Teens and Plastic Surgery: When Is It Beneficial?

I’ve noticed lately a lot of discussion about teenagers and plastic surgery in the news.  When I hear of stories like the “Kylie Jenner Challenge” (a social media frenzy where teens/young adults attempted to suck the air out of shot glasses to create the celebrity’s now infamous “pouty” look; followed by posting videos/pictures of their severely swollen lips after realizing it doesn’t work that way), I am reminded of the real implications society and social media has on teenagers when it pertains to cosmetic plastic surgery.  Collectively, we tend to put age limits on many things and when it comes to our kids, there can be a fine line when considering how young is too young for cosmetic procedures.  Whichever side of the debate you’re on is entirely your own, but let’s take a look at why I believe plastic surgery can be beneficial for some of the younger generation.

Teens and Plastic SurgeryThere are distinct divisions for plastic surgery motivations when it comes to teenagers and they aren’t all that different to those of adult plastic surgery patients.  There are those who may obsess on wanting to address a specific body issue (we call this body dysmorphic disorder; when a patient focuses on their body image negatively and are never satisfied with the way they look), those that are truly suffering physically and emotionally from their physical appearance and then there are those who simply want to enhance certain features (this could be a temporary fad or motivated by public figures as seen on television, movies, etc.).  As a double-board certified plastic surgeon, for me, I work with young patients (and their parents) who are highly motivated for the right reasons, emotionally mature and have also reached physical maturity.  When you have this combination, the procedure becomes more of a necessity for improving the overall quality of life for the teen and in the end, I really do believe that not only the patient, but also the family benefits.

When I speak about procedures among teens, I’m referring to cosmetic procedures and not necessarily medically-required procedures.  Common procedures among my patients in high school and early college years include rhinoplasty (nose surgery), otoplasty (ear surgery) and breast reduction. Overly large breasts can create a number of concerns for young women and men.  It can be especially difficult for student athletes to actively engage in their sport if their breasts cause discomfort and hinder their performance.  In this case, a breast reduction would be explored to remove the excess fat and tissue to a more proportionate breast to body frame ratio.  When a patient approaches a surgical procedure, we want to make sure the body has developed so that significant plastic surgery results aren’t reversed.   For some patients, the nose is such a distinct part of the face and whether it may be too large or perhaps crooked, can cause young patients emotional discomfort.  The facial structure for females matures at age 15 and for men in their early 20’s and at this stage in their growth, rhinoplasty would be the procedure we would explore.  Finally otoplasty, or ear pinning, is ideal for those who want to reduce the size of their large, protruding ears (think along the lines of elephant ears) that make the face unbalanced.

I’m not saying this as a means of encouraging young teens to head to their nearest plastic surgeon if they are unhappy with their appearance; I take this very seriously and spend a lot of time with my young patients and their families when discussing all possible treatment.  The parents should be knowledgeable in the techniques and recovery related to the procedure and willing to consent to their child having the procedure.  In the end, the plastic surgery results that a teen undergoes can have such a positive influence on their wellbeing and ultimately that of family and friends as past insecurities diminish and newly increased self-esteem takes its place.

Don’t hesitate to contact Southern Plastic Surgery, P.C. (SPS) with any questions or concerns you have regarding the procedures we perform and your future cosmetic planning.  You can also keep up with me, Dr. David Whiteman, and the rest of my SPS team on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for the latest plastic surgery topics and news.

Battle of the Bulge: Waist Training vs. Body Contouring

fad, noun – an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived and without basis in the object’s qualities; a craze.

Seems like every day there is a new fad featured on television talk shows, radio commercials, magazine articles, billboards, social media, you name it, that EVERYONE just has to try.  I don’t normally pay attention to these types of things simply because just as soon as I’ve started doing my research it’s no longer a “thing” anymore (not to mention in a week nobody will remember it even existed).  If you’ve heard the term “waist training” recently then perhaps you were as curious as I was about this new “body contouring” craze.  Now there hasn’t been long term studies done on waist training but I wanted to share my initial thoughts on this and whether you should consider this type of investment over surgical and nonsurgical fat reduction procedures.

liposuction-atlanta-georgiaPopular celebrities are flooding Instagram with images of their tiny hourglass figures and telling people all across the country that a corset can essentially help you achieve the waist of Barbie and Ken.  What they are essentially doing is wearing a corset-type mechanism that covers the area below the breasts down to just above the hips with the intent that it’s to be worn from sun up to sun down.  Over time, the waist training is supposed to flatten any extra bulge and create a slimmer abdominal contour like those of a tummy tuck or liposuction.

