Recently, when an 8-year-old Ohio girl underwent a plastic surgery procedure to reduce the size of her ears, many people rejoiced that the child, Tatum Gordon, could finally be happy with her appearance. Gordon had long been teased for the size and shape of her ears, and following the surgical procedure she could finally return to school with confidence. But the surgery raised ethical questions as well - namely, how young is too young for plastic surgery?
"I don’t really think there’s such a thing as an across-the-board age that’s appropriate for plastic surgery," says Dr. Ryan Mitchell, a plastic surgeon from Henderson, Nevada. "In the Gordon case, her ears were reshaped. It wasn’t a surgery that would have benefited her by waiting longer to do. It also was probably not a surgery that would have made sense to perform on her were she any younger."
Mitchell says that many clinics have a minimum age at which they are willing to operate on a patient. In 2007, the FDA ruled that teenagers must be at least 18 to undergo breast augmentation. According to Mitchell, this decision was made for both mental and physical reasons.
"By 18 the body should be done growing and be out of puberty. So, chances are you aren’t operating on a body that isn’t done growing yet," he says. "That, and at 18, legally you are an adult and should be able to make this type of decision for yourself."
But turning 18 doesn’t quite open the plastic surgery floodgates, either.
With medical care costs in the United States among the highest in the world, getting quality care can be difficult for some patients to afford - especially if they lack medical insurance, or if their care is not covered by insurance. As a result, some creditors have created medical-financing programs to help address this issue.
Lenders like CareCredit, Sofi and Lightstream offer private financing for patients seeking to pay for everything from dental surgery to plastic surgery and even pet procedures. But while these credit programs may seem like a straightforward way to break up costly medical bills without having to delay the care you need, many consumers don’t realize some credit programs come with hidden pitfalls that could end up costing them a lot more than they bargained for.
The problems often begin because patients don’t realize they’re enrolling in private financing. That’s because it wasn’t too long ago that many doctors offered payment plans through their practice. Today, while some still offer this service, collecting debts has proven to be too costly and time consuming, and many practices have instead opted to accept private credit plans.
"Private credit plans allow the doctor to receive the payment in full, up front, without the patient having to wait to receive treatment," says Dr. Ryan Mitchell, a plastic surgeon from Henderson, Nevada. "I believe it streamlines the payment process by taking the doctor out of the equation. The last thing your doctor wants to do is nag you for payment."
Unfortunately, while these credit plans do have their benefits, some patients simply don’t understand what they’re signing up for when they apply for financing. For example, some plans offer zero interest if the balance of the loan is paid within a specified amount of time, but some patients miss that crucial last detail.
Plastic surgery is one of those topics that everyone has an opinion about, regardless of whether they’ve had it done or not. For some people, it’s considered elitist and only for the rich and famous. For others, it’s considered unnecessary and risky, and to some, it’s just wasteful, because they feel people should just embrace what makes them different. But to a growing number of people, these outdated opinions about plastic surgery are becoming a thing of the past.
Recently, plastic surgery social network RealSelf released the findings of a survey on attitudes toward plastic surgery, and the results show signs of a major shift in thinking about the field.
"The good news is that when asked if their partner's desire to get a cosmetic procedure would change how they felt about their partner, 45 percent of respondents said it wouldn’t change how they felt about them," says Dr. Ryan Mitchell, a plastic surgeon from Henderson, Nevada. "Another 38 percent said it would depend on what procedure their partner wanted. Only 13 percent said it would make them think negatively of their partner."
While RealSelf did not provide any data for attitudes toward plastic surgery from previous years, Mitchell says it should be interesting to watch the changes from today on.
"Hopefully they will make this a regular survey and can monitor the changing attitudes toward this field over time," he says. "Because I think the more people see their friends and family and neighbors are accepting of this kind of surgery, the more they’ll be accepting of it themselves."
