Eye lift in the Office?

Patients, friends and family often ask me what is entailed in getting an eye lift (blepharoplasty).  This procedure can make a dramatic difference in a person’s appearance, so I think the assumption is that it must be pretty invasive, or entail an extended recovery.  Fortunately neither are true, and today I’m going to clear up these misconceptions.

courtesy of shutterstock.com

courtesy of shutterstock.com

An eyelid lift (blepharoplasty) does sound scary- after all, the incision is right over your eye.  But in terms of invasiveness and recovery time, eye lifts are on the very low end of the spectrum.  In an upper eyelid lift, the procedure is essentially removing excess skin, and possibly some excess fat.  So if you think about it, other than the location this is comparable to having a torn earlobe repaired or a mole removed.  Lower eyelid lifts are a bit more involved: depending on the specific patient, a lower blepharoplasty may involve removal of skin, removal of some fat, and suspension of the lower eyelid to the outer corner of the orbit (the bones around the eye) to support a lax lower eyelid.  Because of this, lower eyelid lifts are usually done with at least some sedation.  Upper lifts, however, can be done in the office with local anesthesia.

What about the recovery?  Eyelids area delicate area, so you can expect some bruising and swelling afterwards.  Patients who have an upper lid lift are swollen for around a week, but they generally feel fine as soon as the next day.  In terms of activity restrictions, expect your doctor to limit any heavy exercise for a couple of weeks to minimize the bleeding and swelling.  But I have many patients return to work after only a couple of days off. If you have your lower eyelids done as well, expect a little more bruising and swelling, and you may have a dry-eye sensation as well for a few days.  Other than that, the recovery is very similar.

Have you thought about having an eyelid lift?  If so, what made you decide one way or another?

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.

Too Young for Botox?

I am frequently asked by friends and family when they should start getting Botox. There really is no “right” age for Botox. Some people may benefit from treatment in the late 20s, others may be able to wait until age 40.

My best recommendation is to start getting Botox when you need it.  How do you know if you need it?  Take a close look at your face in a mirror.  Botox is generally used between the eyebrows, around the eyes, and over the forehead.  The wrinkles that form in these areas when you smile, frown, or raise your eyebrows are called dynamic wrinkles because they appear with motion.  If you see wrinkles present even when your face is at rest, i.e. not moving, these are known as static wrinkles.  Looking at the pictures below, you’ll see deep lines over the forehead and between the eyes when the man is frowning (left side)- these are dynamic wrinkles.  On the right side, you can see that there are still some lines present even at rest- static wrinkles.

Static and dynamic wrinkles

Static and dynamic wrinkles

Botox works by paralyzing muscles, meaning it stops dynamic wrinkles. It will not, however, work on static wrinkles, as these are basically a crease in your skin, similar to a crease in a shirt that has been folded too long.  My general recommendation is: if you notice that you are starting to form static wrinkles, this is the perfect time to get Botox.  The Botox will prevent these lines from becoming deeper.  And over time, the underlying skin will remodel and the lines will soften (provided you continue to get Botox).  Some people notice static wrinkles in their twenties and others not until their late thirties, so there is no perfect age to start.  If you are unsure, I recommend scheduling a consultation with a Plastic Surgeon: he or she can tell you if you will benefit from Botox now, or if you can wait a few years.

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.

What is a Lifestyle Lift?

We’ve all seen the commercials- Debbie Boone crooning in the background while patients testify how happy they are and how refreshed they look after undergoing this “innovative… approach to facial rejuvenation.”  But neither the commercials nor the website describe what a “Lifestyle Lift” actually is.

The very short answer is that Lifestyle Lift is a company, not an actual surgical procedure.  Close scrutiny of the website reveals that the company does not describe any sort of “Lifestyle Lift” per se, but rather offers options of several different procedures, including “Eye Firming”, “Facial Firming”, and “Neck Firming”.  From speaking to both patients who have been treated at Lifestyle Lift, and personally observing procedures in their facility, my understanding is that these procedures are simply traditional face-lift, neck lift, and blepharoplasty (eye lift) procedures.  They tout their treatments as “innovative”, and “less invasive” than traditional face-lift, but I have been unable to find any actual description of what each type of procedure is.   So far as I can discern, the major difference between having treatment at a Lifestyle Lift facility and seeing a traditional plastic surgeon is where the surgery is performed.  Lifestyle Lift performs all procedures in their facility, and all procedures are all done under local anesthesia.  Because there is no sedation involved, these facilities are not subject to accreditation under the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities (AAAASF), the organization which oversees the safety of outpatient surgical facilities.  The Lifestyle Lift facilities certainly have the option of seeking accreditation, and if you are considering any type of outpatient surgical procedure, I certainly recommend asking your doctor if the facility is accredited by AAAASF to ensure your safety.  In addition, I also recommend confirming that your surgeon is board-certified.  If you are considering any type of facial cosmetic surgery, look for a surgeon that is board-certified by either the American Board of Plastic Surgery, or the American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery.

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.

Can I Prevent Stretchmarks?

Happy New Year!  To all our readers at GreerPlastics, thank you for following us.  And if you’re new to us, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any posts.

I hope 2013 has treated you well.  We here at Greer Plastic Surgery are excited to add a new addition to our staff over the next year: Baby Greer will be arriving in April or May of 2014!   Now that I’m pregnant, I have women asking me all the time how they can prevent stretchmarks.  So today I’m going to give you the low-down.

courtesy of Shutterstock.com

courtesy of Shutterstock.com

First, let me give you the bad news: stretch marks are very common.  In fact, the American Family Physician estimated that up to 90% of women develop stretch marks when pregnant.  There also seems to be a genetic component; if your mother had stretch marks, you may be more likely to get them as well.  Although there is no way to prevent stretch marks, there are a few things you can try to lessen their severity.

  • First, follow your Ob-Gyn’s recommendations for weight gain; gradual weight gain is less likely to cause stretch marks than weight gain over a short period of time.
  • Second, be aware that moisturized skin stretches more easily (and is thus less likely to develop stretch marks).  Stay hydrated with plenty of water (again, follow your physician’s recommendations), and use a heavy moisturizing cream three times a day to keep skin moist.

And if you do develop stretch marks, don’t despair!  Although initially pink-red and very noticeable, they will fade with time.  In addition, treatments using broad-band light (BBL) can speed this process of fading.  There are also laser treatments which show promise for improving the appearance of stretch marks even after they have faded.  So my advice to you: do what you can for now, including moisturizing your skin, but don’t worry about what you have little control over.  Relax, enjoy your new baby, and make an appointment with a Plastic Surgeon if those stretchmarks continue to bother you.

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.