5 Plastic Surgery Pitfalls That Can Make Your Patients Look Older

Board-certified plastic surgeon Michael Horn, M.D., explores the five most common areas plastic surgery can backfire and age a patient instead of turning back the clock.
Board-certified plastic surgeon Michael Horn, M.D., explores the five most common areas plastic surgery can backfire and age a patient instead of turning back the clock.

Cosmetic surgery is designed to enhance a patient's youthful appearance. However, sometimes trying to turn back the clock can actually make a patient look significantly older. Board-certified plastic surgeon Michael Horn, M.D., explains the pitfalls to avoid so you can help patients maintain a youthful, elegant appearance as they age.

Related: The 4 Major Industry Trends That Will Shape the Future of Medical Aesthetics

1. Too Much Filler:

Examining photos of a patient from when they were decades younger allows you to see their aging progression and facial symmetry, according to Horn. “You want to look at the facial features to see where there is drooping or volume loss to avoid overfilling the face. When too much filler is used, facial balance is thrown off.”

Another pitfall to avoid is when women in their 20’s ask to make their real face look like it is photo filtered. Horn explains, “They start Botox too young or overfill their lips, breasts, and derrieres. The odd consequence is that they end up looking older. There are several celebrities who are under 25 and look 30, and 40 due to the work they’ve done. The lips and cheeks are often the first facial features to be overdone in younger patients.”

2. Breakdown of Facial Features:

Cheeks: Horn says, “Over-suctioning cheeks through liposuction can make you look older. Stiffness or "puffy cheeks" can also occur if there is an unnecessary fat transfer or filler injections are overdone.”

Brows: Creating too high of an arch in the eyebrow or eliminating an arch altogether will instantly age a patient. According to Horn, “Getting the eyebrow height perfect to achieve a natural look is one of the most challenging techniques plastic surgeons face with Botox, be sure to find someone who specializes in brow area Botox.”

Chin: “The overall balance of your face can be thrown off if a chin implant is too large,” says Horn. He adds, “Facial structure goes from more of a heart shape to a square shape. Also, the softness of your face gets lost.”

Neck: Avoid removing too much fat from the neck, which can result in an overly gaunt, sharp angle that creates a harsher look.

Midface: Giving female patients a facelift before it is truly needed can make them look older instead of younger. “When it’s unnecessary or not done properly, the underlying facial tissues give an unnatural fullness in the cheeks that makes a face look aged,” explains Horn.

Eyes: While removing fat under the eyes is popular among younger patients, removing too much fat results in a hollow look rather than one that is refreshed and youthful.

3. Injectable Toxins: The Frozen Look

Injectable toxins such as Botox, Xeomin and Dysport work well to reduce lines by relaxing facial muscles temporarily and stopping movement. However, when they are overused, problems arise. Too little forehead and brow mobility can make a patient’s face look severe, resulting in certain facial features appearing exaggerated. Horn advises, “It’s best to let the product completely wear off before getting injectable toxins applied to the face again. It’s always best to start off with much less because you can always work your way up to more.”

Related: Top Trainer for Galderma & Allergan Bridges Gap Between the Art & Science of Injectables at New Aesthetic IQ Clinic

4. Too Large Breast Implants:

Breast implants that are too large for a patient’s frame, overexaggerating this area, are generally not a good idea. As a woman ages, they stand out more and look increasingly incongruous with the rest of her appearance. Matching implants to a patient’s body in a flattering way will prevent them from aging your patient prematurely.

5. Ignoring Hands and Décolleté:

Women frequently focus so much on their face, breasts, butt, legs and stomach that they will forget that their hands and décolleté also age. No matter how youthful the rest of a woman looks, ignoring these areas will serve as a dead giveaway of their age.

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