It’s safe to say that big behinds are having their moment in the spotlight these days. With celebrities like the Kardashian sisters, Jennifer Lopez and Nicki Minaj stealing headlines left and right, all eyes are on them - and their curves. So, it’s not surprising that across America, women are flocking to plastic surgeons’ offices for silicone butt implants and Brazilian Butt-Lifts. But many patients don’t realize that these procedures come with a lot of different risks, as well as pluses and minuses. We asked Henderson, Nevada, plastic surgeon Dr. Ryan Mitchell what patients should know before they head to a plastic surgeon to pump up their posterior.
"There are two main methods for achieving a butt-lift: silicone implants or the Brazilian Butt-Lift, which is a fat-grafting procedure," says Mitchell. "The surgeon removes the fat from one area of your body - usually the abdomen, hips or thighs - and implants that fat into your buttocks to give them more volume."
Mitchell says that while both procedures have their pros and cons, the Brazilian is generally better tolerated because it uses the body’s own fat.
"There’s nothing for the body to reject, because the fat is already part of your body. Plus you get a nice liposuction procedure while you’re at it," he says with a laugh.
As the adage goes, "everyone loves a bargain." After all, what’s not to love about saving money? But sometimes that great deal isn’t so great after all. Take plastic surgery, for example. While patients may think they are being smart consumers by calling around to find the best price, that can easily backfire. Dr. Ryan Mitchell of Henderson, Nevada, explains why.
"The problem with doctor-shopping for plastic surgeons is that the fee you pay is based on the doctor’s skill," he says. "It’s not like getting a good deal on a toaster. You’re not getting an identical product for less by going with the lowest price."
According to Mitchell, some of the things that factor into the fee for procedures also include the doctor’s insurance, memberships to professional accreditation organizations, continuing education, staff, and fees for equipment, tools and surgical facilities.
"All of these costs add up, but generally speaking the more you pay, the higher level of skill your surgeon should have, and the better experience you can expect," Mitchell says.
No matter where you live, chances are you’ve experienced a challenging time or two in your life. But what sets us apart from each other is how we cope with those challenges. For the people of Greece, a surprising trend has emerged from the economic depression that has devastated the country. Dubbed the "lipstick effect," a record number of Greeks are turning to plastic surgery to help perk them up in this time of crisis, and it’s left a lot of people scratching their heads.
"Plastic surgery, or more specifically cosmetic injectables, make sense as a quick pick-me-up if you’re feeling down," says Henderson, Nevada, plastic surgeon Dr. Ryan Mitchell. "But what’s so unique about this situation is that these are people who are in an economic depression. They aren’t rich - in fact, many of them are suffering financially. But they’re still making room in their budget for cosmetic work."
Cosmetic procedures have become so popular in Greece, a record 220,000 procedures were conducted in 2016 - up from 61,000 just six years before. So, why cosmetic procedures, instead of a new pair of shoes or a deposit to their savings account?
"I think it's because when you look better, you feel better," Mitchell says. "When you are depressed, when your country is depressed, if you can look at yourself in the mirror and like what you see, it makes life seem a little easier, a little less overwhelming."
A New York district judge has ruled that Springfield Medical Aesthetic, PC of Roslyn, New York, violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) when it denied breast-reduction surgery to three HIV-positive men in 2015. The lawsuit was initially filed by Mark Milano, and two other patients joined suit shortly after.
U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres ruled that the doctors at Advanced Cosmetic Surgery of New York failed to adequately evaluate the medical facts of each individual case when they declined to perform surgery on each of the three patients involved in the suit due to their HIV diagnosis.
According to Torres, the onus was on the doctors to prove that "the application of any criteria screening out individuals with HIV was ‘necessary’," which, according to her ruling, they failed to do.
"The basic fact to underscore here was that there was no reason to not perform the surgery on any of these patients," says Dr. Ryan Mitchell, a plastic surgeon in Henderson, Nevada. "To refuse to operate on these patients due to their HIV-positive status was discriminatory at worst, and irresponsible at best."
Choosing to get breast implants can be a life-changing decision, but once you’ve made the decision to get them, many patients simply don’t know what to do next. Should you get saline? Silicone? "Gummy bear"? What size? And what if the implants are too small once they’re in - or too big? There are so many questions, but there’s no need to stress! Here’s a helpful guide to assist you in your breast implant decision-making process.
