfortunately, the proliferation of cosmetic surgery has somewhat been trivialised and fuelled on by the media. Nowadays, a face lift or tummy tuck seem almost as trivial as a dental polish or a new hairdo. Indeed, cosmetic surgical procedures are shown with simultaneous dental work, new hair and fashion accessories as an instant makeover. Much of this trivialisation has been brought on by heavy marketing by a highly competitive and lucrative market for cosmetic surgery particularly in the USA, which is now emerging in Europe.
Cosmetic Surgery does not equal Plastic Surgery!
Cosmetic/aesthetic surgery revolves around surgery to improve the appearance of a physical characteristic. Contrary to public perceptions, cosmetic surgery is not performed only by general plastic surgeons. Indeed, much of this perception has evolved due to heavy commercial marketing often by the plastic surgeons themselves. In fact, much cosmetic surgery is performed by non-plastic surgeons. Both in the UK and USA, many types of surgeons usually start to develop an interest in cosmetic surgery after training first in their main branch of surgery.
For example, some general surgeons who have a special interest in breast surgery in the NHS, first develop their skills in functional breast surgery e.g. breast biopsies, before going on to developing an interest in cosmetic breast surgery in the private sector.
Some ear, nose and throat surgeons (ENT) train first in specialised cancer work of the ears and nose often in the NHS and then develop an interest in cosmetic surgery of the same areas in the private sector.
Some doctors who have trained in dentistry have a special interest in surgery of the bones of the face, and as part of their routine work become expert in surgery of the skin and muscles of the face. From these Maxillofacial surgeons they then develop an interest in performing cosmetic surgery e.g. facelifts.
Not all plastic surgeons perform cosmetic surgery and not all cosmetic surgeons are plastic surgeons!
Oculoplastic & Oculofacial Surgeons
Oculoplastic surgeons are doctors who train in general ophthalmology first (medicine and surgery of the eye) and then subspecialise in surgery of the eyelids. Only after many years of training in surgery of the eyelids do most oculoplastic surgeons then offer cosmetic surgery privately in the UK. On the whole, most oculoplastic surgeons do not offer surgery anywhere else but around the eyelid region. As part of their work, some oculoplastic surgeons also offer upper face (brow) lifts and midface (cheek) lifts.
It is therefore vital to be aware that each surgeon has his/her own subspecialty interest on which they concentrate most of the time. For this reason, it is ideal that the surgeon you choose to perform a particular procedure is not just capable but expert in performing a particular procedure. For example, some plastic surgeons, although excellent at hand reconstruction,are less capable at ear reconstruction. For this reason it is less important to know how your surgeon became expert i.e. from a general plastic, maxillofacial, or oculoplastic surgical training background, but that he/she has become expert in that procedure through continued regular performance of that procedure.
A good oculoplastic surgeon is expert at eyelid and periocular surgery. For this very reason, patients who develop uncommon complications and unfavourable outcomes, such as hollow eye syndrome, postoperative eyelid malposition, are therefore referred to oculoplastic surgeons for further management. In the rare event of complications occuring e.g. orbital haemorrhage during blepharoplasty, a competent oculoplastic surgeon should be able to manage this promptly, to prevent blindness. For the same reasons, oculoplastic surgeons are often able to a more bespoke approach to rejuvenation and cosmetic improvement of a patient’s eyelids e.g. simultaneous correction of ptosis (droopy lids), canthal tendon tightening, orbital fat draping, etc.