Double board-certified plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist Dr. Fernando Burstein has spent a lifetime performing cosmetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery procedures ranging from cleft lip and palate repair to aesthetic rhinoplasty and even ear surgery on men and women of all ages. In our ongoing blog feature, Ask Dr. Burstein, we will have the opportunity to hear him answer some of the most frequently asked questions he receives about facial plastic surgery.
QUESTION: Years ago, my nose was badly broken and I needed to undergo reconstructive rhinoplasty in order to repair it. Unfortunately, that surgery left an indentation on the bridge that looks unnatural, and I have wanted to have that defect repaired ever since. Based on my research, I understand that I may need an implant to correct the contour of the nose, but I am very particular about what I put into my body and would like to avoid the use of any unnatural materials if at all possible. Are there any alternative approaches that could improve my appearance without the use of artificial implants?
ANSWER: Certainly. Rhinoplasty, or nose surgery, for both reconstructive and cosmetic purposes, is one of my specialties, and it has been my experience that natural alternatives to facial implants, taken from the patient’s own body, are usually safer and longer-lasting than their artificial analogs. Silicone implants can sometimes be too rigid, and tend to exert too much pressure on the delicate skin of the nose. Over time, this pressure can cause the skin to become thin to the point that the implant becomes visible underneath. Since the majority of the nose is already formed from cartilage, additional cartilage taken from elsewhere in the body can be easily molded into the desired shape with a much lower chance of causing allergic reaction or rejection.
Additionally, the contours of the cheeks, nose, and areas around the eyes can often be softened, making them look more youthful and natural, through the use of a procedure called fat transfer. Small amounts of fat are gently removed from elsewhere in the body and used to “fill in” areas that may appear sunken or gaunt. Unlike artificial facial fillers, natural fat injected over the course of one or more sessions can last anywhere from seven to ten years before additional maintenance procedures are required, and the stem cells produced by this fat can potentially improve the condition and appearance of the skin.
It is important to realize that every patient’s circumstances are unique, and every individual case requires careful scrutiny by an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon in order to determine the surgical plan that will yield the most natural looking plastic surgery results. If you are interested in finding out exactly what facial plastic surgery procedures might be able to do for you, please contact me, Dr. Fernando Burstein so that we can schedule a full consultation.
About Dr. Fernando Burstein
Dr. Fernando Burstein is a well-respected Atlanta facial plastic surgeon with board certifications in both plastic and reconstructive surgery and otolaryngology (head and neck surgery.) With nearly thirty years of experience specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery procedures, Dr. Burstein has served as both the chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery and the director of the Center of Craniofacial Disorders at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta as well as a clinical professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Emory University. He has authored and published more than 100 articles and book chapters on facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and has been honored as one of the top plastic surgeons in Atlanta by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., a national organization founded in 1991 to help guide consumers to the highest quality healthcare, for the past eight consecutive years.