Silicone, Saline or ‘Gummy Bear’ Implants?
One of the first decisions you’ll have to make when you decide to get implants is what type of implant you want. While many surgeons have preferences that they like to work with, all surgeons will give you an honest opinion about which type of implant will work best with your lifestyle.
Saline implants are considered by many to be the safest type of implant, because upon accidental rupturing they will release saltwater into the body, which is absorbed safely. The implant will still need to be removed and likely replaced, but the patient should not suffer any side effects due to the fluid itself.
Mall bangs. Permanent lipliner. Bell bottoms. Trends come and go - some of them not soon enough - but when they’re here, they can cause quite a stir. This is nowhere more apparent than in the world of cosmetic surgery. A field that used to be associated with breast implants and rhinoplasties for the rich and famous just 20 years ago is now more commonly associated with Brazilian butt-lifts, Botox and hyaluronic acid lip injections for the selfie crowd.
But while some trends stand the test of time, others are resigned to their spot in ancient history. So when "Allure" magazine released an article titled "The Biggest 4 Plastic Surgery Trends for 2018," we wondered how many of these trends were just that, and which procedures would stick around for the long haul. Here’s an expert opinion on whether these trendy procedures are as trendy as they seem.
Claim: "Botox 2.0"A plastic surgeon is quoted saying a product that’s "better than Botox" is set to hit the market in 2018. In fact, there may be several products that are better than Botox headed your way in the new year. But with no other details, it’s hard to know what those products could be.
VerdictWithout giving any real details, it's hard to make the call on this one, but we will say this: Botox isn’t just for relaxing away wrinkles anymore. It’s been used to treat everything from TMJ disorders to overactive sweat glands and bladders. It has been proven safe, and it works. So yes, there may be products that come for its crown, but considering the versatility, effectiveness and relative affordability of trusty old Botox, we doubt anyone will be stealing the throne anytime soon.
For the average consumer, plastic surgery is an investment procedure, something that either requires financing or, at a minimum, a lot of budgeting to afford. But women in Hong Kong are reportedly taking matters into their own hands, spending money on at-home, do-it-yourself devices that promise to correct a lengthy list of problem areas without surgery. But do these so-called DIY devices really do anything at all? Plastic surgeon Dr. Ryan Mitchell of Henderson, Nevada, weighs in.
"Essentially, you’re throwing your money away on these products," says Mitchell. "They can’t do the things they claim to do, and in fact they could actually be harming you in the process."
Mitchell says devices that claim to slim or lift the nose, devices that slim the face and "smile trainers" not only sound uncomfortable, but they could also cause permanent damage to your face and body.
"The truth is, nobody really knows what these things will end up doing to your face in five or 10 years. They could cause muscle damage, or create wrinkles where there might not have ever been any otherwise," says Mitchell.
Those looking for the next big trend in plastic surgery needn’t look farther than the thighs. That’s because these days, thighs are quite literally getting their moment in the sun. With thigh-high slits appearing on runways and red carpets alike, the thigh is the body part celebrities and fashion icons will be showing off this year. For those fortunate enough to have naturally shapely thighs, the fashion options are endless, but for everyone else there’s a new series of procedures called thighlighting.
Though thighlighting can include a combination of several different procedures, it generally consists of liposuction that contours the thigh to create shape and definition.
"Many thigh liposuction procedures can help reduce some of the appearance of cellulite and just make the thigh smaller, but thighlighting aims to make it look shapelier and more toned," says Dr. Ryan Mitchell, a plastic surgeon in Henderson, Nevada. "It's not enough to just have skinny thighs anymore. Women want shapely, toned-looking legs, too."
Unfortunately, for some women, getting that toned look isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Wisdom can be a tricky thing. After all, we’re all raised to listen to our elders - but what happens when mother really doesn’t know best? When it comes to your skin care, your mom might mean well, but she may not realize that age-old wisdom she’s handing out is dangerously dated. Check out this list of top beauty myths and don’t keep making the same mistakes!
