While proper plastic surgery has been praised for successfully shaving years off of your overall appearance, the myth of not being able to age naturally years down the road because of a past surgery tends to strike fear within many patients. This often leaves them wondering if plastic surgery is for them. If this sounds familiar, stop worrying. We got to the bottom of the far-fetched claim with La Jolla, CA, plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD, who puts this urban myth to bed.
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“People continue to age naturally after plastic surgery,” Dr. Singer explains, adding that understanding how the aging process works is crucial. “Plastic surgery does not stop the aging process; it just turns it back.” Aging also heavily depends on genetics and your overall health, as well as significant weight loss and gain, smoking, stress and sun exposure. But for the most part, Dr. Singer explains that plastic surgery does soften this process. “In fact, studies show that patients tend to age better after surgery because it diminishes the tendency for recurring laxity in some patients,” he says. “It all begins with how the surgery is performed,” explains Dr. Singer, adding that all procedures should be left in the hands of a board-certified plastic surgeon. “It’s simple: Patients who have natural-looking procedures will always age naturally; they will always look fresher and younger than if they hadn’t had the procedure.”
According to Dr. Singer, the rare time plastic surgery may “backfire” on your aging process is when the procedure was done incorrectly or overdone in the first place. “Patients can look unnatural if they were pulled inappropriately tight or if the face has been over-contoured with liposuction,” he explains, adding that because we lose fat in our cheeks and gain it under our neck as we get older, the incorrect or excessive removal of fat may leave a patient looking overly gaunt and ultimately older than they are. “The opposite extreme can occur if the face has been overfilled with fat grafts or fillers. Those of us who have extensive years of experience who follow our patients long after their surgeries know that they usually continue to look beautiful as they age, many looking even better than they did before surgery even many years later,” Dr. Singer explains. “If a woman undergoes a facial procedure and has a twin sister who didn’t, she will always look younger than the twin who didn’t undergo the procedure.”
The bottom line: “Perpetuating the myth that plastic surgery will accelerate the aging process, which is often spread by individuals who have a lack of knowledge or a vested interest in marketing the limited technologies that they have because they don’t operate, is a disservice to both the patient and the public, a myth spread,” Dr. Singer says. “Properly skilled, board-certified plastic surgeons and facial plastic surgeons are trained to improve your features for the long-run. This allows your aging process to appear natural, softened and enhanced—never fake or unnatural.”