Plastic Surgery Myths and Facts

Myth: Everyone ages the same.

Fact: The truth is that everyone’s face ages differently. Recent groundbreaking work at UT Southwestern Medical Center on facial fat compartments has shown this. In addition to overall health and heredity, there are a number of environmental factors that can influence the way someone ages. This includes exposure to the sun, the use of tobacco products, and many other factors.

As a result, we are able to individualize facial rejuvenation procedures to create a refreshed, natural look.

Myth: We lose fat in our faces and necks as we age, which makes us look younger.

Fact: People lose facial fat as they age and it makes us look older. In anatomic studies at UT Southwestern, we have discovered how fat compartments change as someone ages. We also have pioneered innovations to add fat as part of facial rejuvenation procedures to create a more youthful, natural look.

Myth: Most anti-aging creams are just hype.

Fact: There is a significant amount of hype. However, when creams contain “Retin-A,” this can force skin cells to turn over faster. As a result, these creams can help with fine wrinkles, smoothing the skin, and eliminating age spots. Using a product with “Retin-A,” along with a sunscreen, can make an impact on the signs of aging your skin shows.

Myth: Instant facelifts that take about an hour to perform with local anesthesia work.

Fact: This is not true. Unfortunately, we see many patients who believe this – that have been disappointed, or in extreme cases disfigured or experienced severe complications. For safe, effective results, the best course of action is to speak with a board-certified plastic surgeon about the look you want to achieve and find out which procedures will work for you.

Myth: Botox is Botox, no matter where you get it.

Fact: The price of Botox is set by the company (Allergan) that produces it. The “Botox” that you may be able get for $100 at a hair salon or spa may be diluted or may not be real Botox. Also, the results from the injection depends on who is administering it. With someone untrained, the results can range from an asymmetrical look to droopy eyelids or brows.

Myth: Fillers and Botox are the new non-surgical facelift.

Fact: Combining Botox and fillers can produce a younger look for some patients. With Botox, we can smooth the forehead, while lifting and shaping the brows. The cheeks and nasolabial folds can be softened with fillers, and we can plump the lips. The results are not permanent., though. For some patients, surgery offers the most effective long-term results.

Myth: The “new” Botox – Dysport – is better and lasts longer.

Fact: They are about the same. Both injectables are essentially purified forms of botulinum toxin A. Dysport may act somewhat faster and may cost slightly less.

Myth: Some fillers are more effective than others.

Fact: Some fillers are more effective than others for certain patients – based on a number of factors. So, determining the filler that works best for which patients is based on the individual and the type of product that’s being used. This is part of ongoing research UT Southwestern Plastic Surgery conducts, including the evaluation of products before they are released the general public.

Our team can provide guidance on which fillers to use on the different parts of the face to offer the most effective results. A combination of different fillers with different properties is the preferred way for achieving facial rejuvenation. Some fillers are more viscous and don’t migrate as easily. Others are more fluid and can plump larger areas. Some last longer.

Myth: Permanent fillers are better and everyone should use them.

Fact: We do not recommend them. The permanent fillers do not age well with patients. There are effective temporary fillers that last up to one to two years.

Myth: You won’t age naturally if you have cosmetic surgery.

Fact: This was true in the early days of plastic surgery, but not now, particularly when you choose a physician that is skilled in the newest techniques, products, and technology used for facial rejuvenation. We use techniques that allow the facial features to age naturally.

With research conducted by UT Southwestern plastic surgeons, we now know that an aged appearance is not only caused by loosening skin but by the loss of facial fat. We can naturally rejuvenate the face by techniques that both lift and fill the face. Using these new concepts of fat compartments and fat replacements within the deeper layers, we’ve moved to the next generation of facelift technology.

Myth: You can change the shape of your nose with nonsurgical rhinoplasty.

Fact: Fillers can help make some bumps and depressions go away temporarily, but the results are temporary and typically only last for six to 12 months.

Myth: You can remove dark under-eye circles with a cream.

Fact: Unlikely. Under-eye circles can have many causes, including skin pigmentation, shadowing, thin skin, and visibility of underlying blood vessels. Different procedures to treat these problems may include the use of Retin-A or bleaching creams, chemical peels or lasers, and potentially surgery to blend the eyelid-cheek junction.

Myth: All cosmetic surgeons are “real” plastic surgeons.

Fact: Unfortunately, anyone with a valid medical license can call themselves a plastic surgeon, hang up a shingle, and begin treating patients! So plastic surgery has become a “buyer beware” specialty.

Myth: All plastic surgery board certifications are the same.

Fact: Only the American Board of Plastic Surgery certifies that someone is fully trained in plastic surgery of the face and body. It takes 6-9 years to achieve this training, and then you must pass a rigorous written and 2-day oral exam.

Myth: You can trust any type of doctor that advertises plastic surgery procedures.

Fact: This is not true. Any type of physician with a valid medical license can perform cosmetic surgery. So, it is important to choose wisely – a board-certified plastic surgeon.

Myth: It is important to have a plastic surgery procedures performed in an accredited operating facility.

Fact: Absolutely true. Unless you are a board-certified plastic surgeon by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, you are not required to perform plastic surgery in an accredited facility.

Myth: Plastic surgeons should be able to provide patient examples of procedures they have performed.

Fact: Absolutely fact. At UT Southwestern, we share information with patients – including providing before & after photos of our patients. This is one of the tools you can use to help make a decision about the experience and results a surgeon can achieve. In fact, board-certified plastic surgeons prefer informed patients. Shared-decision making can achieve more effective results, and support your overall safety.

Myth: Laser liposuction is replacing traditional liposuction.

Fact: Not true. It hasn’t even been proven to work as effectively as traditional liposuction. The best and most advanced liposuction remains “UAL,” which gives the best contour and results with the least downtime. We’re working on this technology at UT Southwestern, trying to develop standardized techniques that may yield more consistent and reliable results.

Myth: Lasers can take off extra inches.

Fact: External ultrasound treatments, as well as low-level laser treatments, can be effective for some patients. This is an area of intense research at UT Southwestern. We have found that by using focused ultrasound beams modest amounts of unwanted fat can be removed in certain areas. However, this is not a replacement for a healthy diet and exercise.

Myth: Skin tightening lasers are effective for facial rejuvenation.

Fact: For some patients, lasers are effective. This also is an area of intense area of research for UT Southwestern Plastic Surgery.

Myth: You can contour your body and have long-term results without proper diet and regular physical activity.

Fact: Exercising on a regular basis can help with toning your body and managing weight. Your daily diet is important for good nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight – long-term.

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