Patient Education

Patient Education in Jackson, MS

If you are seeking an expert facial plastic surgeon in Mississippi, it is important to first understand the basics of plastic surgery.

The word plastic refers to the reshaping or reforming of an object, which is the essence of plastic surgery.  It has little to do with “plastic” material as the word is commonly used today.  Modern plastic surgery dates back to the World War I era, although some procedures were performed as early as 1000 B.C.  Plastic surgery is really a collection of techniques used to reconstruct or reshape areas of the body.

Plastic surgery can be divided into two main areas: Reconstructive and Aesthetic (commonly known as “cosmetic”). Reconstructive surgery seeks to return a damaged or deformed part to normal function and appearance, while cosmetic surgery attempts to correct or improve unattractive or disharmonious features as well as to remove some of the conspicuous marks of aging.  Some surgery is both reconstructive and cosmetic, such as correction of a nasal deformity after injury in order to improve both breathing and appearance.

Why Do People Undergo Facial Plastic Surgery To Improve Their Appearance?

Certainly, facial plastic surgery and treatments are not for everyone. But the fact that our society places a great deal of importance on appearance remains undeniable, for better or for worse. Indeed, the current trend towards better fitness and a longer life span leave many feeling younger, but looking older. The best reason for wanting to improve appearance is to enhance self-esteem. The way we feel about ourselves permeates our daily interactions with others.

Most of us do take pride in our appearance.  This is evident by the billions of dollars spent annually on cosmetics and clothing.  Once felt to be the province of only Hollywood stars and celebrities, aesthetic surgery and treatments are sought more often now by average men and women than ever before.  The business community has shown increasing interest in facial surgery to eradicate the marks of aging, and persons of all ages are having nasal and other congenital deformities corrected.  

Many times, the enhanced self-esteem exceeds the improvement in physical appearance alone.  It must be understood, however, that aesthetic surgery cannot be expected to save a job, a marriage, or to solve personal problems, particularly if the individual blames his or her looks for a lack of success or happiness in life.

Advances in surgical and anesthetic techniques have also made facial plastic surgery safer and more comfortable. Increased attention to preoperative evaluation and facial proportions has allowed for more natural and longer-lasting results. Many treatments are available now that can be done in the office with very little time off from work or daily activities.

What Can Be Achieved Through Facial Plastic Surgery?

Satisfaction in aesthetic surgery is based on realistic expectations of what can be achieved.  This in turn comes from emotional maturity and adequate information to make the best choices.  Successful outcomes are based on many factors:  the surgeon’s skill, individual healing characteristics, careful adherence to post-operative instructions and realistic expectations.  Because of the multiple factors involved, no guarantees can be made about the outcome of any procedure.  We always strive to achieve the best possible result in each individual.

Not all patients are good candidates for facial plastic surgery, and surgery is not always recommended for everyone who requests it.  The surgeon always reserves the right to recommend against surgery. Occasionally, additional consultation is recommended until all parties are comfortable with their decisions.

It must be accepted that the goal of any operation is improvement, not perfection.  It is the surgeon’s task to determine if the patients goals can be achieved.  Requests for procedures that the surgeon feels would be aesthetically unpleasing cannot be honored.  Excellent communication between the patient and surgeon is of the utmost importance.

The motivation to seek surgery should be realistic and appropriate: Facial plastic surgery is not a cure-all for every problem that one might have. While it is true that an improvement in appearance may be psychologically beneficial by increasing self esteem,  it cannot solve all of one’s problems. This is particularly true when one’s appearance is solely blamed for a lack of success or happiness in life.

The amount of improvement that can be achieved depends not only on the surgeon’s technique, but also on the age, health, skin type, bone structure, and healing characteristics of the individual.  In other words, the surgeon is limited by the patient’s physical characteristics.  Therefore, the same exact operation performed by the same surgeon on different patients will always have somewhat different results.

