A post by 53 Weeks contributor Dr. Andres Bustillo, MD
As a facial plastic surgeon, I have seen many things in my career. You name it and I have seen it. Well, so I thought, until last week. A nice and attractive woman in her late forties came to my office to consult about a facelift. As I like to do with all my patients, I conversed with her to get to know her. This may sound superficial coming from a plastic surgeon, but I think this is an important part of “ being able to make the patient happy.” How can you realistically make someone happy if you do not know them? By getting a feel of “where they are coming from” you can better direct them “to where they want go.” She was forty-nine, happily married, worked part time as an attorney, and had two high school girls. All signs of a happy and confident woman with an ideal family support. This is an ideal candidate for plastic surgery.
I always like to know why a particular person walks through my office. What is that “click,” makes them pick up the phone and call for an appointment? Well, in this case it was her younger daughter! Her twelve-year-old daughter told her that she felt uncomfortable when her mother attended school functions because she looked older than her classmates’ mothers. This is definitely the first time that I’ve heard of a mother “dragged” into the plastic surgeon’s office.
You see, I live in a city where looks carry a person a long way. Yes, that’s Miami and love it or hate it, that’s the way it is. That’s why its common to have patients come to my office for rhinoplasty, facelifts, or eye-lifts. But never because the daughter suggests plastic surgery for the mother! I have seen it the other way around, where the parents bring the child with prominent ears for an otoplasty, but this was a first. The story goes like this…. The mother did lose quite a bit of weight recently and because of that she did have significant excess skin in her neck and fairly severe jowling (the skin that hangs just behind the chin). The daughter attends a private school in an upscale neighborhood and is very involved in school activities. It seems her friends had made some comments about her mother’s neck and chin, which made the girl uncomfortable when the mother was present at any of the activities. The daughter began to avoid those activities that involved the presence of her mother. When mom asked why she no longer wanted to attend, she replied, “because you look old and your neck looks like a turkey’s!”
So here I am today planning her facelift procedure and wondering if I would have ever said that to my mother. I don’t think so. But times are different today and so are people. It does surprise me the extent and reach that plastic surgery has in our society today. I would be interested to hear what some mothers have to say about this.
Dr. Andres Bustillo is a board certified facial plastic surgeon in Miami, Florida. http://www.drbustillo.com