In a world where we're surrounded by face-smoothing photo-editing apps and flawless celebrity photos, it's almost impossible not to wonder if you should take the plunge and go under the knife as well. Dr. Benjamin Stong, a double board-certified plastic surgeon in Atlanta, just spilled all the information you've secretly been googling about cosmetic procedures in a Reddit AMA.
Dr. Stong said he has "performed thousands of cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries and procedures on the face, head, and neck." During the AMA, he touched on skin-tightening procedures, the future of surgery, and, of course, Botox. Keep reading to learn more about the world of cosmetic surgery.
What's the Secret to Looking Young?
One woman — who can afford relatively pricey treatments — asked him the secret to keeping her youthful glow. "Well, Botox, no downtime lasers, microneedling, and skin care are the best starting points because they effect permanent changes over time to the skin and can delay the need for more aggressive procedures later in life," Dr. Stong said. "Fillers can be added to change the shape of features such as the lips and cheeks, although they do not provide protective long term benefits to the skins. Over the counter products from department stores are largely useless and a waste of your money."
This has been a topic of conversation for a while, but what age does he suggest starting Botox? "I don't judge whatsoever, but I do also tell patients that one can legally sign consent for Botox at 18 years old," he noted. "If we were able to perform a split study on the face, with one half getting Botox and the other not, we would see significant differences over decades. So, in short, the earlier the better."
Do Skin-Tightening Procedures Really Work?
When one user asked Dr. Stong which procedure he does that "isn't really worth doing," he had one answer: skin tightening. "Most skin tightening devices don't work well," he said. "A few out there are worth while. I'm looking at adding a fat reduction device and skin tightening. . . it's just such an evolving field. There are basically two types [of skin-tightening procedures]: Radio frequency (RF) and Ultrasound (Ulthera). I am looking at microneedling RF devices to do no downtime face and neck lifts."
What Happens When It's an Issue of Self-Esteem?
Maybe it's the pressure from social media to look a certain way, or maybe it's that celebrities have access to treatments that us regular folk don't, but how does Dr. Stong know when a patient actually needs surgery or it is an issue of self-esteem? "Well, I tell patients all the time that they should only choose cosmetic procedures for themselves and absolutely no one else," he explained. "I also have come to believe that the patients frame of mind prior to surgery correlates to recovery. My patients that have sailed through recovery were generally very positive, well adjusted people. If a person is unhappy or negative, surgery won't fix that and it certainly seems to make for a harder recovery for the individual."
Dr. Stong added: "In general, I am a technician. If I believe the issue can be fixed, I will offer the procedure. I certainly have no interest in being a psychiatrist with a knife."
What Will the Future Bring?
With all the mind-blowing advancements going on in technology and more specifically in the medical world, one user wanted to know which treatment Dr. Stong was most excited about, and as a facial plastic surgeon, it makes perfect sense. "Stem Cells to regrow hair," he said. "I generally think stem cells would be very beneficial to many disciplines in medicine if we had better access to high quality stem cells."