Risks Involved With Facial Plastic Surgery

All surgical and medical treatments, no matter how minor, involve some degree of risk, both in terms of serious complications and the sense that the results may not match ones expectations.  In general, the risks of major complications such as death or blindness in elective plastic surgery are of the same magnitude as the risk of a life threatening accident while on an automobile trip, although possible, it is statistically unlikely. Lesser complications are more common, but still relatively rare.  Some of the risks of surgery are:  infection, poor healing, scar formation, swelling and bruising, bleeding, numbness, reactions to medication, injuries to nerves, muscles and other structures.

Even less likely problems include excessive scarring, paralysis, loss of vision and even death.  The various risks will be discussed at the time of consultation and are reviewed more specifically in the appropriate sections of our website.

Healing After Your Facial Plastic Surgery Procedure

After any surgical procedure, a period of time is required before healing is complete.  All surgery results in some degree of swelling and bruising, which is caused by the influx of fluid into the tissues as the healing process begins.  This fluid is eventually reabsorbed into the bloodstream.  Although, special techniques are used to keep swelling and bruising to a minimum, you must be prepared to tolerate some temporary disfigurement during this period.

In general, about 80 percent of swelling and bruising is gone in two weeks, while the remaining 20 percent disappears more slowly.  This is why we say that one cannot begin to judge the final results of surgery for weeks to months afterwards.  Most patients experience mild to moderate pain or discomfort following plastic surgery, and  pain medication is provided for comfort.

All wounds heal by scar formation, a process the surgeon has little control over once the surgery is completed. Effort is always made to place surgical incisions in the most inconspicuous location.  Initially the healing incision will be pink and swollen, but will gradually fade as the wound matures.  This process takes six to twelve months and varies widely from person to person.  Pink incisions can be covered with make-up at ten to twelve days in most cases. The vast majority of incisions heal satisfactorily and are inconspicuous, but occasionally, further treatment may be necessary.

The Consultation

A thorough consultation with your physician is the cornerstone for a successful and satisfying outcome. This is a time for you and your surgeon to get to know each other and for all of your questions to be answered. This process takes time, so please allow adequate time in order to take full advantage of the consultation. You may want to consider bringing a spouse, relative, or friend. We strongly believe that well informed patients are the very best patients.

We will assess your facial characteristics, as well as mental and physical health before any recommendations are made. A computer imager may be used to simulate possible results in some situations, if deemed appropriate by the physician. A series of medical photographs will be taken for surgical planning, as well as for  comparison with post-operative photographs. The proposed surgery, including pre- and post-operative instructions will be discussed in detail.

At the end of your consultation, a date for your surgery may be chosen, if you so desire. ​Therefore, it’s good to have an idea of your schedule when you come for your consultation. We will make every attempt to coordinate our schedule to your plans. In turn, we ask that you notify us as early as possible should the need arise to rearrange the scheduled date​.​ A second consultation can be arranged should you want to discuss additional concerns or further options.

Once surgery is scheduled you will be given pre- and post-operative instructions, and arrangements will be made for any necessary laboratory or other testing. Please feel free to call us with any further questions you may have.

Where is Surgery Performed and What Type of Anesthesia is Used?

Many of the procedures discussed throughout our website can be performed in an outpatient setting. We perform minimally-invasive procedures such as injectable cosmetic agents, laser treatments, and some minor surgeries in our Ridgeland office. Longer procedures such as facelifts, or cases involving multiple procedures are performed at either Merit Health Madison or the outpatient Day Surgery Center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

In most situations we will use what is called twilight anesthesia. We like this technique for aesthetic surgery because we feel it is safer, offers a quicker recovery period with less nausea, and causes less bleeding and swelling at the operative site. Patients can be awakened, but usually have no memory of the procedure or events. For some longer procedures or those patients who are anxious, we prefer to use general anesthesia, which is the more conventional type of anesthesia used in most operations.

If you have had any previous problems with an anesthetic, or with nausea after anesthesia, please be sure to inform us so that we can make accommodations for this.