Eyes Common Target for Plastic Surgery

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For those who want to slow down or reverse the aging process, or just want a little personal touch-up, plastic surgeons can help.

Dr. Ira Papel, who has been a plastic surgeon since 1987, is the co-director of the facial plastic surgery fellowhip at Johns Hopkins University and a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He’s noticed that the minimally invasive procedures such as Botox, fillers and laser treatments are by far the most common for women. Eyelid plastic surgery is perhaps the most done procedure, in his estimation.


“The eyes show age a little before everything else,” Papel said. “The skin is thinner, you lose fat around the eyes and you get that older, hollower look. Those can be corrected and they’re very easy to correct. Then comes facelift surgery when people want their jowls or neck corrected. But the eyes always start before that.”

Plastic surgeon Dr. Janet Woodyard said the most common procedures she’s done for women are tummy tucks and abdominoplasties along with liposuction and different breast surgeries.

“The one thing that’s different is we perform more procedures at one time together than we used to,” she said. “The so-called ‘mommy makeover’ is actually a tummy tuck combined with a breast rejuvenating procedure, which could be a reduction, lift or augmentation. We do a lot more of those than we used to.”

As far as when these procedures can be done, the ages vary. For eyelid procedures, Papel says patients’ ages range from 30s to 80s.

“Eyes can be the widest range of age,” he said. “We have people in their 80s come in because they just feel like their eyelids are not what they want to look like and it’s a fairly easy operation with minimal downtime to get back to normal activities.”

Woodyard said the lowest age for operations is 18, though it’s rare she operates on anyone under 21.

“For breast augmentations, you have to be at least 19 for the implant companies to allow you to place saline implants,” she said. “You have to be at least 22 to have silicone implants. Unless they have a deformity, then it’s reconstructive. Sometimes you’ll do a rhinoplasty on someone a little younger. You want the structures fully developed before you operate on someone.”

However, she added there is “no absolute minimum age.” And as far if one should go through with a procedure or not, the answer is the same.

“What’s most important is general health, their body weight and the types of procedures that are being done and how long they’ll take,” Woodyard said. “That’s an individual decision based on each patient. In my practice, one of the general trends is the older the patient, the fewer the procedures we combine. You have to be reasonable. The risks have to be far less than the benefits.”

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