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Ask The Expert - Rudolf C. Thompson, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Rudolf C. Thompson, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Thompson Center for Plastic Surgery
Dr. Rudy Thompson, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and New Jersey native, is celebrating the start of his eleventh year in private practice in Monmouth County. In May, 2009, Dr.Thompson opened the Thompson Center for Plastic Surgery in Colts Neck, NJ.
Patient education is of utmost importance to Dr.Thompson, as is providing the safest plastic surgery techniques and highest standard of care, both pre and post-operatively. As a member of both prestigious societies within the field of Plastic Surgery, Dr.Thompson is proud to carry on the mission statements of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
What do you see as a trend right now that your patients are looking for procedure wise?
Today most patients are interested in looking good fast, without any surgery, and with very little to no downtime.We have trended toward the field of what we refer to as cosmetic medicine. Patients are generally no longer coming to the office requesting invasive operative procedures such as face lifts, brow lifts and neck lifts but, instead, non-surgical cosmetic procedures. Cosmetic facial plastic surgery has transformed into injectable and laser procedures.
Cosmetic medicine can offer patients a “one stop shopping” array of combination treatments that will provide themwith facial rejuvenation results that can rival the results of a face lift. Technology has come a long way in just the ten years that I have been in practice. There are now injectables that can increase facial volume, such as Sculptra Aesthetic™. Laser Technology has come a long way as well. Gone are the days of the laser resurfacing treatments with long and prohibitive down time for patients.
We have also become very versatile with injectable filler treatments.We are now injecting fillers to correct the tear troughs, or hollowed areas under the eyes, in addition to filling smile lines, or nasolabial folds and augmenting lips with fillers.
Aside from non-invasive procedures, what other trends are you seeing in cosmetics?
Without question, plastic surgery today is dominated by body contouring procedures. Over the last five years, more body contouring procedures have been performed than ever before. Our society has become more and more focused on weight loss and nutrition due to the alarming high rate of obesity in America. Surgery, indeed, has become an effective treatment for weight loss, in the proper candidate and when all other options have failed. Gastric Bypass and Lap Band procedures are at an all time high.
When a patient loses a large amount of weight and, often very rapidly after Gastric Bypass or a Lap Band procedure, he or she is left with a “deflated” body with excess loose skin. One of the most gratifying subspecialties in plastic surgery is body contouring surgery after massive weight loss. After a series of, usually, three to four surgeries, generally spaced three months apart, nearly all the excess loose skin after weight loss can be removed restoring the body to its natural, aesthetic contours.
Breast augmentation has become the most popular cosmetic procedure in women today. Patients should understand that breast augmentation is an art. It requires a significant amount of preoperative planning taking into consideration differences in breast volume, the breast skin envelope, and breast tissue characteristics that, may or may not, be correctable with surgery. In the hands of a board certified Plastic Surgeon, the breast augmentation experience has become a gratifying one with minimal down time.
With all the sensationalism surrounding Cosmetic Plastic Surgery, can you educate us for a moment on the way things really are as opposed to what we see in the Glamour/People-type publications?
The media has certainly sensationalized plastic and cosmetic surgery. It is not uncommon for a local news station to not only portray a new procedure when it is developed but also over hype it. In other words, they’ll say how wonderful a procedure is, before any published data in the scientific plastic surgery literature regarding its safety and efficacy exists. We saw a prime example of this with laser assisted lipolysis, or laser liposuction, and with injection lipolysis, or injections used to “melt away” unwanted fat deposits. Patients would see procedures portrayed on various talk shows on television, in glamour magazines or on social media websites. As a result, these procedures can become automatically perceived as legitimate and efficacious due to these “reputable” sources presenting them.
Another example of how plastic and cosmetic surgery has been sensationalized in the media is through television shows such as “Extreme Makeover.” It is often portrayed that multiple complex cosmetic surgical procedures can be safely performed all at once with short recovery times and, even at times, seemingly instantaneous recovery times. Television has also come into play as in the example of when “expert advice” is sometimes followed without research. Many people can recall the story of a famous rap singer’s mother who had a devastating outcome after her son took the advice of a popular talk show host in choosing a Plastic Surgeon. In this case, the plastic surgeon was not board certified.
If you had your wish, what about your specialty would you change if you could?
While plastic and cosmetic surgery is often considered a glamorous profession, as they say, “To the victor come the spoils” and one of the “spoils” in our wonderful specialty is the resistance of insurance companies to view plastic surgery procedures after massive weight loss as medically necessary. We continue to fight an ongoing battle with insurance companies trying to convince themt hat patients who have lost over 100-150 pounds often through gastric bypass or lap band surgery, need additional “medically necessary” procedures to compete their weight-loss journey. These body contouring procedures after massive weight-loss tend to be very labor intensive and time consuming for the surgeon, which drives up the cosmetic fees for these procedures. Obesity is a medical problem and the excess loose skin after massive weight-loss results from a medical problem. Its correction should not be viewed as elective or cosmetic in nature but, instead, medically necessary. This is an ongoing battle we will work hard to try to continue to fight.
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