Shopping for a Plastic Surgeon.
A lot of people have asked how I look as young as I do at the age of 59. I’ve been asked if I’ve had “work” done. The answer is no, not yet but I won’t have a problem with it when I decide the time is right.
I look younger in my pictures because I’m a photographer and former make up artist. I understand lighting and how make up works. It’s not so much of a tool to “make us look pretty” and more of a tool to help control light, shadows, and highlights. They call it eye shadow for a reason, you know.
But knowing how to take a picture doesn’t mean my skin is as fresh as a daisy. At some point, I’ll definitely want to do more than moan about the unfairness of it all. To that end, I’ve investigated four surgeons in my area and, by that, I mean I spent the money to go sit down and have a consultation with each of them. One thing I said to each was that I wanted a long-term relationship to help me maintain my skin as I age.
Here are the quick recaps my experiences:
The first one is a young fellow. He’s kind of a Hot Shot in this area. I thought he was a bit arrogant and had the bedside manner of a scientist performing experiments rather than a doctor. A friend of mine went to him several years ago and she spent $15,000. The work included having her forehead lifted, her hair line lowered, cheek implants, and an eye lift plus a resurfacing laser that took off her top layer of skin to remove wrinkles and blemished areas. Her recovery was an ordeal and looked horrifying. Plus, she needed help just to get food and to the bathroom. It took a couple weeks before she’d let anyone see her. Her face and the top of her head were numb for 6 months from the severed nerves. (However, she did eventually heal and she looks amazing. She soon found the love of her life and drifted off into the sunset of happiness.) In my interview with the Wonder Doctor, he told me my face was deformed ( WTH??) and I needed cheek implants, the corners of my eyes lifted, and my skin wrinkles removed via laser. The price was also $15,000. I also visited their in-house spa and got some in injectable cheek fillers a couple of years ago. After 3 visits, wherein the injections were extremely painful and left me with considerable bruising, I decided to stop using them altogether.
I explored another local dermatology center located near a retirement village. The doctor was a much older man. Experience counts, right? Except when he arrived, his breath was horrible and his own skin looked like Lady Aging had taken a vicious dislike to him. His plan was as follows. He would remove the beauty mark (mole) on my chin for $432.00 but it would leave a scar. He offered Fraxel laser resurfacing for 3 visits at $2100.00. My lip lines, he said, were just part of aging and he wouldn’t suggest doing the lasers at all because my complexion would probably scar. I’d be left with a white scar mustache!! He didn’t think the crusty patches on my skin were a problem and told me to stop using a magnifying mirror. (Oh yes he did!!) This was a VERY short visit because I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Being stinky and dismissive isn’t exactly the way to my heart or wallet. I declined to return.
The 3rd doctor was in Charleston. He’s known for his sewing skills. According to the reviews I saw, his stitches are things of beauty that don’t leave unsightly scars. I thought this looked promising and made the 4-hour round trip with high expectations. When I arrived, the office was empty of any other patients and I was ushered right in. After a brief wait, the doctor arrived and, then, proceeded to interrupt me while I was telling him my previous experiences and concerns. He said, from looking at me, I should have a chin implant and cheek implants, with laser skin removal for my lip lines. Before I could ask many questions, he left! I was astounded but soon in came a Counselor. (The Closer!) She was actually comforting and explained how easy the recovery would be and what to expect from surgery. She told me the cheek implants were cheaper in the long run than fillers. My costs were to be around $10,000. I took my packet of information home to mull it over. Then, about 4 days later, I received a call from the front desk. The scheduling department wanted to know why I hadn’t scheduled my surgery yet and they issued a warning that I could lose my consultation fee. (It’s usually applied to the cost of the surgery.) I was also sternly reminded that my price quote would only be good for a certain number of days. The abruptness of the doctor plus the demanding tone and blatant pressuring irritated me. I wouldn’t use that guy if he paid me!
The fourth visit was to another board-certified plastic surgeon about 20 minutes from me. Her name is Dr. Klenke (pronounced klinkee) and the practice is Pinnacle Plastic Surgery.
This visit was awesome. She actually listened! She shared stories and we laughed a lot. I took my BFF, Julia, with me and we both asked every question we could think up. Dr. Klenke told me that I should NOT get cheek implants because, as I age, the anchor bone could begin to deteriorate under the implant, where it’s “nailed” into the bone. She said when you see older women walking around with little balls on their cheeks, that’s where the bone underneath has started to degenerate.
She did not recommend ANY surgery at all at this time because she actually heard that I wanted a long-term relationship with my doctor. So, she suggested a round of fillers, Botox, and a radio frequency treatment called Exilis that will tighten skin from inside and will leave no white mustache scars. She broke down each treatment into manageable financial hits. And I could do them together or separately at my convenience.
A few months later, I returned and got some cheek injections and, she also removed one of the crusty patches, which it turns out, was a pre-cancerous spot. The fillers were easy and caused very little bruising because Dr. Klenke has a good technic. Together, those cost around $1700.00 for both. I do plan to get the Exilis on my neck and eyes. I’ll let you know how that goes. The price point is in the neighborhood of $2300.00 for several treatments on both areas.
Dr. Klenke explains, “Plastic surgery is no longer about vanity. It’s about Vitality. “There is a lot of research showing that people who feel better about the way they look on the outside, actually have a lot of really interesting positive changes internally, like cortisol levels are lower. They’ve actually shown that people who tend to keep up with themselves on the outside tend to keep up with themselves on the inside and, therefore, live longer.”
As for me, the best thing I learned is to ALWAYS get a second opinion on the work being suggested. Each doctor made different suggestions on what would “fix” my face and the dismissiveness I encountered was astounding. I do not accept that kind of behavior from anyone but especially from a doctor who wants thousands of dollars.
So, Pinnacle Plastic Surgery wins my business. Check her out and remember Palmetto Bluff Resort is right around the corner if you want a luxurious place to recover. (Neither are affiliates of mine. I’m not being paid to say that. LOL)
Pinnacle Plastic Surgery
7 Mallett Way
Bluffton, South Carolina 29910
Pictures. (These are pretty graphic so be warned!) http://www.plasticsurgerypractice.com/2011/05/facial-implant-complications-prevention-and-treatment/