Michael Edwards, MD, FACS, is a board certified plastic surgeon who has an unmatched comprehensive understanding of the medical profession. Not only does he hold two board certifications—general surgery, in addition to plastic surgery—he was an RN before obtaining his medical degree,
He recently formed a new group practice in Las Vegas with plastic surgeons Dr. Goesel Anson and Dr. Terry Higgins, which offers a full range of facial and body procedures and treatments. Dr. Edwards specializes in breast revision surgery, a focus he feels very fortunate to address. Anson, Edwards, Higgins Plastic Surgery Associates also includes a board-certified dermatologist and a fully trained skincare team.
Here, Beauty in the Bag talks with Dr. Edwards, who is also President Elect of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), to get his tips for getting the results you seek from a surgeon.
Tell us a bit about your background. How did you come to choose plastic surgery as your specialty?
There aren’t many jobs in the medical field I have not worked at. This includes working as an EMT, ER technician, nursing assistant, and house orderly. I then became a registered nurse not knowing exactly what lay ahead. Thanks to a very understanding and supportive wife, I pursued medical school while working nights as an RN. Once in medical school I knew early on that I was bound to be a surgeon and really enjoyed the wide variety of surgical procedures the plastic surgeons were performing. I was hooked once I rotated in my fourth year of medical school. I decided to follow the more common general surgery route and completed five years of general surgery training and I still maintain my board certification. Plastic surgery was all I had hoped it would be. Our surgical cases are virtually head to foot with microsurgery, hand surgery, and incredible reconstructive techniques. I have never looked back and draw on my medical and surgical training almost daily as I care for my patients.
You recently joined a new group practice in Las Vegas. What is the group’s objective and what types of services/treatments does it provide?
I recently merged with Dr. Goesel Anson and Dr. Terry Higgins (Anson and Higgins). We have an 11,000 sq. foot office with three board-certified plastic surgeons, a board-certified dermatologist, two RN nurse injectors, four medical grade aestheticians, a highly organized and efficient practice manager, and a great staff of medical assistants, surgical technicians, and front desk personnel. We are able to provide our patients a complete range of state-of-the-art surgical and non-surgical procedures allowing each of the surgeons to focus on a specific area of expertise. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive approach where our patient’s experience, safety, and satisfaction come first. We are committed to coordinated, personalized aesthetic care for life, not just a single procedure.
What is your signature procedure?
Over the years I have been fortunate to focus my talents primarily on breast surgery, more specifically breast revision surgery. We, as plastic surgeons, all want our patients to be happy with their surgical results and we strive for that. Sometimes results don’t meet expectations as well our bodies go through changes from weight loss or gain as well as pregnancy. The breasts do change and sometimes benefit from revision. I would say my signature procedure is removing implants from above the muscle, placing new ones partially under the muscle for better coverage and prettier result, followed by a breast lift.
What is the best way to minimize scaring with a breast lift or augmentation?
With any surgical procedure there are incisions and scars. Our job, as plastic surgeons, is to plan and conduct our procedures with gentle tissue handling, tension free closure, and compulsive post-op wound care. I prefer topical silicone therapy for most of my healing incisions but on occasion there may be a need for local steroid injections or laser therapy.
Are there any new developments in surgical or non-surgical body contouring procedures that you find particularly promising?
There are always promises of new, wonderful modalities on the horizon. Unfortunately many of them fail to live up to their expectations. We, as plastic surgeons, try to look deeper at the science, to see if using evidence-based medicine, these are worth bringing into our practice. Surgical innovation is a great aspect of our specialty and we are willing to share our newly developed techniques with other board-certified plastic surgeons. Non-surgical devices are abundant and some appear to give better results in one set of hands than another. External body contouring techniques using freezing, radiofrequency, or ultrasound are promising for the right patient. They are not a means of weight loss but body contouring.
What questions should a prospective patient always ask their plastic surgeon during a consultation?
1. Are they a board-certified/eligible plastic surgeon?
2. Do they have hospital admitting privileges to perform the same procedure they are proposing to perform in an out-patient setting?
3. What are the potential risks/benefits/alternatives to the proposed procedure(s)?
4. How much experience do they have in the procedure you are seeking?
I could go on and on….
