Mapping out any journey is a always great idea, especially in plastic surgery. Having a “beauty” road map is especially important when considering cosmetic procedures for the face. Experts agree that devising a goal and a plan during the consultation is crucial and should target the steps ahead for next week, next month and as far out as 5-10 years. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Craig Colville of Ohio prepares patients by helping them map out their own plan to age, naturally.
Planning Goes High-Tech
If you think about it, almost every major decision in life should involve a plan – buying a home, paying for college, and even summer vacation. Elective plastic surgery should certainly be included in the list of important life events that need a road map – even if some of the procedures seem like wishful thinking for now. “The plan may involve things that aren’t really on the table for today; it may involve things for the future,” says Colville.
Modern consults, depending on the procedure, make use of budding technology such as 3D imaging for breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, and even labiaplasty. Patients, after spending sometime describing their ideal result in words, can switch to the computer and see their own body in 3D with an accurate representation of possible outcomes. The visual helps immensely in solidifying a patient’s goals, as well as hardening his or her decision to elect surgery.
“The plan always needs to start with an exam and a record of that exam,” explains Colville. “I think in today’s world a record or just a plain photograph or examine is out of date because we have the ability to do 3D imaging and also to do a video, so our exams are much better.”
The key element of the foundation for any plan should be determining a patient’s goals. Colville says that starts with listening, and listening some more. “A doctor has to really listen to a patient to hear concerns,” but Colville has determined through experience that most people want a natural result in the end.
He indicates the list of “no’s” is usually the same for most patients:
- Do not want to look unnatural
- Do not want to look tight or stretched
- Do not want to look like they’ve never looked before
Positive results are an important part of any plan. “Many times they will say, ‘I don’t want to look like that’ and they will name somebody in their hometown or someone on TV, ” shares Colville. A good result should be a look that doesn’t scream ‘plastic surgery’, but rather a look that is refreshed and natural. “They don’t necessarily want to look surgical, they just want to turn the clock back.”
Preparation Makes Perfect
There are many procedures that can be performed on facial skin, but Colville says the goal of making a plan is to make sure one procedure doesn’t interfere with another one down the line. “That’s why we plan so we don’t do a procedure that could make another procedure more difficult or even impossible at a later date.” One product that can cause some concern is injectables and there has to be a plan for using the product wisely.
Colville says there can be some concern for patients who use a lot of injectables who then want to consider a face lift. “Doing a facelift through certain areas that have had a lot of injectables can be difficult, so we have to plan for that and potentially not use as much of the injectable on that patient,” he explains.
Having a good plan is crucial for avoiding bad situations that may require some kind of surgical fix. He advises his patients that it’s just as important to think about the long term, along with tomorrow when it comes to plastic surgery. “I want them to think about now, and next fall and next year and five years down the road because that is the best way to maintain a natural look.”