The Surgeon Minute

Understanding Facial Symmetry

Understanding Facial Symmetry

No human is born with a symmetrical face. There are always asymmetries, however big or small. Even so, there are ways to tweak facial features to create a more pleasing symmetrical look. Board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Peter B. Fodor discusses the goals behind achieving facial harmony through symmetry.

Does Symmetry Equal Beauty?

It’s long been considered that symmetrical faces are more beautiful. It may be because we have symmetry in many aspects of our lives, including our physical features – two arms, two legs. We want to consider that our face is the same with two identical parts, according to experts like Dr. Peter Fodor. “In our plastic surgery literature, there is a significant feeling that symmetric faces are prettier.”

Still, Fodor admits that some of the most attractive people have asymmetric faces. He says there are other factors that play into attractiveness along with symmetry. “There are also different ratios and ideal portions, but interestingly enough and not uncommonly, people who don’t fit into those norms are the most attractive,” he shares.

The ‘Mirror Test’

Many of us may wish we could see ourselves as perfectly symmetrical, even if only as an odd exercise. Dr. Fodor says he receives a myriad of reactions from his patients when they are actually given the opportunity to experience facial symmetry during an office consultation using what he calls a ‘trick mirror.’

“I let the patients look at the regular mirror and get accustomed to seeing themselves and then I have the ‘trick mirror,’ which is shaped like a box,” Fodor explains. “One side is a regular mirror and inside is a prism which reverses the sides, so we flip the mirror and they see the right side being placed on the left side, so the two sides are interchanged by the mirror.”

Fodor says people aren’t used to seeing their faces in a symmetrical way and it can often be shocking, and even disturbing. “They haven’t seen themselves like this. They say, ‘What did you do to my face?’ and they almost want to run out the door, or other ones can’t stop watching it,” shares Fodor. Clearly, symmetry isn’t everything.

Building Symmetry

Dr. Fodor says there are ways to create more symmetry in almost every face. He shares that many people don’t realize their face isn’t in proportion. “I use the mirror technique because not all patients realize they are asymmetric,” he begins. “We have ways to treat this. For example, if one eyebrow is higher, we can modulate that with Botox on one side of the face. If one side of the face is bigger, we can make it better with an injectable.”

Fodor says photographs help a patient see the clear ‘before and after.’ “We do have photographs; I photograph all the patients – even when I do fillers and injectables – because I think this is a big help.”

Fodor indicates that it is the slight imperfections that make all of us different, but balancing a facial feature that makes you uncomfortable or lack confidence is a step in the right direction. “With each patient we have to decide what is the best way to move forward together and be partners in the treatment plan.”

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