Threading Your Purse

Our decisions are directed by economic considerations. When we go shopping for food, buy presents, live in the material world, we decide what to buy by the size of our wallet and how we like the touch, the feel – or how much we need the particular item. Very much the same considerations are taken into account by patients deciding to have plastic surgery. However, a tummy tuck or breast lift is not the same as buying an expensive dress, or a present for your wife. Fundamentally, where you pay for “things” your decision is based on the utility-availability ratio. Where you pay for services, however, the decision factors are many and vary with your experience and knowledge.

As we have emphasized in one of our previous articles, there are simple material costs, which are immutable: you pay for the operating room, you pay for the instruments, and running costs, which are a given in the world of plastic surgery. No surgeon in the United States can, for instance, do a breast-lift under $3,000 without losing money. If he advertises such prices, a yellow light should go on in your head saying: “There is something wrong!”

What your decision should turn on is only the skill and ability of the surgeon, his experience and results. Personal antipathy at the start will not lead to a good end. Neither will the patient’s “cheap” mindset. More often than not, patients return to us asking to re-do or repair some grievous fault that their “economically-chosen” physician made. Such reconstructive surgeries are often more expensive and results far less perfect than if your first decision had been more generous. Generous to whom? To yourself. It does not pay to save on your health and Beauty…

A fine case in point. There is a modern cheap facelift procedure called “thread-lift.” The thread-lift procedure, which makes use of implanted metal barbed threads, may be less costly than standard facelift procedures, but it has never worked well. According to a team of state researchers and independent assessors in New York in a study published in the current issue of The Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, a survey of three dozen patients who have had either, the thread-lifts alone, or fat injections, or thread-lift surgery plus non-surgical procedures showed that one month into the survey virtually all of them were satisfied and showed noticeable improvement. However, not a single one was when the researchers came back to examine the patients a second time 12 to 31 months later.

The authors concluded that any improvement in skin tightness in thread-lift patients was caused not by the barbed threads but by plain old swelling. As the swelling decreased, so did the tightness, leaving the patient with a face full of “fishhooks,” a lighter wallet and nothing to show for it. The researchers concluded that, given these findings, as well as the risk of adverse events and patient discomfort, use of this procedure for facial rejuvenation simply could not be justified.

Time and again, such research has shown that only a well performed classic procedure, such as the facelift, tummy-tuck, or liposuction – will have lasting results. Your satisfaction is commensurate to your selection of the surgeon – his background, experience, even personal likeness. There is dime a dozen surgeons out there who have come here from diverse countries in the world whose medical expertise, background, and education cannot be ascertained, and if so, only vaguely. Many of them barely speak English… How can someone from an unknown school from India, Indonesia, or a person educated 40 years ago in a former communist country – compare to a Magna Cum Laude Physician from Columbia and Harvard?!

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