Plastic surgery is a very powerful specialty but not for the reasons you may think. The effect that it has on the body with surgical procedures is more important than the effect that it has on your mind and how you feel about yourself. My philosophy for my whole career has been based on really a number of principles that relate to your health as well as your mental well-being. Physical exercise, cardiovascular exercise, strength training, stretching, meditation, diet are important components that have to do with your health and if you're healthy, it makes you look better and feel better about yourself.

The MacArthur Foundation did a 50-year study where they looked at the quality of life with people as they aged, and what they discovered, more important than cholesterol or any other blood pressure or measurements was two things. One, optimism, seeing the cup as half full and not half empty, and two, thinking about what you can do for others and not yourself. Over my career I have seen many people who come in and they see a flaw that may be there, but more importantly they fail to see the good things about themselves. Every person that comes in has a number of good features that make them attractive for one reason or another. We look at the feature they have and then decide how to best treat it and what has really changed in plastic surgery is that in the past we would operate, see the patient for several visits and then follow up in a year and then maybe not see them again for 5 or 10 years.

Today it's become more like a family practice that we see people, they may have Botox, they may have [inaudible 00:01:41] and then they will come back periodically for follow up visits and then may eventually come to surgery. The advantage of plastic surgery is there is a whole compendium of procedures that can be performed from the simplest, like skin care, to the most complicated, like surgery. The ability to provide this for the patient means there are options for every patient, sometimes several, sometimes more complicated. It is really a team work decision because you and I have to decide together how we're going to manage your problem. Then after a discussion and an examination, we lay out a plan. We have you check off things that bother you and then from that design a plan that lasts for a year so that you can have an idea of what the future will hold and what the possibilities are. Sometimes you may do one of those things, two of those things, and then over time add others as it goes along.

The thing that's really impressed me and excited me over the past 5 to 10 years is that we will have pictures of patients from 5 years ago and then pictures of them today and they look better today than they did 5 years ago and they've never had a surgical procedure, it's all the nonsurgical. On the surgical side the exciting thing is that you can take a problem that a person has had since they are young adults, such as protruding ears or a large nose with a bump, and change that so it improves their appearance, but other people will see that they look better but not know exactly why. Really good treatment of patients for appearance has to do with improvement without obvious changes. As soon as you get to obvious changes, it becomes abnormal looking and the result isn't as good as we would like.

Today we have the ability to take pictures digitally and then follow those over the time and have a sequence that allows the patient and us to see how they're doing and then adjust the treatment based on those. For some procedures, like rhinoplasty, we can actually do computer imaging and show the patient what they're going to look like after the surgical procedure and usually this is pretty accurate. A patient has to be motivated for themselves to have this done, they have to have enough of a problem that they're willing to go through the procedure, the recovery and then deal with the result, and if there happens to be a complication, which is rare, work with me to solve the problem. There are always significant risks with anything we do and usually they happen rarely, but it doesn't make anybody feel any better if I said, gee you're the first one that ever seen to have had this happen, because for them, it's them and it doesn't matter that they're the only one. So you have to consider this when you're making a decision.


Plastic Surgery Is Very Powerful, "But Not For the Reasons You May Think"

Dr. William Adams discusses just how positive cosmetic treatments can be for a patient, whether they opt for a new skincare regimen or something more invasive.