Wednesday, July 21st, 2021
by Terri Harper, FNP-C
We all face 1000s of decisions everyday regarding everything we do. Even the little, seemingly insignificant decisions regarding our appearance, clothing, hair, makeup, and skincare, shape how we perceive ourselves and how we are perceived by others. Ladies, you know what a good hair day can do for your confidence and how a small, red, bump on your face can mess with your insecurities. Sometimes those decisions regarding our face are between surgical or non-surgical procedures.
According to the American Society of Aesthetics Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) both types of cosmetic procedures, surgical and non-surgical, continue to rise, even in infamous 2020. Several reasons for the rise in cosmetic treatments have been offered, including stimulus checks, the need to do something to feel better about ourselves midst a pandemic, and available downtime to recover. Personally, I heard from a number of patients who “could not stand to look” at themselves in the numerous Zoom meetings which became the new ‘workplace.’
I see 20 -25 women most workdays who are asking advice on decisions about their face. In full disclosure, I am a nurse practitioner whose expertise is in non-surgical medical cosmetic procedures. When patients sit in my treatment chair, they come to me expecting to have a non-surgical medical cosmetic procedure, and most do. However, there are patients, several a week, who come just to hear my opinion on what they need to do to reach their aesthetic goals. I love those consults!
The Case for Surgical Procedures
When people tell me what they want, I have a good idea of what it will take to get them there. Many times, it is NOT non-surgical, but a surgical procedure that is indicated for them. For instance, when a 50+ year old sits on the exam chair and starts pulling her skin taut at the jaw line, that is a surgical procedure. Or when they start lifting their eye brows in order to see their eye make up, they likely need a upper lid surgical procedure. Some women attempt to go the easy route with a body shaping device to get rid of tummy fat when they need a surgical tummy tuck. These decisions are easy. In order to get the outcome desired, they need surgery. Period. Botox®, dermal fillers and devices are great, but there are limitations. Consequently, I refer several patients a week for a surgical consult.
There is a process I use to help guide my patients to a good decision. First of all, I will ask them if a surgical procedure is anywhere on their radar. If the answer is an emphatic, “No! I will never have _______, a face lift, brow lift, tummy tuck, etc.” I then am prepared to create a treatment plan for the long haul. Next, education is the key for proper expectations. If their goal includes something non-surgical procedures can never achieve, I explain why they are wasting time and money on anything but surgery. Some patients in the first “No!” group, likely have no clue about the surgical procedures offered, including anesthesia, recovery, downtime and outcomes. Again, education is the key to making the best decision.