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Face Decisions: Surgical or Non-Surgical

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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.

The Case for Non-Surgical Procedures

On the other hand, there are patients who come in for their very first appointment, or who may have been patients for years, that are surprised to find that neurotoxins, like Botox®, and dermal fillers can address a wide range of concerns. While the mainstream perception of injectables tends to paint a picture of frozen faces and heavily exaggerated features, the dedicated Spa Medical patient knows that this is not the case.

In fact, injectables can be used to treat a wide variety of features. For example, dermal fillers can be used to treat cheeks, lips, chin, jawline, and even earlobes! And Botox® and other similar neurotoxins can address forehead lines, frown lines, crow’s feet, and even your masseter muscle for those who have TMJ.

In the hands of a skilled injector, the possibilities are almost endless with injectable treatments. That is why we often recommend patients come in for a complimentary consult prior to their first treatment. During this consult, providers can discuss options and get to know patient’s aesthetic goals.

However, for those patients that are weighing the decision between surgical or non-surgical, these are the points I like to discuss with them:

  1. Expense I hate to list that first, but in my market, it is the first question patients ask. Obviously, a surgical procedure has a greater initial investment. Initial is the key word, however. If the patient is late forties or early 50s, the long-term investment for maintenance of non-surgical procedures must be considered. For instance, I can get an excellent result on reshaping the face when skin starts to sag, cheeks are flat, jaw line loses definition, tear troughs are present, lips need definition and enhancement, chin needs augmenting. But it may take several syringes of filler adding up to $4000+ and lasting, hopefully a year or two. It looks really great- for a time and then we do it all over again. After 2-3 repeated treatments, a more permanent surgical procedure could have been performed for the same investment.
  2. Downtime One of the most enticing things about non-surgical treatments is the little to no downtime. Literally, most patients can go back to work, out to dinner or meet with friends or co-workers following their non-surgical treatment.
  3. Longevity The trade off for no downtime and expense is longevity. Though fillers will last longer than neuromodulators, like Botox®, they are still considered temporary and will fade soon; usually sooner than you want.

It’s Just 3 Easy Steps…

make an appointment

to receive a customized treatment plan

enjoy a relaxing environment

during your treatment/procedure

Look & Feel Younger

because you deserve it

It’s Just 3 Easy Steps…

make an appointment

to receive a customized treatment plan

enjoy a relaxing environment

during your treatment/procedure

Look & Feel Younger

because you deserve it

 

Someone said, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”  When you Face Decisions about your face or body, talk to a practitioner who will be honest and help guide you to the best treatment, whether it is their expertise or not.  The decision may be different than your original plan, but exactly the outcome you want!

2020 Statistics

From the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS)

Top 5 Surgical Procedures

  1. Liposuction
  2. Breast Augmentation
  3. Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
  4. Removal/Replacement Breast Implants
  5. Mastopexy (Breast Lift)

Top 5 Non-Surgical Procedures

  1. Neurotoxins
  2. Dermal Filler
  3. Skin Treatments (Hydrafacial, Chemical Peels)
  4. Lasers
  5. Hair Removal
If you’re ready to achieve your aesthetic goals, call us at (478) 743-2299 and get started with our team voted Best Medical Spa and Best Plastic Surgeon for 2021.

Spa Medical® is located in downtown Macon, Ga and offers surgical and non-surgical anti-aging procedures to help you look as young as you feel.

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