Can’t get flat abs no matter how many crunches you do? Like to gently re-shape your nose or breasts? Plastic surgery can enhance the way you look at yourself and boost your self-confidence.
This article is based on a past interview I did with Dr. Rafi Hovsepian, a triple board-certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills.
Ways Plastic Surgery Can Improve Quality of Life
A woman you know had breast augmentation and is pleased with her plastic surgery. Compliments are falling on her like confetti on a Super Bowl championship parade. Should you or shouldn’t you have the same procedure done?
Your last child, now a young adult, is off to college and out of the house. Raising them while pursuing your career has taken its toll on you.
You’re far more comfortable in a one-piece bathing suit versus a bikini. After all, you’re — well, you don’t even want to think about your age.
Yet, you’d really like to wear a bikini one more time. Seems silly, given all the other problems raging in the world. You’re not a vain person. Yet …what do you do?
You’re a guy who posted some pics on Facebook and a friend made a good-natured comment about a hump on your nose. The comment has stuck with you and now it’s easting away at you. Do others notice it? You’re a sales professional and yet the comment is making you self-conscious. Should you pay to get a correction?
Plastic surgery is more than skin deep and the associated procedures aren’t just reserved for Hollywood celebrities, although A-listers and their colleagues may set trends.
Dr. Rafi Hovsepain is a triple-board certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills who has counseled the Celebs, been quoted in magazines like People and featured on television shows like Entertainment Tonight.
During my talk with him he said something that I didn’t expect from someone in his profession: “There’s beauty in imperfection.”
He understands from personal experience how the surgery impacts a person’s emotional and psychological well-being. More on that later. He counsels patients in his practice to get a clear idea of how they envision their body and why they believe a procedure is important to them.
“We have to break the barriers of discussion in a gentle manner for them to feel bold and discuss their flaws,” he said. “Take motherhood. There are beautiful flaws from motherhood. At the same time, if we can do something to help them improve their quality of life then we will.”
Of those who come to him for plastic surgery consultations, he counsels 25 percent or more to wait on the procedure. In the meantime, he opens up an on-going line of dialogue and communication.
Plastic Surgery Guideline 1: Know Your Body Type
You may have an idea of how you’d like to look, but is it right for your body type? Breast augmentation is an example.
“It doesn’t sometimes aesthetically fit the torso or body and I will explain that to a patient,” said Dr. Hovsepian. “A bigger implant can put more weight on the tissue, stretches skin, and probably doesn’t fit into the domain of your chest so you’ll get a wider chest.
“An implant can make a woman who’s beautifully vertical more horizontal and you lose that illusion of length.”
He points out that larger breasts may get in the way of an active Southern California lifestyle for a woman who wants to bike or golf on a regular basis.
Plastic Surgery Guideline 2: Consider Your Culture and Ethnicity
“In California, we have a lot of ethnic backgrounds and I need to conform to the ethnicity. We might see an Asian patient wanting a Caucasian type nose.
“If it’s not suitable for the face then instead of saying ‘no,’ I’ll say ‘this is why we might consider keeping things according to your ethnic community.’ The appropriate decision may be making the tip a bit more refined to resemble a Caucasian nose, but not completely reconstruct it.”
Plastic Surgery Guideline 3: Know Your Emotional and Psychological Needs
Dr. Hovsepian decided to become a plastic surgeon at age eight when his aunt was in a tragic car accident that left her completely disfigured and unrecognizable. He told me that she would have committed suicide and that a series of about 40 surgeries over the course of a year at the University of California, Irvine saved her life.
His familiarity with someone’s psyche is key to providing service and restoration.
“I had a 64 year-old patient who was a businesswoman. She focused on her career when she was young and had her first child at age 40 and her second at age 42. She now has two older children but is completely inactive with them.
“Depression kicked in even though she has her gym equipment and hired a trainer to train her at home.
“I saw her and said, ‘look how far out your muscles split. She also had a hernia. We did a full tummy tuck and a hernia repair. We worked with the internal structure. I got a picture of her six months later, paddle boarding with her kids at Balboa Bay and wearing a bikini in her mid 60s. She wrote, ‘I never thought I could do this.’”
Plastic Surgery Guideline 4: Know What Happened to Your Body
Plastic surgery is unregulated in California and Dr. Hovsepian pointed out to me that a practitioner from another discipline, like a neurosurgeon or a family practitioner, can offer plastic surgery services.
A risk to the patient is that not all health professionals know the body from head to toe like a triple-board certified plastic surgeon.
They don’t address a person’s internal structure.
Dr. Hovsepian says from 50 percent to 60 percent of his patients come to him for help in fixing flaws from prior surgeries.
He points out the physiological reasons why a person may exercise and not get the desired results.
“A 49 year-old attorney who works out five days a week came to me. A physical trainer promised her six-pack abs. She was a mother and her muscles were torn from the pregnancy and a C-section delivery split them further.
“It doesn’t matter that she worked out all the time and did Pilates and crunches. Pregnancy altered her muscles. They got stretched and split apart. We did a tummy tuck to repair the muscle and now her core is back the way it was prior to pregnancy. Her posture improved and she’s more active with her kids. The procedure sparked a new life together.
“She loves being out on soccer field running around with her kids. By repairing that muscle she now has core support where she’s more active.”
Plastic Surgery Guideline 5: Know Your Plastic Surgeon
Use industry standards to evaluate your plastic surgeon by visiting the website for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Get to know your surgeon and don’t hesitate to ask for referrals, see before and after pictures, and ask about the extent of their knowledge.
A triple-board certified surgeon like Dr. Hovsepian is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the American Board of Surgery, and the American Board of Medical Specialties.
He is also a Diplomate of The European Board of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery. Dr. Hovsepian also launched an international institute to exchange professional knowledge on a global basis.
More information is available through his website.
About the Author
Don Simkovich started So Cal Live Work Play on Medium to give tips for getting the most out of living in and visiting Southern California.