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12-21-14 | Posted by

Thanks to a host of new country music stars and a hit TV drama bearing its name, Nashville, Tenn. is hotter than ever. Country music popped again when Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Brett Eldredge, Tim McGraw and many others hit the scene and it has been on fire ever since. Always a popular genre, this new generation of stars ushered in a whole new crop of country fans and festivals.

Although he’s just a little bit country when it comes to his musical taste, facial plastic surgeon William Russell Ries, MD, is all about Nashville and has established a thriving reconstructive practice in the Music City. A Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and the Odess Chair of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., Dr. Ries is also the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery’s Group Vice President for Public and Regulatory Affairs-elect.

He sat down with Beauty in the Bag to discuss his practice, his hometown, and where he thinks this specialty is headed. Here’s what he had to say:


How much of your practice is reconstructive?

About 80%. Rhinoplasty is the bulk of my practice, I do a lot of rhinoplasty for functional reasons, but there is always a cosmetic component to those as well. This is also true with other facial reconstructive procedures such as skin cancer reconstruction.

What are today’s Nashville denizens looking for when seeking facial plastic surgery?

They are looking for a more youthful look without the appearance of being overdone. Non-surgical therapies are popular among people who aren’t ready for major surgery.

What is your best anti-aging advice?

Always wear sunscreen. It’s also important use a moisturizer and stay hydrated.

What should a person ask a surgeon during a facial plastic surgery consultation?

It’s important to ask how often the surgeon performs the procedure that you are interested in. If someone is doing one a year, he or she might not be the best choice. If the answer is two or three a week, you may want to gravitate toward that person. In general, facial plastic surgeons have a tremendous deal of experience and training performing procedures on the face, head, and neck. This is why the Academy’s motto is ‘trust your face to a facial plastic surgeon’.

Where do you see this specialty headed?

We will hear a lot more about non-surgical techniques for facial rejuvenation including lasers, ultrasound and/or radiofrequency. Tremendous strides are being made in this area, but these modalities won’t replace surgery. We are learning how to manipulate skin and collagen to affect real changes, and we can combine these energy-based devices with fillers and neuromodulators. For bagging and sagging, surgery is still the best option, but some tightening and refreshing is possible with today’s non-surgical procedures. In reconstruction, regenerative medicine–including the use of 3D printing and the growing and manipulating of living tissue–will play a big role in the coming years.

Tell us about your work with facial synkinesis.

This is a condition that refers to an abnormal involuntary facial movement after recovery from a facial paralysis. Voluntary movement of one facial area causes movement of a different facial muscle group. For example, you smile and your eye shuts. Most of these individuals have facial paralysis due to Bell’s palsy, surgery or trauma. Facial physical therapy helps, but we have been successful when we treat the overactive muscles using needle electromyography (EMG) guidance and then inject small amounts of Botox to weaken the overactive muscle. Treatment is repeated four times a year because once the Botox wears off, the muscle tightens back up.


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