Photo: Justin Jedlica
Forehead veins: Chances are you’ve probably never even thought of them. Some of you (like me) possibly weren’t even aware they were a thing. But for the 34-year-old Justin Jedlica—self-proclaimed “plastic surgery junkie”—they were just one more pesky flaw stopping him from achieving his lifelong goal: to transform himself into the first human Ken doll. And with 190 procedures under his belt, what’s one more time under the knife? Well, this time it could have meant his sight— just one of the possible side effects of the very controversial deveining procedure is blindness. Determined to smooth out his forehead to alabaster-like perfection, Jedlica went ahead with it anyway.
“Every time I would smile or laugh the veins in my forehead would stick out and make me look angry. I felt like I looked like a mean Disney villain when I laughed,” explains Jedlica, who has also referred to the bulging lines as his “Julia Roberts veins.”
This was not Jedlica’s first attempt to rid himself of the veins: “I started noticing the veins in my forehead in my late 20s. Initially, I had my brow bone shaved expecting that procedure would flatten the whole area of my forehead. But instead, I noticed my veins starting to pop out.”
According to Dr. Luis Navarro of the Vein Treatment Center, Jedlica has genetics and time to thank for his protruding veins. “As we age, the skin loses elasticity, and it is common for the veins on the face to become visible because the skin is thinner,” explains Navarro. “Veins around the forehead and eyes are very common as we age.”
Photo: Justin Jedlica
Jedlica is actually in good company: Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise, and Madonna (among others) are all proud owners of visible forehead veins. Some of them even have Facebook fan pages. Jolie’s veins actually have not one, but two Facebook fan pages, with a combined total of 60,000 likes.
If you don’t fall into that fanbase, Navarro says that most veins can be treated with simple injections. Unfortunately that couldn’t work with Jedlica because he has used too much Botox and fillers in the past. “My forehead is basically paralyzed at this point,” he says. Surgery was his last resort. And despite the risks, he’s “very happy” he did it.
The procedure is fairly straightforward. The surgery requires just a few tiny incisions (less than half an inch) around the hairline and eye sockets. The veins are then burned and tied off at each incision. The whole process takes an hour.
The healing, however, could take much longer. “I’m not fully recovered yet as I can still feel the veins disintegrating,” says Jedlica. “But the more I massage the area and break down the dead tissue it’s starting to soften out.” [Ed note: gross]
Plus, Jedlica might have to go back for follow-up treatments. “There is a possibility I could have an indention in my forehead after the veins dissolve and it could leave a track mark from where the vein was,” he explains.
That’s not the only risk Jedlica may face during his recovery, says New York-based plastic surgeon Dr. Matthew Schulman. “It is important to note that veins serve an important purpose,” says Schulman. “They drain blood from areas of the body and return it back to circulation. Removing necessary veins can lead to swelling of the area and interference with function.”
For Jedlica, that’s a small price to pay to pursue what he sees as his aesthetic passion. “For me, plastic surgery is a creative outlet where I get to wear the canvas that I create,” says Jedlica. “It’s similar to why people think tattoos are so appealing. It’s an artistic outlet for me. It’s how I express myself.”
Dr. Schulman sees it differently. “Multiple plastic surgery procedures may also be a sign of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) in which people see flaws in the mirror that are not really there,” says Schulman. He has never met Jedlica, but Schulman thinks it’s more a case of an addiction to plastic surgery, combined with some obsessive-compulsive tendencies, than BDD.
None of this seems to give Jedlica pause. In fact, he’s got a grocery list of other things he wants to do, including abdominal and calf implants. But first things first. “Next on my list is to do my trapezius muscles,” he says. “To balance out my back and shoulder implants.”