Plastic surgery is essentially the repositioning or molding of tissue and involves both reconstructive and aesthetic surgery. The word “plastic” is actually derived from the Greek word “plastikos” which means “to mold.”
Cosmetic or aesthetic surgery is intended to enhance a person’s appearance. It is often undergone to reverse or counter the effects or visible signs of aging. This is different from reconstructive surgery, which is designed to restore the original form of a structure or to repair an essential function of the body. Reconstructive surgery would be used in instances of physical deformities due to previous surgery, disease, injury or birth defects.
Reconstructive and cosmetic surgeries are often performed at the same time. For example, if a patient is undergoing surgery for an obstructed nasal airway, a functional issue, he or she may also choose to make cosmetic improvements to the external contours of the nose, an aesthetic choice.
There is a range of techniques used to reposition or remove tissue during both reconstructive and cosmetic procedures. These may include laser surgery, chemosurgery, dermabrasion, surgical incision and excision, tissue repositioning and electrosurgery.
General Plastic Surgeons vs. Facial Plastic Surgeons
All physicians undergo the same basic training: a four-year undergraduate degree (BA or BS), four years of medical school (MD) and at least one year of a residency, which is sometimes called an internship. After this is complete, a medical or surgical specialty is chosen and training is tailored to that path. For this reason, dermatologists are not classified as surgeons because their advanced medical training does not include education in invasive surgical procedures.
Two specialities that are closely related are general plastic surgery and facial plastic surgery. Surgeons in either specialty both complete a general surgery internship after they receive their medical degrees. This internship includes experience in the most common surgeries such as appendectomies, hernia repairs and gallbladder removals. This training familiarizes a young physician with the basics of surgical techniques, but neither general plastic surgeons nor facial plastic surgeons will continue to perform these procedures in their practices. They will also emphasize different training based on their chosen medical paths as you can see in the breakdown below.
General Plastic Surgeon Advanced Training
- 3 to 5 years of a general surgery internship or residency
- 2 years of plastic surgery
Facial Plastic Surgeon Advanced Training
- 1 to 2 years of general surgery internship or residency
- 4 years specialty training in head and neck surgery and facial plastic surgery
This means that Dr. Simoni’s final four years of medical training focused exclusively on the pathology, physiology and anatomy of the face, head and neck structures. This intense concentration provides facial plastic surgeons with extremely thorough backgrounds in facial procedures. These procedures tend to be more demanding in terms of skill required so facial surgeons are often more experienced in the range these procedures than general plastic surgeons. Facial surgeons actually perform the majority of elective facial cosmetic surgery procedures in the US.
For additional comparison, general plastic surgeons may perform a much broader range of procedures during their shorter plastic surgery residency. The majority of cosmetic body procedures, such as liposuction, tummy tucks, breast augmentation and reduction, etc., are performed by general plastic surgeons.
Facial plastic surgery has become extremely popular world over. More than four million people per year in the United States alone choose to undergo facial plastic surgery to improve their appearance and thus their quality of life. More than ¼ of these people were men. Because our image does affect the way we feel about ourselves and thus our general outlook and mood, facial plastic surgery can help us look and feel our best.
Some people feel that one of their features is not ideal and may spend a lot of time thinking about it. Maybe they would like a smaller nose, a stronger chin or ears that don’t protrude as far. In other cases, people may feel that age has taken its toll on their appearance and would like to address wrinkles, a sagging neck or drooping eyelids so they look more like themselves. Cosmetic facial procedures are also chosen to correct irregular skin from acne or unsightly scars.
Modern surgical techniques have made plastic surgery for the face safe, affordable and effective. More and more people are choosing to take advantage of these procedures, not just those who are wealthy or constantly in the spotlight.
It is important to learn as much as possible about your procedure before making your final decision as to whether or not you would like plastic surgery. Part of this process is assessing your own expectations and attitudes about facial plastic surgery in order to ensure you have realistic expectations and that you are electing to undergo a facial cosmetic surgery procedure for the right reasons. You should also make sure you understand the risks and costs involved.
As you are going through Dr. Simoni’s website, keep a list of questions that come up in your mind so that you can go over these with Dr. Simoni during your consultation. We have found that prepared and informed patients have the best surgical experiences.
Your consultation with Dr. Simoni is a special time set aside especially for you to explore all of your options regarding facial plastic surgery. This is your time to discuss the improvements you are considering for your face and get a professional opinion on what would be the best procedures to achieve your image goals.
Dr. Simoni can discuss expected outcomes along with any alternatives, risks and limitations to the procedure in question. During your visit, Dr. Simoni will take photographs to record your facial features, which will become part of your confidential medical record and will be used to aid in the planning of your surgery. These can also be used in a “before and after” photo comparison to more vividly see your results. You will also have the opportunity to view possible outcomes using advanced 3D virtual imaging software to see what results you can realistically expect.
An essential prerequisite to undergoing any type of facial plastic surgery successfully is having realistic expectations and goals as to what your outcome will be. Facial features can be refined and shaped, but it’s important to understand that a single face surgery will not change the way you look entirely. Most facial plastic surgeons have the goal of making sure their patients are recognizable to their friends and family. They simply enhance the natural features of their patients to a more aesthetic shape or profile. The intention of most facial plastic surgeries is to enhance the appearance, restore function or improve facial harmony.
Facial surgery can correct a physical dysfunction or improve a person’s appearance, but it is important to understand that it will not give you an entirely new face or solve personal problems.
Expecting to wake up looking like a celebrity or a model is outside the bounds of realistic surgical expectations and exceeds the scope of facial plastic surgery.