Dr. Allen Rosen, MD, is a board certified plastic surgeon who knows that patients receive the best surgical results when they have a good rapport with their surgeon and can clearly and comfortably explain what they want to change. The founding partner and medical director of the Plastic Surgery Group in Montclair, NY, advises that a surgical consultation is not the time to be shy.
As the founding partner and medical director of Plastic Surgery Group in Montclair, New Jersey, Dr. Rosen runs a practice that provides facial and body services. He is a sought after specialist in breast reconstruction and cosmetic surgery, as well as a spokesperson for the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. Here he discusses surgical trends and issues with Beauty in the Bag.
Tell us a bit about your background. How did you come to choose plastic surgery as your specialty?
Born and raised on Long Island, I had a passion and a dream of becoming a physician and developed an interest in surgery in medical school while in Buffalo. More specifically, surgeons, who were required to do meticulous detailed procedures inspired me.
I explored opportunities in microsurgery, neurosurgery, and pediatric surgery, and then during my second year as a general surgery resident at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in NYC, I met plastic surgery Department Chief, Dr.Norman Hugo. He was a bigger than life character, who ran his service like his brother (a five star general) and expected others to perform flawlessly. He encouraged me to join his team.
Our patient population included infants to nonagenarians and each one required a uniquely different and creative approach. All required attention to the finest detail. This was irresistible to me.
What is your signature surgery/procedure/product/service?
After I finished training, I quickly gained a specialty interest in breast reconstruction. This led me, of course, to cosmetic surgery of the breast and to this day, I am typecast in this role as a guru in cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery.
Facelifts, eyelids, rhinoplasty, and abdominoplasty are additional favorites of mine and I attract patients who are seeking “best of breed” surgeons for these procedures in particular.
I perform all the other “bread and butter” plastic surgical techniques (Botox, fillers, liposuction), but I am sought after as a master surgeon more than for procedures that non-surgeons can easily perform.
I refer all lasers and energy based techniques to my partner and run an active Medispa with two aestheticians to round out and provide a full service.
Plastic surgeons must excel at both technique and aesthetics. What’s the best way for a surgeon to develop his/her aesthetic eye?
Unfortunately, I think you are born with an aesthetic eye in the same way a singer is born with a gift of a melodious voice. That being said, true impresarios need to hone their skills through training, education, and practice.
Plastic surgery is both an art and a science. We are craftsmen and inventors, two very different concepts.
In our field, it is critical for even the most gifted and talented surgeons to constantly refine, redefine, and evolve with new techniques and technologies or risk being obsolete with unfulfilled potential.
Who is a good candidate for liposuction?
Liposuction is like sculpting a clay model. Anyone with any irregular fatty contour or bulge can be anatomically improved. However, selecting a good surgical candidate is not based solely on anatomic criteria.
Lipoplasty is a mechanical process, but it cannot be used to solve non-mechanical problems, like depression, obesity, or to keep a spouse content. Patients who are motivated, make healthy lifestyle choices, and maintain proper diets, regularly exercise, don’t smoke, and are psychologically stable with realistic expectations do extremely well with liposuction.
I have sculpted patients who were incredibly thin and others who were overweight who met these parameters. The best patients are those with real aesthetic anatomic problems and the right “attitude.”
What about a tummy tuck?
Most women after pregnancy and completion of their childbearing years are good candidates. They usually have weak and protuberant abdomens and various degrees of excess skin and fat. Many also have poor quality stretch-marked skin as well. The only way to return that belly to pre pregnancy appearance is through surgery. Only the lucky few escape the ravages of pregnancy.
Post massive weight loss patients, men and women, are also good candidates, for the same reasons
What’s exciting in the anti-aging space right now? Anything noteworthy coming down the pipeline?
It is beyond the scope of this discussion to list all the exciting new antiaging technologies that are emerging. The most important I believe are stem cell technologies (invest in them now), and blood derived growth factors. Genetic and blood evaluation will help specifically tailor physician directed programs for better health and longevity.
Stem cells will help rebuild old or damaged tissues all over the body. Stem cells can now be placed in a 3D matrix in the shape of an organ, like your liver or heart, and actually create liver and heart tissue. (Organovo, Nasdaq, ONVO)
Just beware of junk science and snake oil salesmen who are trying to capitalize on this new field of medicine with unproven claims and products. Wait for real scientists and physicians to bring these new techniques to market.
