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    Can anti-aging strategies backfire?

    How to avoid hyper-aging your patients

    In the age-old quest to defeat the ravages of time societies have devised ingenious tactics to try and turn back the clock — or at least to mitigate its effects on appearance. Today, consumers can choose from measures as conservative as avoiding the sun and quitting smoking to more aggressive measures, including injections, laser treatments, and cosmetic surgery.

    Sometimes in their efforts to defy the appearance of aging, however, people undergo procedures that actually make them look older, or give them a stiff, artificial, “worked on” look. It can be a vicious cycle: the more someone dislikes the results of a procedure, the more procedures he or she may undergo to “correct” the “mistakes,” and the cumulative effect may truly backfire.

    Dr. BiesmanAvoiding a misstep onto that slippery slope is a matter of experience, an educated approach, and often a healthy dose of conservatism, says Brian S. Biesman, M.D., clinical assistant professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and director of the Nashville Center for Laser and Facial Surgery.

    “Certainly we’re seeing younger and younger patients coming in to see if they’re candidates for procedures,” Dr. Biesman says. “There’s something to be said for not doing things too early,” and he says he does his best to avoid doing surgery before it’s absolutely necessary.

    Sometimes that means reining in the patient.

    “I had a patient recently, late 30s, and her friends told her she should have surgery before she needed it so it would look better over time.” Dr. Biesman says physicians need to make a distinction between an enhancement procedure in younger patients and more restorative procedures in older people. He believes in a healthy respect for people’s anatomy.

    “I think younger people can look older when they get that plastic-y look that older people who are ‘trying too hard’ get. Folks who have too much filler or lasers and they get that pasty or artificial look. That, in a sense, is how younger people look older by looking too artificial at too young an age.”

    Doing anything for aesthetic reasons in minors is ill-advised, in Dr. Biesman’s opinion. There are psychological as well as physiological issues involved, he points out. “I had a mother bring her 15-year-old daughter in for cosmetic eyelid surgery, and I told them absolutely not. Her mother had had a lot of aesthetic procedures done and had that sort of artificial look.” He cites another example: A 14-year-old who had undergone a blepharoplasty procedure with another practitioner and she didn’t like the appearance of the upper eyelid scars.

    In This Article

    A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words

    The Art of Dissuasion

    Tips For a Long-term Approach

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