Have you ever done a double-take after realizing that the reflection you just saw was YOU? When you look in the mirror, are you constantly pulling your skin tight or covering problem areas in an effort to see what you would look like without those deep lines, wrinkles, age spots, excess skin? Are you embarrassed to show your teeth when you smile?
Whether you’re self-conscious about a scar from an accident, you want to look as good as you feel (maybe for that big reunion, wedding, or milestone birthday), you’re done having babies and the time is right, or you want to look fresher (and less tired) to customers, co-workers and bosses, odds are there is a surgical option or noninvasive cosmetic procedure that is right for you and your situation.
STAYING COMPETITIVE IN THE MARKETPLACE
According to an American Society of Plastic Surgeons survey, many U.S. men and women consider cosmetic surgery a strategy to maintain (or gain) an edge in a competitive workplace.
“Many patients maintain a good lifestyle and want [their looks] to fully reflect a youthful appearance,” says Dr. Sam Economou of Plastic Surgery Consultants in Edina.
A more youthful look not only keeps patients from looking like “the old person in the office,” it can also boost their self-confidence, he says.
Dr. Charles E. Crutchfield III, clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School and medical director of Crutchfield Dermatology in Eagan, agrees that more people are seeking cosmetic procedures as a way of staying competitive in their professional fields.
“I’ve provided care to actors and actresses who want to expand the range of parts they can play, and I have treated trial attorneys who want to look calm and under control while delivering closing arguments,” Dr. Crutchfield says.
The modern landscape at work is changing, not only in terms of who is competing for jobs, but also in terms of technology. The digital age of videoconferencing and online dating, for example, has resulted in more chin augmentations and facial cosmetic surgeries.
No matter what the reason is for having a procedure done, there is a common thread across patients of all ages. “After they see results, nearly every person says they wish they had done it sooner,” says Dr. Crutchfield.
New technology, better products, minimally invasive procedures, and affordability have made the field of cosmetic transformations more popular than ever before.
Don’t like your smile? You can have a total smile makeover. Don’t like your wrinkled upper lip? There’s a filler for that. Don’t like your droopy eyelids? Turn back the hands of time with a brow lift.
The latest advancements in the field of dermatology include non-invasive fat reducing lasers, tissue tightening lasers, a new laser for tattoo removal, and an exciting new cosmeceutical treatment—NeoStrata Line Lift—adding volume to deep lines in the skin by helping activate collagen and hyaluronic acid, our skin’s natural fillers, says board-certified dermatologist Dr. M. Elizabeth Briden, medical director and CEO of Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Inst. PA in Edina.
Dr. Briden, who opened her own dermatology clinic in 1997 after 12 years in private practice, specializes in skin rejuvenation, medical and cosmetic dermatology, and dermatologic surgery.
“Our most popular cosmetic procedures for both men and women are Botox and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) laser treatment for blood vessels and age spots,” she says, adding that women are also regularly making appointments for chemical peels and fillers (like Juvederm).
The gentle, nonablative treatment of IPL, also referred to as photorejuvenation treatment, employs a broad spectrum of light (as opposed to a single wavelength emitted by lasers) to treat sun-damaged skin on the face, neck, chest, and hands and reduce the appearance of blood vessels, age spots, acne, scars, stretch marks, and discoloration. The end result is improved skin tone, texture, and color.
Popular procedures at Refine Dermatique Skin and Laser Center in Sartell include CoolSculpting body contouring for men; and Botox, skin tightening, and CoolSculpting for women.
“With the development of new technology, patients can reduce stubborn areas of fat with devices that freeze and heat the fat,” says Dr. Barry LaBine of Refine Dermatique. “It is remarkable that there is no anesthesia, and no downtime.”
Basically, the fat cells are destroyed and removed by the patient’s own body, explains Dr. Crutchfield. CoolSculpting takes about an hour, and usually requires two to three treatments four weeks apart in order to be the most effective. “We’ve seen amazing results,” says Dr. Crutchfield. “Numerous patients report a one-to-three inch loss in fat after completing a treatment plan.”
Many people have heard of Botox, a purified protein toxin injected into the skin to eliminate wrinkles by causing facial muscles to relax (if an area of the body can’t move, it can’t wrinkle), as well as dermal fillers such as Restylane or Juvederm that plump and define lips and fill hollow areas of the face (lines from the nose to the mouth, mouth to the chin, frown lines, and cheekbones, etc), but many people haven’t heard of platelet rich plasma injections.
This cutting-edge therapy isolates elements from your own blood to rejuvenate your skin.
