Meet the Face of MD FACE
Dual board certified in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Head and Neck Surgery, Dr. Steven Pearlman is a Clinical Associate Professor at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. He is Founder of the New York Facial Plastic Surgery Society, which promotes advanced education for facial plastic surgeons in the New York Metropolitan area, and gives practicing physicians the opportunity to exchange ideas, new techniques and procedures on an ongoing basis. Dr. Pearlman is also an accomplished humanitarian who works with charitable initiatives like Face to Face, Faces of Honor, the Little Baby Face Foundation and the National Domestic Violence Project, all of which offer reconstructive surgical services on a pro-bono basis. Using what one does best to give back to those in need is truly an act of beauty.
What makes Pearlman Aesthetic Surgery stand out from other plastic surgery practices?
I specialize in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. As a specialist confining my practice to the face, I spend more time learning, practicing and teaching all aspects of facial rejuvenation. Given my background in head and neck surgery, I learned the anatomy and techniques in facial reconstruction from the facial skeleton on outward as a basis, and frequently the origin, for many of the cosmetic techniques used today. I teach residents, post-residency fellows and have lectured around the world on facial plastic surgery.
Your motto is “We empower beauty.” What does this mean to you?
We empower beautyTM is the motto and policy statement for my practice. My patients are mostly accomplished individuals who are discerning and driven to success, but they’ve begun to feel that the amazing person they are in the inside isn’t matching what they see in the mirror. We instill and restore self confidence that helps enable our patients to achieve their goals.
What are your surgical and non-surgical specialties, and why did you choose to focus on these areas of aesthetic surgery?
As mentioned above, I specialize in facial plastic surgery. The most frequent procedures I perform are rhinoplasty, revision rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty, facelift and browlift surgery. Patients have come from around the world to see me for surgical rejuvenation. For comprehensive facial rejuvenation I also perform Botox, facial filler treatments and laser rejuvenation. I have been performing Botox cosmetic treatments for over 15 years and was one of the early physicians using Botox for cosmetic facial treatments.
Tell us about your work with FACE TO FACE.
Pro-bono surgery is a way to give back. I have been fortunate to have the advanced education that allows me to reconstruct people’s faces; through these programs I can apply my skills and knowledge for those less fortunate than me and the patients in my practice. Face to Face is a program with the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery through which I have traveled to perform pro-bono surgery on children and teach local doctors in Honduras, Viet-Nam and China. We also perform pro-bono reconstructive surgery for victims of domestic violence here in the US. Our latest program is called “Faces of Honor.” Faces of Honor is reconstructive facial surgery on veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Lastly, I participate in the Little Baby Face Foundation, [which performs] pro-bono facial reconstructive [surgery] on children from around the world brought here to New York for surgery.
What can women do early on to prevent, or delay, the need for facial surgery?
There are a number of things you can do to prevent or delay the need for facial surgery. The simplest are using sunblock DAILY, good nutrition and hydration. Skin care [with] anti-aging ingredients help as early as the 30’s.
What we have learned over the past decade is that aging is not just drooping, lines and folds. Restoring facial volume with fillers goes a long way to restore a youthful look. I use facial fillers in the cheeks as well as the mid-face to restore a nice, round, youthful look. This is what I call the “wow” look. Putting fillers in just the naso-labial folds makes patients say “yes my lines look better,” but when I fill the cheeks that lifts them up and restores a youthful contour [and] they say “wow.” Another great use for fillers is to camouflage eye “bags” to stave off blepharoplasty.
What’s the biggest misconception about plastic surgery?
There is no such thing as a non-surgical facelift and non-surgical nose job. Lasers, Botox and fillers smooth the skin, fill the face and reduce lines. Faces will certainly look better. However, if things are drooping, nothing will lift a jowl, treat a saggy neck, get rid of eye “bags” or restore a youthful jawline other than surgery.
As for non-surgical rhinoplasty, this is a marketing tool. A few rare patients have humps and a deep area above them just below the eyes in what is called the radix. Placing fillers in this area will camouflage a nasal hump. But fillers will not actually reduce a hump, narrow or raise the tip of the nose.
Tell us something interesting about you that may surprise our readers.
I collect antiques, furniture, art and watches. I appreciate fine craftsmanship and the beauty of expert workmanship. My charity work is important as well, which is why I am thrilled to be more involved in the Little Baby Face Foundation. But most importantly, family is first. I have two beautiful twin toddler daughters and a wonderful wife who make everything else worth doing.
What do you see in the future for cosmetic surgery and the consumer?
The future of cosmetic surgery is leaning towards more and more minimally invasive procedures. The laser or device has yet to be invented that can actually tighten the face and substitute for a facelift, but one day it will. Newer fillers are constantly being introduced to the market. The ideal filler, which doesn’t exist yet, will be easy to inject, with minimal discomfort, create quality enhancement, and have very low complications as well as being long lasting but not always permanent; permanent fillers are not good for anti-aging since the face changes over the decades.
For revision rhinoplasty and facial implants, cartilage engineering is the future. Maybe within the next decade or two we will be able to grow the patient’s own cartilage from a small biopsy that can be used for nose and facial reconstruction.