We as a society are trending back towards nature. Whether it is food, clothes, or the green movement, the “all natural” option appears to be the best. The same goes for plastic surgery! No one wants to be a spectacle with obvious work; people just want to look refreshed. What’s wrong with wanting to look a bit younger but still all “natural”?
Nothing is wrong with that, says Dr. Richard Baxter of Seattle. “In Seattle a lot of patients come in and say they want a natural look,” describes Baxter. “‘I don’t want to look over done, but I want it to be worth my while.’ How do we find that balance?” While surgical skill and technological innovation are always important, Baxter describes how communication between a surgeon and his or her patient is of utmost importance when it comes to achieving a natural look.
by Richard Baxter, MD
and The Plastic Surgery Channel
What is Natural?
Everyone knows what the natural look looks like. It looks natural! Right? This subjective view of what “natural” means can be hard to translate, thus the importance of communication between a plastic surgeon and patient.
“There are a couple of things to keep in mind,” explains Baxter. “One is communication. A lot of times the patient will have a different idea of what looks natural than the plastic surgeon might, so really be clear on expectations.”
Surgeon Expertise is a Must
The consultation process is extremely important in order to explain to a surgeon what a patient might think is a natural look. The next step is for the surgeon to implement strategies to achieve that desired look, something board certified plastic surgeons like Baxter routinely execute.
“[Thinking in] three dimensions is important [for a natural look],” describes Baxter. “Facelifts are a really good example of that. A good facelift involves restoring volume, a little bit of skin lifting but not a lot of pulling, and something to restore the health of the skin. The reason you needed a facelift in the first place is because of the aging and sun damage. You can reshape the face but you also need to think about restoring the skin.”
Non-Invasive vs. Surgical
From the outset, it may seems intuitive to assume that non-surgical techniques and devices are more natural because they’re not altering the body as heavily as surgery. The problem with this is that every patient has a unique situation that will need to be addresssed by a unique series of approaches. Perhaps for one patient an injectable filler like Voluma might be the best course of action for a natural look. For another patient, Voluma alone might not be the correct answer, and perhaps the results may even appear unnatural, because that’s not what the patient needed. In that patient, a face lift may have been the better option, and while being a surgical procedure, it might give more natural looking results.
Baxter explains that there are many pathways that lead to the same goal, but they must be chosen carefully when working towards a natural look: “Sometimes really taking a comprehensive surgical approach is actually better in terms of a natural result than doing non-invasive things where you really might have the same goal in mind.”