Moisturizer Prevents Wrinkles
When you came of age, did your mother or grandmother present you with a big bottle of lotion to help you start "preventing wrinkles"? Well, as it turns out, that’s not exactly how it works. If you want to prevent wrinkles, not just any old moisturizer will do - it has to have anti-aging properties like SPF, otherwise it's not doing anything but moisturizing your skin. The good news is, when you moisturize your skin, it looks healthier and more vibrant. But those results aren’t long-term, and that moisturizer offers your skin no protection from aging. This is an easy fix, though - just swap your regular lotion for a product with an SPF and boost the benefits of your moisturizer without adding another step to your routine.
Darker Skin Doesn’t Get Cancer
A question we get asked a lot this time of year is, "Can I use my FSA or HAS account to pay for my plastic surgery procedure?" Of course, this varies by provider, but when considering using the remaining balance in your FSA or HSA account, consider the following.
What Is the Difference Between FSA and HSA Accounts?
The first thing you need to consider is the difference between FSA and HSA accounts. While both accounts offer tax benefits to those who utilize them, there are a few key differences.
FSA: FSA accounts are employer-sponsored Flexible Spending Accounts. Employer-funded FSA funds are usually pre-tax income that may or may not be matched or contributed to by your employer. You do not need to have medical insurance coverage to have an FSA account. FSA money can be used to cover co-pays, deductibles, coinsurance, prescription medications and medical procedures that are not covered by your insurance plan, such as certain surgeries. Check with your individual plan to see what it may be applied to.
A recent study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that a majority of American adults do not regularly wear sunscreen. According to the data, less than 30 percent of women and about 14 percent of men regularly apply sunscreen to their face and exposed skin before heading outdoors, and about 42 percent of women and 18 percent of men regularly apply sunscreen to their face only.
Though the study didn’t address why Americans are so lax about applying sun protection, it’s easy to theorize. It can often be difficult to remember an extra step to your routine, especially if you don’t think you need it. But even driving in your car to work or walking outside to the mailbox exposes your skin to dangerous UV rays. Worse yet, with an estimated one in five Americans expected to develop skin cancer in their lifetime, keeping your skin safe at all times has become especially crucial.
So, what can you do to help encourage yourself to wear sunscreen every day - and not just on your face? Here are some ideas to help keep this healthy habit going.
If you are one of the approximately 30 percent of American women or 14 percent of American men who regularly wear sunscreen when going outdoors, you should be proud of yourself for doing your part to prevent the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays on your skin. But a recent study has revealed that if you’re drinking even one glass of alcohol per day, you could be increasing your risk of developing a form of skin cancer known as basal cell carcinoma (BCC) by 7 percent and your risk of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) by 11 percent!
"For every 10 grams of alcohol you consume, you dramatically increase your risk of developing these cancers," says Dr. Ryan Mitchell, a plastic surgeon in Henderson, Nevada.
This is because once consumed, the ethanol contained in alcohol can transform into a chemical called acetaldehyde, which has been proven to damage DNA and prevent it from repairing itself.
"The study shows that for every 10 grams of alcohol you consume daily, you increase your risk by 7 percent or 11 percent, respectively," Mitchell says.
A recent study of 2,000 British women sponsored by United Kingdom-based Sanex Zero% found that British women experience 72 "bad skin days" per year. More alarming, those 72 days a year (or six days a month) are affecting the "mental well-being" of 61 percent of respondents. Though the causes of bad skin days vary - respondents cited everything from acne breakouts to dryness - most troubling are the effects those bad days have on the lives of the respondents.
That’s because, according to the survey, a full 25 percent of respondents have canceled dates over bad skin, and one-fifth have canceled plans with friends.
"Even the most beautiful people in the world have days where they feel insecure about their appearance," says Dr. Ryan Mitchell, a plastic surgeon in Henderson, Nevada. "Having days like that is normal, and generally not a problem. But when those insecurities stop you from living your life, then they become a big problem."
So, what can be done to minimize these bad skin days, or at least minimize the effects they have on your emotional state?