Do you have any tips for patients to improve communication with their surgeon? What should they ask their doctor and how can they best explain what they want?
This is the simplest question yet. The best way is like Nike advertises, “Just Do It.”
Talk to your surgeon like you would to a friend. Explain what bothers you, why and for how long it has been on your mind. Be direct and don’t’ be afraid to ask anything you want. If you can’t get this type of rapport going with a surgeon, go elsewhere.
Bring pictures to show what you like in others or what you looked like in years gone by. The surgeon cannot recreate that, but it will help him/her understand in images what you may not be able to explain in words.
Bring a friend or significant other to the consult to be a second set of eyes and ears. They may help you feel more comfortable and enjoy sharing the experience.
You are putting your precious body in the hands of a trained professional to help you look and feel better about yourself, this is not the time to be shy!
Before calling New York City home, board-certified dermatologist Jennifer MacGregor worked at one of Washington, DC’s most prestigious dermatology groups and directed the Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology Center for Georgetown University. She joined New York’s thriving downtown Union Square Laser Dermatology Group in the summer of 2012, a practice that prides itself on having the latest lasers and treatment technologies—the office boasts over 25 lasers and energy devices in their treatment rooms. MacGregor and her colleagues are always the first to test and evaluate the latest equipment, sometimes helping assist with their development or working in clinical trials that lead to FDA approval. MacGregor is an expert in Ultherapy and when it comes to cosmetic procedures she always makes sure her patients look natural and healthy, not as if they had work done.
Here Dr. MacGregor talks with Beauty in the Bag on her background and treatment philosophy.
Tell us a bit about your background. How did you get started in the beauty business?
My interest in dermatology started while working in a cancer research laboratory. In medical school, I chose to specialize in dermatology because of the unique mix of medicine, surgery, pathology, procedures, and aesthetics. The focus is on treating skin conditions, but I have realized through practice that helping people achieve healthy, clear skin and their best appearance possible is an important component.
What is your treatment philosophy?
I usually start with prevention and address overall skin health along with the aesthetic. For younger patients, I may focus on skin health first followed by the aesthetic component. Some patients who come in to see me and already have healthy skin, I may just work with them on keeping it healthy
What is your signature procedure?
Ooh, do I have to choose one? I find combination procedures improve the skin in the most natural way. For early sun damage, I like to combine vascular laser (for redness and capillaries) with low density non-ablative resurfacing that treats uneven skin tone, pores, and fine lines. It’s a great way to rejuvenate the skin with little downtime. And in patients with loose or sagging skin, I find non-invasive skin tightening combined with a few well-placed filler injections can provide a remarkable natural-looking lift with virtually no recovery.
New and better lasers are constantly being introduced. What technology do you find particularly useful or exciting?
An exciting trend that continues to gain popularity is combining antioxidant topical serums (such as SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic) with low density non-ablative resurfacing lasers. The microscopic channels created by the laser can potentially deliver ingredients deep into the skin. This is great for repairing sun-damaged skin and for overall skin quality as well as treating fine lines, texture, pigmentation, and pores. Down the road, we may see this combined technique to be used with fillers, which would allow the filler particles to penetrate deeper into the skin.
Besides technology, what other innovations that are in the pipeline are you excited about
We will see further improvements in non-invasive fat removal, such as injectables, in the coming years. Our current devices are also advancing and becoming more effective, particularly for the hard-to-treat stubborn pockets of fat.
These days, women have so many great anti-aging products to choose from. What are your must-haves?
A must-have, of course, is a broad spectrum SPF 30. Beyond that a topical antioxidant serum and topical retinoids (both prescription or one that you can find over-the-counter) if skin can tolerate it.
Who is your beauty inspiration?
I would have to say Meryl Streep. She is a naturally beautiful, timeless, talented, and successful woman that always projects strength and confidence. She is aging with such grace and elegance and still looks amazing.
Why do you love what you do?
I have been blessed with an incredible career that allows me to help people with a variety of skin issues, but also to help people to look their personal best. We all want to look natural and healthy and this is closely tied to an overall sense of psychological well being. Even if I had all the money in the world, I would still want to do it.