What is Ethnic Plastic Surgery?

Facial plastic surgery is constantly evolving.  I say it’s ever-evolving because as a society, so are we.  Our opinion of what we consider beautiful now is a mosaic, largely attributed to a mix of worldwide travel diversity and the internet.  What we considered as ideal beauty 30 years ago is certainly not the case now, nor will it be the same 30 years into the future.  In direct correlation to shifting trends, there has also been a shift in ethnic plastic surgery procedures.  But what exactly is ethnic plastic surgery and what factors should be considered when exploring these various facial procedures?

Ethnic Plastic Surgery in Atlanta GAAs a double-board certified plastic surgeon with over 21 years of performing ethnic plastic surgery, I have seen the same evolution of patient goals occur among every cultural background; each one is different.  The reason it’s termed ethnic plastic surgery is centered largely around unique cultural identities and the vast diversity that is embodied within each culture (specifically African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino and Asian).  Each culture has distinct facial structures and features that are indigenous to that specific culture and it takes a great wealth of knowledge, in regards to the facial complexities, to be able to produce plastic surgery results that are directly in line with the patient and their goals.

Ethnic facial plastic surgery procedures have surged over the past decade as more men and women are seeking cosmetic results that cannot be achieved with makeup or over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.  For example, many of my African American/Black patients decide on a rhinoplasty to address the look of a large or flattened nose (think wider tip, flatter bridge and flared nostrils).  The main goal is to reduce the overall size, so I typically draw from several techniques to reshape the nose.  Typically, rhinoplasty involves removing cartilage or bone to create a thinner appearance.  With African Americans, the nose’s structure generally has weaker cartilage and shorter nasal bones in which we must augment the bridge to sculpt the narrower look the patient is going for.  Instead of using implants, I use a technique where I take the patient’s own cartilage and tissue from a donor area to add volume and reshape the nose.  To further augment the overall appearance, I might recommend facial fillers like Juvéderm® or Restylane® to restore lost volume and straighten the bridge (fillers can be safely injected into the tip, base or bridge of the nose, with repeated treatments to maintain final results).  In the same respect, rhinoplasty continues to vary even among Hispanic/Latino cultures (who tend to have wider bridges and bases of the nose as well as weaker cartilage) and Asians (who have thicker skin, lower bridges and a wider base).  On top of each person coming from a different ethnic background, each person also comes with a unique facial structure, all their own.

With every ethnicity, elective surgery is a choice.  The end result is to create natural-looking plastic surgery results that the patient has in mind.  There are many factors to consider when creating a patient’s rhinoplasty plan, one that accentuates their individual qualities but at the same time also focuses on maintaining cultural identity.  My job, as the surgeon, is to listen to my patient’s concerns and properly address them at surgery.  It’s not to put my “stamp” on their results because as with any ethnic representation, corrective measures should be individualized and ethnically appropriate to suit their face.  My patients, in the simplest of terms, want an improved version of themselves.  I’m just here to help them achieve that.

The face is delicate and should be handled by someone that knows the complex details to perform facial plastic surgery procedures in a safe and successful manner.  When it comes to choosing a plastic surgeon, do your homework to avoid disappointing results.  If you’re interested in ethnic plastic surgery or any of the plastic surgery procedures we perform at Southern Plastic Surgery, P.C., feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.  Stay connected with me, Dr. David Whiteman, on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube for more plastic surgery news and updates.

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.

The Benefits of Combining Plastic Surgery Procedures

During consultations, Dr. David Whiteman meets with patients who often express aesthetic concerns for more than one area of their face and/or body. At Southern Plastic Surgery, P.C., Dr. Whiteman offers procedures like facial rejuvenation and mommy makeover surgery that combine cosmetic treatments into a single procedure. Combining procedures lends other advantages in addition to overall rejuvenation as patients can avoid having two or more separate operations and recovery periods to reduce facility and anesthesia costs and overall downtime.

discussing options with plastic surgeonMany patients interested in facial procedures may want to smooth wrinkles and furrows while also addressing features like the nose or eyes. Cosmetic procedures such as blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), facelift, and rhinoplasty can all address signs of aging including drooping skin, wrinkles, and lines. Botox® and facial fillers can also be applied with surgical procedures for improved anti-aging results. By combining procedures, Dr. Whiteman can help patients achieve a more refreshed, balanced look.

Breast augmentation and breast lift surgery can be performed at the same time to restore breasts for a more youthful look. Breast augmentation and reduction adjust breast shape and volume while a lift removes excess skin and tightens the areas surrounding the breasts. In addition to the breast procedures mentioned above, body procedures can be combined as well.

Body procedures can be combined to achieve a leaner contour as liposuction removes unwanted fat while abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) eliminates loose, hanging skin. Breast surgery and body contouring procedures are commonly combined in a procedure known as mommy makeover to help women achieve pre-baby bodies.

It’s important for patients to have good overall health prior to choosing combination procedures as time under anesthesia is longer and complication risk can increase. After surgery, Dr. Whiteman strongly recommends adapting a healthy diet and regular exercise routine to maintain and improve plastic surgery results. Dr. Whiteman shares his special interest of health and wellness through his blog including exercise and diet tips, healthy recipes, and safely healing from your procedure. If you’re interested in mommy makeover or any other procedure, contact us today to schedule a consultation. Connect with Southern Plastic Surgery on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more plastic surgery news and our latest specials.