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Season 2, Episode 10: The Art and Business of Plastic Surgery 

Welcome to Season 2, Episode 10 of Meet the Expert with Elliot Kallen®

In the pursuit of a better outward appearance, many of us are reaching out to surgeons to nip and tuck the parts of ourselves we don't like.

Interest in plastic surgery is at an all-time high as plastic surgeons and dermatologists report seeing record numbers of patients since the start of COVID-19. 

In this episode, Elliot is bringing on Dr. Elliott Lavey to discuss the art and business of plastic surgery. Dr. Elliott Lavey is one of the top Board-Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons in Northern California, and he is answering all of Elliot Kallen's questions - even the dodgier ones!

Dr. Elliott B Lavey MD Danville plastic surgeon

Elliott B Lavey, MD

Board-Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

Dr. Elliott B. Lavey is a plastic surgeon in Danville, California and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including San Ramon Regional Medical Center and Stanford Health Care - ValleyCare. He received his medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.


What is the goal of plastic surgery?

Most plastic surgery patients seek cosmetic procedures to improve their physical appearance. After all, nearly everyone has experienced a sense of insecurity about specific parts of their face or body.

For many patients, plastic surgery is a great solution to reverse the clock on the aging process. Many patients also seek cosmetic procedures to return to their pre-pregnancy bodies. 

Additionally, in many industries and professions, there is a lot of emphasis on image, and image goes with self-confidence.


Joe Biden (AP).


For example, Dr. Lavey believes President Joe Biden has likely had a facelift and eyelid surgery. He points out, “Last year, Joe Biden’s job was to convince the American public that he represented their ideals and values, and that he was the right candidate to get the job done. He succeeded in giving the impression of being likeable, vigorous, and capable — and is now the leader of the free world.” 


How does plastic surgery affect our mental health?

Years of data about patient satisfaction outcomes prove that cosmetic procedures can indeed make us feel better about ourselves. 

Procedures such as face lifts, tummy tucks, and liposuction are designed to help patients appear more approachable, more rested, and more attractive. After having such procedures, patients have a better sense of confidence, leading to a better quality of life. 


What are the most popular surgeries for men and women?

These days, plastic surgery is common among men and women. 

Historically speaking, the majority of plastic surgery patients are women. But these days, an increasing number of men are interested in undergoing plastic surgery.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), the total number of cosmetic surgical procedures performed among men was 1.2 million in 2015 — that's just under 10 percent of the total number of cosmetic surgical procedures, but more than triple the number of men going under the knife in 1997, when ASAPS first began its annual statistic reports.

In Dr. Lavey’s practice, common procedures among male patients include eyelid procedures, breast reduction surgery, liposuction of the love handles, nasal surgeries, and face and neck lifts. For female patients, breast procedures, tummy tucks, facelifts, eyelid procedures, and nasal surgeries reign supreme.


Who are the ideal candidates for plastic surgery?

Before moving forward with cosmetic surgery, Dr. Lavey recommends that patients establish a healthy baseline — being in a healthy mental state, setting realistic expectations, and securing stable social relationships — before moving forward.

You may not be a good candidate for cosmetic surgery if you have serious health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, a bleeding disorder, heart disease, or depression.


Are there any risks associated with plastic surgery?

As with any surgery, there are risks involved with plastic surgery procedures. On the whole, plastic surgery complications are rare. According to a 2018 review of over 25,000 cases, complications occur in fewer than 1 percent of outpatient surgeries.

Before any procedure, a plastic surgeon will walk their patient through what they are, how often they occur and how they will be handled if they do occur.


What can patients do to mitigate the risks of plastic surgery?

Dr. Lavey reports that most of his patients interview a handful of plastic surgeons before making a decision. In terms of technical skill, “Board-certified plastic surgeons are very technically proficient, and only vary between aesthetic philosophy, vision, ability to hear patients -- but the general level of skill is very high. Anyone who’s board-certified can successfully perform routine cosmetic surgery operations.”

It’s important to find a plastic surgeon whom you feel comfortable with, who provides adequate communication, who has a good reputation among other health care providers in the community. Your plastic surgeon should be someone whom you trust and feel comfortable working with.

It’s also important to find out whether a plastic surgeon has hospital privileges, or the right to use the equipment and facilities at a given hospital. Dr. Lavey performs his operations in a surgery facility that’s adjacent to a major hospital. Should something happen to one of his patients, Dr. Lavey is able to operate in an acute care hospital alongside other physicians and with the appropriate medical resources.

Finally, Dr. Lavey recommends patients consider how much time they can take off work. In most cases, patients will recover within an expected time frame, and can resume life without disrupting the flow of their lives.


Conclusion

After COVID-19, many of us are feeling worn out and wanting to regain some semblance of control. Cosmetic procedures may be a worthy self-investment. If done well, plastic surgery can help us boost our self-image, improve our social interactions, and enjoy our lives even more.


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