“It’s an all-natural procedure where the patient’s own growth factors and cytokines are isolated and reintroduced to the skin to increase collage and elastin,” explains Dr. Crutchfield.
This FDA-approved procedure appeals to patients who are looking for a natural approach to adding volume to their face and treating or reducing fine lines.
Regardless of the material, fillers can soften the effects of wrinkles—often dramatically so—but cannot fully correct loose skin on the cheeks, neck, or eyelids.
When patients have loose skin or excess body fat, many turn to the experts at Plastic Surgery Consultants for facelifts, liposuction, and tummy tucks. (Dr. Economou specializes in all forms of body contouring, including the non-surgical fat reduction procedure Liposonix.)
When there is loose skin on the eyelids, many patients trust the professionals at Minnesota Eye Consultants. One of the most popular procedures is a lower eyelid blepharoplasty, either performed internally through the inner aspect of the eye or externally through a skin incision.
Excess eyelid skin draping over the upper lash line or fullness in the lower lids can lead to the illusion of looking tired and restless. Elective cosmetic eyelid surgery, with or without associated brow lifting procedures, can make men and women appear more relaxed, youthful, and rested, says Dr. William Lipham, FACS, ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Minnesota Eye Consultants.
A great smile can open doors both personally and professionally. If you feel too self-conscious to smile because of gaps or spaces between your teeth, chipped, discolored or broken teeth, or an awkward alignment overall, gifted cosmetic dentist Dr. Nancy Norling of Minneapolis can help. Dr. Norling—an Accredited Fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (the AACD utilizes a rigorous accreditation and fellowship process demonstrating a dentist’s proficiency in cosmetic dental procedures)—transforms smiles through a combination of technology, artistry, experience, and skills. Patients leave her office with a beautiful new smile and a major boost in confidence and self-esteem.
Picture-perfect movie star smiles are also possible at Dentistry By Design in Minnetonka, where dental veneers are one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures requested, says skilled cosmetic dentist Dr. Atif H. Rizvi. “Veneers provide high aesthetic results while being the most conservative treatment for keeping the original tooth structure,” he explains. Veneers are made of ultra-thin material and affixed directly to the teeth. They look and feel like natural teeth, can make dark teeth appear brighter, and are intended to last for many years.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
When you take the time to educate yourself about treatments and procedures, you’re more likely to have realistic expectations about the results and more likely to be satisfied with the outcome. Do your research in advance. Learn about the doctor’s background, read testimonials. Set up a face-to-face consultation.
“Meet with the provider and staff in the office prior to the procedure,” says Dr. LaBine. “Make sure the office has the breadth of knowledge to handle any complications that may arise.”
A good provider will take all the time you need to explain the risks of any given procedure, explaining the process from beginning to end. A good provider won’t make you feel rushed for asking questions.
Ask where he or she went to medical school and did his or her residency training, suggests Dr. Lipham. Ask how many times they perform a given procedure in a month. Ask to see before and after images of actual patients.
Perhaps most importantly, check a doctor’s board certification. Once doctors are licensed as physicians, they can jump outside their specialties, sometimes with disastrous results. Make sure your doctor is certified in his or her field. No matter what procedure you’re considering, it’s crucial to find an experienced doctor who is qualified to do the job.
After all, who would you rather trust, asks Dr. Crutchfield, “a board-certified dermatologist with years of knowledge and experience, or someone at a recently-opened strip mall shop who took a course last weekend in Las Vegas and has practiced injecting tomatoes for a few days?”
Don’t go by price alone—fees vary based on the doctor’s level of experience, training, and educational background.
For the best results, the answer is simple, says Dr. Crutchfield. “Experience counts and quality matters.”
TOP TEN MOST POPULAR COSMETIC PROCEDURES
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), in 2012 there were 14.6 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures performed in the U.S.—both minimally-invasive and surgical—an increase of 5 percent since 2011. In addition, 5.6 million reconstructive plastic surgery procedures were performed last year, up by 1 percent from the previous year.
The top five minimally-invasive procedures were:
- Botulinum toxin type A (including Botox and Dysport)
- Soft tissue fillers
- Chemical peel
- Laser hair removal
The top five surgical procedures were:
- Breast augmentation
- Nose reshaping
- Eyelid surgery
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is the world’s largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons. Representing more than 7,000 member surgeons, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and source on aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.
| Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Inst. PA|
(952) 915-6000 ext. 5
| Crutchfield Dermatology|
| Dentistry By Design|
| Minnesota Eye Consultants|
| Nancy Norling DDS|
| Plastic Surgery Consultants|
| Refine Dermatique Skin and Laser Center|