Have you noticed how things in life continue to evolve? Remember the old rotary phones with cords on them? Compared to today’s iPhones, it looks like we perform magic. Grandparents have evolved too. Remember what grandparents used to be like forty or fifty years ago? One of my patients said, “Blue hair, orthopedic shoes, baking cookies, and polyester.” Now grandparents are hip, active, stylish, athletic, and in many cases, grandparents are even raising their own grandchildren.
Well, plastic surgery has evolved as well, and I’m here to tell you what is possible with today’s technology. The training is better, the results are better, the tools we use are different, it is safer and more affordable – there has never been a better time to have a cosmetic procedure performed. If I had walked into a room full of plastic surgeons thirty years ago and told them I could perform a facelift in sixty or ninety minutes with results comparable to a traditional facelift, with the patient walking to his or her car afterward, they would have told me it couldn’t be done.
Consider a story from Victor below, who is the epitome of the evolved grandparent taking advantage of the latest evolution in plastic surgery.
The Spring Chicken: Victor
Victor is like the fun-loving, trouble-making friend you have, who loves to be the center of attention. He came in for a consultation because his neck would dangle back and forth as he walked, and he needed to “get rid of it!” We went through his medical history, and noticed that he did not mention his age. So I asked, “Victor, can you tell me how young you are?”
He refused to tell me. “You don’t need to know my age. I’m healthy, I just saw my doctor, and I’m only on one blood pressure pill.” I thought I was going to have to arm-wrestle him to get the answer. Finally, he began to relent. He got real quiet and looked around to see who was within earshot. He whispered, “I’ll tell you, as long as you promise not to tell anyone. My girlfriend is in the lobby, and she doesn’t know how old I am.”
“She is sixty-seven years old, and if she finds out that I’m eighty-two, she won’t be around for long. And, yes, I am robbing the cradle!” he said with a playful smile.
Victor was an active senior, who played tennis, exercised daily, and had a sense of humor akin to a mischievous uncle. He was focused on what he could do to improve his dangling neck. Apparently, his grandchildren had brought it to his attention.
“I hate it when the grandkids play with my neck and say, ‘Grandpa, what is that?’” he exclaimed.
“I’ve got to GET RID OF THIS!” he added vehemently, while grabbing the fullness under his neck for emphasis. “We never use the words ‘gone, take-away, or get rid of,” I replied quickly. “If you remove something completely, the results can end up looking unnatural, extreme, or severe.” I explained to Victor that our goal was to attain the maximum level of natural-looking improvement and he agreed that natural was the look he was going for.
I recommended a medium ImageLift for Victor, especially because he emphasized that he did not need a full-facelift. Moving forward, we made contact with Victor’s primary care doctor to ensure that he was a good medical candidate for the procedure. It is uncommon that the primary care doctor or cardiologist will refuse medical clearance, especially for procedures performed under local anesthesia. Nonetheless, it is always a good idea to ask ahead of time.
Victor maintained a positive attitude at every juncture of his procedure; he cracked jokes before, during and after treatment. When patients ask how much improvement they can get, we tell them that it depends on each patient. No one can make a promise or guarantee of the outcome. Having said that, Victor’s results were a grand slam home run! He had such a dramatic improvement that he could easily pass for someone in his early sixties.
“My girlfriend still doesn’t know what my age is!” he declared proudly.
Needless to say, Victor was happy. Six weeks later, his girlfriend returned to the office. She also came in for a consultation and said she was here because she ‘didn’t want Victor to look better than her.’
She had a small ImageLift soon after, and she is yet another success story. And she still doesn’t know Victor’s secret. We must be careful about which comments and opinions we listen to.
Many messengers in our culture tell us to get ready because our time is coming to an end. My mother is seventy-one years old. When I pick up her mail, I see offers to buy burial plots. The are offers for half-off cremation and suggestions for what retirees should be doing with the time they have left. She’s constantly being inundated with depressing suggestions, just because she happens to fall into a certain age bracket. Victor is definitely one to ignore these not-so-subtle insinuations. To say the least, he has no plans to hang it up or slow down any time soon.