Ask Dr. Burstein: Surgical or Non-Surgical Procedures?

Dr. Fernando Burstein is a double board-certified plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist (head and neck surgeon) has spent nearly thirty years performing cosmetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery on men and women from all around the world.  Specializing in procedures of the face and neck, ranging from cleft lip and palate repair to cosmetic rhinoplasty (nose surgery) and ear surgery, Dr. Burstein believes that patient education is one of the keys to optimizing plastic surgery results.  In our ongoing blog feature, Ask Dr. Burstein, we will have the opportunity to hear this thirteen-time Atlanta Top Doc answer some of the most frequently asked questions about facial plastic surgery and anti-aging facial rejuvenation procedures.

Ask Dr. Burstein Surgical or Non-Surgical Procedures

QUESTION: Although I am only in my late thirties, I have recently started to notice some early signs of facial aging, particularly around my eyes and forehead.  I would really like to do something about them, but I don’t have any idea where to begin.  I know that non-surgical procedures, like Botox® or chemical peels, can give me great results with minimal downtime, which certainly appeals to me as a working single mother.  However, I also know that their results are only temporary, so I am thinking that maybe it would be better in the long run to just go with a full cosmetic surgery procedure, like a brow lift.  Which are better: cosmetic plastic surgery procedures or non-surgical facial rejuvenation techniques?

ANSWER: I am actually asked this question quite often, but unfortunately the answer is not a simple one.  There is no single procedure that can permanently stop the aging process, and every individual face ages differently, so each patient requires their own customized approach.  However, it has always been my philosophy that the various signs of facial aging can be managed by adopting a gradual approach that incorporates both surgical and non-surgical techniques.

The structure of the face and the texture of the skin change over time, so both the usefulness and the effectiveness of any given procedure will be different depending on the age of the patient.  For example, techniques that may have been extremely effective on patients in their thirties or forties, like injectable facial fillers, have a much less noticeable effect on patients as they grow older and so are better used to maintain plastic surgery results.  Conversely, large-scale plastic surgery procedures may look unnatural on a younger patient.  I will often recommend that someone start addressing the first signs of facial aging when they are in their thirties, with various minimally-invasive facial rejuvenation treatments.  These results can last for months or even years, depending on the particular procedure used, but more importantly they can effectively delay the point at which surgical procedures may become necessary.  Then we can gradually move on to more specifically targeted surgical procedures, like eyelid surgery, that address only those areas in need of improvement.  Eventually, more comprehensive plastic surgery procedures, like a full facelift, may become necessary, but at that point the time and effort that has gone into maintaining healthy and youthful-looking skin helps to ensure that the patient enjoys the most subtle and natural looking facial rejuvenation results.

As I have said, every patient is unique, so there is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” solution to facial aging.  In your case, after an in-person facial rejuvenation consultation, I can determine whether you are, indeed, a suitable candidate for a brow lit of if Botox® might be able to address your specific areas of concern.  No matter what you need, we can find the treatment plan that is right for you.  If you would like to schedule an appointment, please feel free to contact me, Dr. Fernando Burstein, and don’t forget to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest facial plastic surgery news.