by Dr. Angela Sturm-O’Brien
The profession of plastic surgery has historically been an “old boys club”. Luckily, this is changing. The change has been slow to come, but we are now seeing a greater diversity in people who are seeking training in plastic surgery, as well as those that are accepted. This is important to patients, because we are now seeing plastic surgeons who reflect the population that we live in. Plastic surgery, particularly of the face, is a very personal decision and process. You put a lot of trust in your surgeon to share your vision and personal aesthetic. I feel that it is important to connect on a personal level with them and have good communication, to know that you are on the same page. Most people will feel more comfortable if they feel that their surgeon understands where they are “coming from” and what they are trying to achieve. With a wider variety of personalities in the field, you, as a patient, have a better chance to find someone that you connect with on a personal level and feel comfortable giving that level of trust.
I am still amazed at how few female plastic surgeons, particularly facial plastic surgeons, there are not just in Houston, but nationwide and am proud to be one of them. I feel that women can be good listeners, in the way that we hear what you are saying, as well as what you really mean. Sometimes that can be important in finding out a goal that you have, but have a hard time putting into words. We can also be nurturing and take your care and your outcome very personal.
Plastic surgery isn’t just getting a facelift anymore. Between the innovations in skin tightening, fat reduction, laser resurfacing and injectable treatments, rejuvenation comes in many different forms that can fit a number of lifestyles and budgets. The technologies have improved such that noticeable changes can be seen with treatments that take a few short hours and you can be at work the next day without anyone knowing. They are continuing to improve, as well. The leaps and bounds that are made with aesthetic technologies are part of what keeps the field fresh and exciting every day. I embrace these innovations and love to find out the newest, latest, and greatest!
With the improvements in noninvasive technologies, as well as surgical techniques, the face of who is getting plastic surgery is changing as well. These advancements make rejuvenation more financially accessible to more of us! People are having smaller procedures when they are younger to maintain their youthful appearance, rather than having a more involved surgery when they are older. Also, the improvements in laser resurfacing and noninvasive technologies allow people of all skin types to safely have fresh, brightened and tight skin without pigmentation or healing concerns. In polls of plastic surgeons every year in the past five years, men have comprised a larger portion of their practice every year. Therefore, surgeons are more cognizant about the intricacies of male plastic surgery and what makes an attractive male face. In the past, some surgeons have performed the same surgeries on men, facelift, eyelift, etc., in the same way as they would on women, resulting in a very “done”, unnatural look. “Every person is different and should be considered as an individual, with their own goals, facial structure and perspective,” rather than lumped into “people who want facelifts, etc.” It is important to find a surgeon that understands who you are, what you want and the best techniques to attain that.