It is a fact that many people resort to cosmetic surgery to correct aspects related to their physique that they do not like. We are facing a medical discipline that does not stop evolving and that offers better and better results, endorsed by the professionals who practice it. But, at one extreme, we find what some experts have called phantom operations. They are not operations that are especially demanded by cosmetic surgery patients and, on some occasions, they are at the limit of what is healthy and safe, as explained by the plastic surgeon Moisés Martín Anaya, who tells us about some of them.
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Extraction of floating ribs
This is the case of the marking of the silhouette, with special attention to the waist, by means of the extraction of floating ribs. In the opinion of Dr. Martín Anaya this practice is not recommended by most aesthetic professionals, for It is a procedure that is not without risks. Thus, he explains that he does not know any partner who performs it and says that the only manipulation that is carried out on an aesthetic level in relation to the ribs is the extraction of a very small part of cartilage to help himself in two facial surgeries, such as otoplasty. and nasal reconstruction. In both cases, says the specialist, a small piece of cartilage is removed. If we did the same with two ribs, we would eliminate the physical protection that these elements suppose for the organs they cover, especially for the lungs. What could happen? This would increase the risk of pneumothorax and sacrifice physiology for aesthetics, a questionable decision for Martín Anaya, who adds that in addition to the risks inherent in the extraction of these last two ribs, the patient who is interested in this surgery should know that it can it takes up to six to recover, that the scar is not easy to hide and that postoperative pain is not easy to calm or make disappear.
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Along with this intervention, it is also rare, on the other hand, for a patient to go to a cosmetic surgeon to reshape her navel. Or, qualifies the doctor, only with the aim of reshaping the navel, as this surgical technique is usually associated with abdominoplasty. “In the distension of the abdominal muscles due to the growth of the uterus, a change in the shape of the navel can occur, which flattens or bulges,” the doctor tells us. The aesthetic problem comes when, after six months -the average recovery time of the abdomen after childbirth-, the navel has not recovered its original shape. That is when it can be repositioned along with the muscles and tissues in the area.
These interventions, called umbilicoplasties, are also carried out. within the correction of tissues that sag from massive weight losses after bariatric surgery, that is, stomach reduction for people who are markedly overweight and obese. “In case a model or an actress wants to correct her belly button for not liking how it appears in the photographs, for example, she should know that the intervention is simple, that it does not last one hour and that, given the choice of belly buttons at the letter, the canons of beauty refer us to an almond-shaped navel about thirteen centimeters above the pubis ”, he says.
There are, in addition, tendencies full of eccentricity, such as the so-called fox eyes, also known as feline gaze, and that the specialist details that they are nothing more than a marked stretching of the skin of the face at the level of the gaze with tensioning threads, so that they are very torn. This oriental look is also achieved in the operating room, through a technique called canthopexy. The surgeon explains that this intervention can change the expression of the gaze forever. You can work in this area, stretching the lower eyelid for functional reasons, when it is too lax, which can cause constant tearing. “Other less definitive touch-ups are those that are performed every day in blepharoplasty or eyelid correction surgery, which rejuvenates the look. In it, it is possible to give tension to the drooping eyelids due to fat or age and the angle of the eye opening is also modified, but with the aim of naturalness and harmony ”, he details.
Dimples of Venus
Finally, another touch-up is the venus dimples, the name given to those small indentations that some have naturally in the back. It is not true, explains Martín Anaya, that it is normal to enter an operating room to have them done. They are achieved, but a deep liposuction in the area would be enough for the sexy little holes to be marked. We have raised with the doctor the doubts that arise regarding this controversial issue:
Could we say that there are aesthetic interventions that are at the limit of what is healthy and even safe?
There are no interventions that go beyond what is safe, there are specialists who cross red lines in the performance of their professional activity. There are those lines that should not be crossed, but some do. I give the example of a patient – this is a real case – who requested to have two horns done on his head and found a surgeon who did it. In my opinion, these cases are a disservice to the profession.
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Why do you think, then, that they are carried out?
In our work, as in all of them, sometimes you can see a lack of common sense. The end does not justify the means either in plastic and aesthetic surgery. Each surgeon has ethical and aesthetic criteria to achieve the satisfaction of their patients. The fact that there is a small percentage of professionals who do not have them is proportional to what happens in other work environments.
The role and criteria of the expert in this case, to advise those who demand these interventions, is fundamental, don’t you consider it?
Absolutely. Our job is to advise the patient first. It’s not about saying yes to everything he wants. We are the doctors who have the knowledge to guide you.
Do you think that we are too influenced by the image that is transmitted on social networks, often unreal?
The image is very important today and, of course, that social networks are tilting the balance towards a type of life. This influence on the image is not good, because several factors are mixed. On the one hand, it is important for people to know that their real image is not the one that appears in the photos. It depends on one phone or another, the light, the lens, not to mention the filters. We must also be careful not to create false expectations for patients with images on the networks.
Talk about navel correction, is it a more demanded technique than we think?
I don’t do it much, but my patients do ask me about it. Good results are not obtained, they will not have the navel they had, mainly due to the distention of the skin.
And about canthopexy, the patient must be aware that the expression of his gaze can change, right?
I do not practice it if it is not for functional reasons of the eye, a functional alteration of the lower eyelid. Not for aesthetic reasons.
The goal of medicine and cosmetic surgery should be naturalness, but these techniques run away from that goal a bit, don’t you think?
Yes. Naturalness and harmony are the primary objective. These techniques are in the antipodes. The reality is that in national and international congresses a tiny part is devoted to these techniques, not to say that no time is devoted to it.
What do you usually recommend to a patient who comes to your office with unrealistic aesthetic goals?
There are two types of patients in this regard. Those who suffer from dysmorphophobia, which are those who have a distorted image of themselves, and those who simply ask for an extravagant technique. The former must always be avoided from leaving because they can fall into unprofessional hands that do everything they ask for. Try to guide them at a multispecialist level, with the help of psychologists. To the seconds, I explain why I don’t think they should do it and I guide them. There may be orthodox operating alternatives to help you without extravagance.
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