So the million dollar question – does it really work?  Based on what I know about accumulating fat and manipulating the contours of the body, my impression is that it’s a superficial treatment, at best, and you should put your hard earned money towards something safer, longer-lasting and more beneficial.  The problem with waist training is that it isn’t addressing the underlying fat cells – unless fat cells are literally removed from the body there is only so much diet, exercise or rib crushing corsets can do to help get rid of it; sorry folks.  It’s more like the functionality of say a bra (they provide a nice hammock for the breasts but the minute you take it off, gravity kicks in) or butt pad inserts for women who are better off getting a Brazilian butt lift instead of worrying if the pads look natural or don’t shift while enhancing the derrière.  The potential health risks from waist training are also something to consider – damage to major internal organs, bruising, cause dizziness and even fainting (think too tight to breath and multiply that by 24 hours).  Overall, altering the waist long term is just not possible without plastic surgery and your waist will eventually go back to the way it was over time and you’d have potentially wasted time, money and possibly your sanity.

Long story short, stick to the old fashioned way of getting into shape by actively incorporating good ole’ diet and exercise into your routine.  If at any point you decide that the stubborn fat of your midsection gets to be too much to tolerate, there are several procedures I, Dr. David Whiteman, perform that can get to the root of your issue and help you achieve the midsection you goaled to have.  Feel free to contact Southern Plastic Surgery if you have any questions at all regarding our face, body and breast procedures.  In the meantime, you can always stay connected with me, on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and share your thoughts on some of these new cosmetic procedures and fads!

Shaping the Future: The Aesthetic Meeting 2015

Summer is right around the corner and even though the kids will be out of school soon, it seems our schedules show no sign of slowing down here at Southern Plastic Surgery, P.C.  There are a lot of exciting things on the horizon for us and we wanted to keep everyone in the loop on what’s happening in and out of the office this month!  I’m a firm believer that you should never stop pursuing education and higher learning and perhaps this is why my passion for plastic surgery goes beyond the operating room and into teaching.

This month, I am honored be invited to speak at the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery’s 48th Annual Meeting – The Aesthetic Meeting 2015 – held in Montréal, Canada from May 14-19.  I always find a deeper appreciation for the reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgery field whenever I attend The Aesthetic Meeting.  As one of the biggest annual events in the aesthetic surgery field, it brings together brilliant educators, researchers and practitioners from all over the world to discuss what advancements are happening in our field and how we, as surgeons, can better provide for our patients.

This year, I’ll be speaking to a select group of plastic surgeons on scarpa fascia flap abdominoplasty, a technique that I have developed over the past several years.  The scarpa fascia technique can be described as a waist contouring technique that allows plastic surgeons to modify the waste narrowing capabilities during a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) procedure that was once only occasionally achieved with liposuction for patients of a specific body type.  We really wanted our tummy tuck patients to have a more contoured and shapelier abdomen that could be produced during the same procedure but the technique didn’t previously exist.

At the very core there is some formality when it comes to the techniques surgeon’s use to perform plastic surgery procedures but I really believe it is the advancements in the techniques that set good and great results apart.  For me, I want my patients to have as easy of a recovery as possible (keeping in mind the fact that we all recover differently) but have tummy tuck results that mirror their goal of achieving a slimmer, flatter and more contoured shape.  By sharing this improved technique with surgeons from all over the globe, I am thrilled at the idea that future tummy tuck patients will see better results than ever before!

Stay connected with me, Dr. David Whiteman, on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more updates on The Aesthetic Meeting, monthly specials and news at Southern Plastic Surgery, P.C.  If you’re interested in learning more about the tummy tuck techniques I utilize or any of the cosmetic and reconstructive procedures we offer, don’t hesitate to give us a call at our office at 770-622-9100; we look forward to hearing from you soon!