The Digital Age and Cosmetic Facial Surgery

Welcome to word one, day one of my blog. 

A lot has changed since the last century (8 years ago)!  While in my surgery residency I, one-day, saw a bunch of people in the surgery office huddled around a new fangled machine shaking their heads in disbelief.  One of the doctors was saying “you mean to tell me that I can put this letter in that machine and send it across the phone lines across the country and the other person can see it?”  Hail the fax machine.  Although this technology was invented years earlier, it ushered in a new age in communication.  No one in that room, on that day, had any idea that in just a few short years that the concept of email and digital images was right around the corner.  If someone would have told me that I could send a communication with pictures and video half way around the world and the recipient would read it in seconds, I would have called them crazy.  Silly me!

Now, here we are, talking on a blog…………..another word that until recently did not exist.  All of this digital progress (let’s not forget cell phones) has simplified (but sometimes complicated) communication tremendously in all facets of daily life.  For the cosmetic surgery arena, it has also been a sensation.  Previous to the Internet and digital technology, information on cosmetic surgery pretty much traveled by word of mouth and some print ads. This created pretty much a local mentality.  You knew who were the popular surgeons in your hometown or maybe a somewhat larger radius and you knew about the surgeons to the stars on both coasts.  Besides that, you did not know all that much unless you made an appointment to seek information.  Even at that, you were pretty much captive to the knowledge, skill, hype and procedures of that particular doctor.  How would you know if he or she was qualified, what their work looked like, what other options were available, what articles they have written, etc., etc.  Again, it was a local process.

The Internet and digital age has changed the local process to a global process.  You can now obtain reams of information about a doctor, his or her work, other options, what is hot and what is not in a few mouse clicks.  Now that’s progress.  In addition, you can even get preliminary consults by emailing some digital pictures, without leaving your desk chair and cup of coffee.  What’s more is that you now can challenge the suggestions with countless options presented by other surgeons performing procedures.  Pretty amazing when you stop and think about it.

What do you do with all this information?  Information can be a great thing, but too much information (TMI) can be a negative or confusing thing.  Also, with all the strengths of the Internet, there is no filter for misinformation.  So you have to take much of what you see or read or hear, with a grain of salt.  Like everything in life, we have to take the available data and balance it with a judicious decision.  Handing your face (and for that matter your life) to a surgeon is not a decision to be taken lightly.  Thankfully for doctors and patients the digital age and blogging have made this easier.  You still have to watch out for traps.  Don’t fall for “only a certain specialist is qualified to do cosmetic surgery” this is obviously self serving for that specialty.  Like Lexus saying one should never drive a Mercedes.  There is not scientific data to show that any one specialty does better or worse than another.  Another pitfall is “miracle procedures”.  When you were young, your parents told you that “if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.  Shame on you if you forgot that!  Although, both patients and surgeons, want easier procedures with less recovery, there are no miracles.  Unaware patients continue to fall prey to surgeons promoting “miracle procedures” only to waste time and money and having to have a “real procedure” to do the job.  More on that later.

My goal as a cosmetic surgery blogger is to provide a forum for my thoughts, goals and involvement in cosmetic facial surgery, which is not just my job, it is my passion.  I welcome your participation and thank you for taking time to peruse my written word.

Joe Niamtu, III DMD

Cosmetic Facial Surgery