Facial plastic surgery results depend on a variety of factors. Some of these depend on the patient, not simply the skill of the surgeon. These factors include the patient’s age, overall health, diet and nutrition, bone structure, skin texture and specific history and needs. Every effort will be made to achieve the desired result, but it is important that you and your surgeon are on the same page regarding what is possible to achieve with your procedures.
All surgeries involve some risk, even if you are simply getting a tooth pulled. By risk, we are referring not only to medical complications but also the potential that the patient will not be completely satisfied with their appearance even after surgery. Risk of disappointment can be mitigated by open communication with your surgeon during your consultation and prior to surgery. Computer imaging is an excellent consultation aid and will facilitate communication with your surgeon.
While there are expected effects such as bruising, swelling, etc. during the healing process, physical risks associated with plastic surgery are usually minimal. The four basis risks are scarring, infection, reactions to anesthesia and bleeding.
All incisions will result in a scar as this is the body’s way of healing itself and knitting a wound together. Scarring can be minimizing by meticulous surgical technique and the placement of incisions so they are as inconspicuous as possible.
The risk of infection can be minimized by carefully following your doctor’s instructions for postoperative wound care and through the use of antibiotics.
Reactions to anesthesia can be managed through skilled application and management of this medication by a trained anesthesiologist. Dr. Simoni also specializes in cosmetic treatments that require only local anesthesia, including the Simoni Lift.
Operative bleeding can be minimized by meticulous surgical technique. This usually manifests as a bruise which will fade. Other risks include poor healing, injury to nerves or muscles and adverse reactions to medication.
While every activity we participate in has some degree of risk, facial plastic surgery is quite safe and these risks are weighed against a high degree of patient satisfaction, which is one of the reasons this type of surgery is very popular today.
Both twilight anesthesia and general anesthesia are available to all patients. Anesthesia is performed by certified anesthesiologists in the interest of safety, comfort and ease of recovery. Most surgical procedures performed at Dr. Simoni’s office do not require general anesthesia.
Surgical fees for plastic surgery vary depending upon the procedure you are undergoing and the extent of surgery required. For this reason, fees are discussed during the financial consultation portion of your visit. All cosmetic surgery fees are paid in full prior to the date of your surgery, as is customary with elective cosmetic surgery.
This ensures the patient is not undergoing a procedure they cannot afford and that they are sincere about going forward with the process. Surgical fees do not include other costs such as preoperative lab studies or testing or medications for postoperative care. We can consult you on these expenses so you get an accurate picture of the total costs you will be incurring.
In some instances, your insurance may cover some expenses. For example, when tissue is removed, such as moles or cysts, these must be sent to a pathologist for evaluation. There is a separate fee billed from the pathology lab for this, but most often your insurance will cover these expenses.
Expenses and costs connected with plastic surgery are not covered by medical health insurance. However, if the surgery improves function, such as a breathing issue, your insurance may cover a portion of the surgical expense. Prior to your surgery, Dr. Simoni’s staff can help you with the application process to apply for reimbursement of surgical expenses if your procedure will have a functional impact on your life. We can provide the appropriate forms and documentation on your procedure for submission to your insurance company. It is important to remember that ultimately the patient is responsible for any and all charges incurred, whether or not they are covered by insurance.
When you decide to do a cosmetic surgery procedure with Dr. Simoni, a pre-surgical appointment will be scheduled where our staff will go over the planned surgery in complete detail. At this appointment, we will also provide written preoperative and postoperative instructions on medication and personal care.
Preliminary lab testing such as blood counts, electrocardiograms (EKGs) or urinalysis will be reviewed at this point. Consultations with other medical specialists, including your primary care physician, may also be necessary prior to surgery.
It is essential for each patient to be able to have a controlled, safe environment the evening after surgery. Facial plastic surgery recovery does not have to be uncomfortable. Pain medication will be prescribed but may not be necessary. Patients will experience temporary swelling and bruising. Although this may appear unattractive, it is usually not painful and the eventual outcome far outweighs the temporary interruption of your appearance. It is normal to feel tired and weak for a few days after surgery. If you have had outpatient surgery and are allowed to return home directly, you will need someone to drive you to and from and the office and be available to help with overnight care.
Most people can return to their normal routine one to two weeks after surgery, though this depends on the type of procedure you undergo and discussion with Dr. Simoni. Light activity, such as walking, is encouraged within a few days of surgery, but you will need the doctor’s okay before engaging in strenuous exercise.
A gradual progression from walking to stretching to light repetitive exercise will help you transition into a normal exercise schedule when approved to do so. It will take at least two weeks to resume swimming, tennis, aerobics, swimming or other heavy exercise. Contact sports should be avoided for at least six to eight weeks.
Judging the condition of your own body and common sense will help determine how quickly you can return to your exercise regimen. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, you should stop and rest.
After surgery, it is important to avoid sun exposure to the surgical site for at least six months. This is especially important if you have had skin resurfacing. A sun block of SPF 30 or higher and a hat should be worn when going outdoors. Excessive exposure to heat, cold and wind should be avoided in order to protect delicate new skin from damage.
The process of facial plastic surgery is an exciting one. But it is up to you whether or not you want to share this experience with others. If you would like to keep your surgery private, it is often helpful to change your hairstyle or get a new pair of glasses. Not only will these changes be better suited to flatter the “new you” but your friends and family will often associate any change in your appearance to these more obvious adjustments.
You may feel self-conscious around friends and family or going out in public during the period immediately following your surgery when you are experiencing numbness, swelling and/or discoloration. Temporary use of corrective cosmetics can help you feel more comfortable while you heal. At our offices, we have a trained aesthetician who can help you learn how to apply these corrective cosmetics. Many people are happy to find that once they are fully healed they wear less makeup than they did before their procedures and feel much more comfortable in their own skin.