Cosmetic Surgery Serving Washington, DC - Dr. Roger J. Oldham Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Dec 26 2008

How long does a facelift last?

The longevity of a facelift depends upon many factors, including facial bone structure, skin thickness and elasticity, the extent of environmental damage and heredity.  Some patients will begin to demonstrate some further aging features 7-10 years after an initial facelift, but these can be readily improved with a repeat procedure.  For other patients, those changes may not be noted until 12-15 years after the initial facelift.  Most importantly, however, after any facelift procedure, the face still looks better, even after 25-30 years, than it would have looked without the facelift surgery.

Dec 19 2008

FICTION: A year-around bronze glow from very mild sun exposure looks so attractive and youthful, it must be healty.

FACT:  While a suntan gives the appearance of health and vigor, chronic sun exposure produces premature aging by breaking down the elastic fibers and thinning the layers of the skin.  While ultraviolet rays from the sun improves skin complexion temporarily, the long term detrimental effects of the sun far outweigh the short-term positive benefits.

Dec 12 2008

I have heard that Botox can help prevent or reduce future lines and wrinkles. How does that work?

Botox acts by relaxing the muscles.  If a muscle does not fully contract, the skin over the muscle does not wrinkle.  Repeated contractions of the muscles can cause deep wrinkles in the skin, which eventually will produce a permanent crease.  After that happens, even Botox will not fully eliminate the crease.  If Botox is injected at the first sign of wrinkling, a deep crease will never develop.

Sep 12 2008

I have a friend who has breast implants in front of the muscle. My doctor, however, recommends placement behind the muscle. Which is the best technique?

Approximately 25 years ago, drawing upon experience gained from post-mastectomy breast reconstruction patients, plastic surgeons began placing the implants behind the pectoralis muscles of the chest for cosmetic breast augmentation.  The technique gained popularity, and is now the most commonly used placement for implants, largely because of two advantages:  1) post augmentation mammograms are more reliable, because less breast tissue is obscured when the implant is positioned behind the muscle; and 2) placement behind the muscle lowers the incidence of capsular contracture, a post-surgical hardening of the tissue around the implant, which can make the breast feel undersirably firm.

Sep 05 2008

Botox being used to minimize scars.

Botox, which has been widely used for several years in plastic surgery to minimize deep lines and wrinkles, is now being used to minimize scars.  In a study from the Mayo Clinic, plastic surgeons injected Botox into the skin of the foreheads and upper cheeks of patients following excision and closure of skin lesion sites.  As expected, Botox minimized general movement of the area.  Since the movement of the skin surrounding the surgical site often adversely affects the healing process, they found that the Botox-injected wound sites, which had minimal motion, produced superior scars.

Aug 22 2008

Lipo Dissolve

A lot is being written in the lay press about Lipo Dissolve (Mesotherapy) for removal of unwanted fat in the hips, thighs, abdomen and elsewhere.  Various agents are injected into these areas of unwanted fat and this is sometimes done by unlicensed practitioners.  Injecting these solutions are designed to dissolve fat in the subcutaneous layer of the body, but to what degree and with what accompanying side effects, no one knows.  Lipo Dissolve is not a substitute for weight loss or for the more effective procedure of liposuction of larger volumes of fat.  Unfortunately, very little is known about the safety of the solutions and the technique is not endorsed by The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and is not FDA approved.

Aug 01 2008

Juvederm vs. Restylane: What is the difference?

Both Restylane and Juvederm are frequently mentioned in fashion magazines and the lay press as fillers which can effectively soften folds and wrinkles.  Many people are asking about the differences in the two.  Restylane and Juvederm are both hyaluronic acid products.  Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the body.  Restylane and Juvederm are very similar in composition but there are importance differences which have made Juvederm the treatment of choice for many plastic surgeons.  Juvederm is somewhat more concentrated and is more "cross-linked" which produces a smoother result.  Proponents of Juvederm point out that these differences have distinct advantages including less bruising, milder pinkness and decreased swelling following the injection. 

Jul 10 2008

At what age are women having breast augmentation surgery?

A recent survey was performed in order to identify the ages of women who are having breast augmentation.  50% of the women were between the ages of 19 and 34; to the surprise of many people, 40% of the women were in the 35-50 age group.

May 23 2008

I have been reading about the open versus closed approach to rhinoplasty. What is the difference?

The open rhinoplasty is a relatively new approach to performing nasal cosmetic surgery.  The surgeon makes an incision across the columella (the vertical skin column separating the two nostrils) and elevates the skin from the cartilage of the nasal tip.  The modification to the nasal skeleton (cartilage and bone) is then done under direct vision.  Some surgeons feel that this direct visualization of the underlying structures improves their results.  The open rhinoplasty approach, however, produces increased postoperative swelling and prolongs the receovery time.  Many surgeons are also concerned about creating a permanent scar from the incision across the columella.

Other surgeons prefer the traditional closed rhinoplasty and remain confident that they can see the internal structures very well as they operate through the nostril with specialized instruments and lighting techniques.  

May 16 2008

Injectable Fillers

Injection of various "fillers" to eliminate some of the undesirable lines and depressions of the aging process is among the most commonly used non-surgical techniques for cosmetic improvement of the face.  While there are dozens of fillers in use throughout the world, only a few have been approved by the FDA for use in the United States.  The most popular filler in this country is hyaluronic acid (Restyland and Juvederm).  Results usually last 6 to 12 months. The FDA recently approved a permanent injectable filler, Artefil.  The prospect of a permanent result from a filler has obvious appeal.  Because facial structures and tissues change as the face matures, however, many plastic surgeons are hesitant to inject a permanent material.  The placement of the filler that creates a perfect result today may give an unattractive bulge or line as the face ages.  This could result in an uncorrectable aesthetic problem.

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