Those of you who are Vogue aficionados may have seen Dodie Kazanjian’s comprehensive piece on her journey to have (or not have) a facelift in the magazine’s January 2011 issue. It’s really worth a read — an educational, entertaining real time account of a decision many women consider at one time or another.
Dodie, a multifaceted writer with boundless energy whom I know from previous collaborations, left a message in my office a few months ago. “Can you give me your opinion?” she asked. “I may write about it if I decide to move forward.” A surgeon, no matter how known or accomplished, is of course flattered to be sought out by the celebrated Dodie (who not only knows everything and everyone in beauty, but comes from a long pedigree of medical expertise: her great uncle was a pioneer of plastic surgery).
I was riveted by her piece. First of all, she saw different surgeons and got totally different opinions! When I say different, I mean literally opposite advice. One surgeon recommended his deep plane approach, while I told her there were no studies that prove either technique was superior – and that in fact, there were studies to the contrary, so I recommended a different technique. One surgeon told her to do a browlift, while I banned her from doing one! One was focused on surgery, while I implied that if any surgery were done, it would have to be minimal.
Reading this engaging account made me realize that Dodie’s experience must be typical of what many women experience in their quest to find out the enhancement options that are best for them. So here’s my take on what you should do, should you ever decide to investigate your options for your face (or for the body, for that matter).
- See more than one doctor — and preferably two or three
- Make sure that the doctors you consult are experienced in both surgery and new technologies – and that they are honest enough to admit what they can and cannot do.
- If anyone tells you they developed or invented a technique, ask to see the scientific paper they published on it — and whether it was peer reviewed and Medline referenced.
- If a doctor tells you that any one technique (especially one they developed) is better than another one for the same purpose, ask why and ask for some proof.
- Common sense is common sense. If what is being proposed doesn’t make sense to you or is at odds with your vision, don’t do it.
- If you feel pressured, worry.
- If the doctor’s ego is so big that there is no room for yours, worry.
As for Dodie, she decided against surgery and went for some volume enhancement – i.e., injections. That was what she felt comfortable with so in fact that is what was right for HER. Which brings me to what I have said many times before:
- We plastic surgeons are in the business of making people feel better, and not necessarily just look better, by achieving their goals, and not ours and
- It is our job to educate our patients about their options and what they can benefit from.
I would love to hear about your own experiences, and hope you’ll share them here.
Editor’s Note: Dr. Haideh Hirmand is a noted plastic surgeon, academic and thought leader in the aesthetic and beauty arenas. She completed her doctorate in medicine at Harvard and is clinical assistant professor of surgery at the The New York Hospital/Cornell-Weill Medical Center. She specializes in eyelid and facial rejuvenation, secondary breast surgery, body contouring and is recognized nationally as a pioneer in injection techniques.