Before exploring the many exciting techniques available in plastic surgery for almost every part of the face and body, it is important to understand the objectives of these procedures.

Plastic surgeons are not trying to make all people look alike. In fact, quite the contrary. Notice how old people frequently look alike; the sagging tissues hide their distinctive features. After facial rejuvenation through plastic surgery, the resemblances with their children and grandchildren are often amazingly unveiled.

Plastic “sculptry” brings about balance and harmony. For example, a large nose can totally overpower a weak chin. Or a flat chest can accentuate large hips. By reducing or augmenting parts of the body, pleasing balance is achieved.

Form follows function. If it looks good, it works good. A crooked nose often causes impaired breathing. Larger, heavy breasts often produce disabling back, neck, and shoulder pain. Drooping eyelids can cause a blockage of peripheral vision. Straightening the crooked nose, reducing enlarged breasts, or performing an eyelid lift will not only make the person look better, but will also enable that person to function better. Because of potential health benefits, insurance frequently contributes toward the cost of these procedures.

People may refuse to wear swimsuits because of excess fat deposits or loose skin; people with large noses may be uneasy being viewed in profile; people with sagging necks may feel compelled to wear turtleneck sweaters and scarves. Little changes can mean a lot — removal of small saddle bags from the thighs, straightening a small nasal hump, tightening a small neck laxity — all can produce quantum leaps in self-esteem. The “sculptury” allows people to do whatever they choose without embarrassment.

Most importantly, plastic surgery produces faces and bodies that represent “outwardly” the way people feel about themselves “inwardly”. The alert, joyous, healthy, sober person who has bags under the eyes may appear to the world as tired, sad, ill, or even alcoholic. Eliminating the bags makes the face synchronize with the true personality. The 40 year old who feels 25 but looks 50 is another case in  point. This age disparity can be narrowed by facial sculpting.

We don’t live in our houses — we reside in them. We live in our bodies. Like houses, bodies require routine maintenance and occasional remodelling. Just as we would fix a sagging porch why wouldn’t we fix a sagging neck?

In life, it is important to get off on the right foot. A child or young adult with a congenital deformity, like prominent ears, can easily develop an inferiority complex that can last a lifetime. Safe, effective, plastic surgery can eliminate the source of ridicule   and embarrassment and allow that young person to achieve his or her full potential.

Like “dress for success”, there is also the face and body that succeeds. A positive image has a conscious and unconscious influence on prospective employers and clients. Plus, a youthful appearance seems to create a youthful vitality. The transformation that occurs after plastic surgery can be the spark that ignites a chain of profound, positive changes in a person’s life.

Because the face and outer body are so important to mental and physical health, I have coined the phrase “External Medicine” to describe my surgical practice. Just as you go to an internist for problems inside your body, you would see an “externist” (i.e., plastic surgeon) for problems concerning your outer body. In the months to come I will discuss individual procedures that will enhance your outer body health.

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