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The Mouth Doesn't Lie * Or Does It?

(press release from The Austin-Westin Center for Cosmetic Surgery)

Our mouths can tell secrets about us that we donít want the world to know, like our age. Just as the face ages in essentially three ways, so does the mouth, by wrinkling, sagging and thinning.

"The problem comes when these expressions are not the reality of how one feels, but are symbols that inaccurately convey the mood, personality or physical condition of an individual," according to Dr. Byron Poindexter, partner and surgeon at The Austin-Weston Center for Cosmetic Surgery in Reston, Virginia. "For instance, we are immediately thrown to believe that a tired or unhappy expression means that the person is tired or unhappy. Ideally, the face in repose should be neutral for emotion and reflect a youthful and rested condition."

These symbols are even more damaging when we become what the symbols say about us. It seems to work like this: The feedback from our mirrors and the feedback from other people act as instructions. So, gradually, without realizing it, our personalities shift to match these symbols. If we look sad, we become sad. If we look angry, we become angry.

"One of the most important functions of cosmetic surgery is to create a harmony or a 'truth' between what is seen on the outside and what is felt on the inside," says Dr. Robert Sigal, partner and surgeon at Austin-Weston. "Cosmetic surgery is about altering the symbols that tell lies about us."

A facelift can help reduce the visible signs of aging, yet without special attention to this area, the mouth remains visibly old in appearance. An older looking mouth in the center of a face that has been rejuvenated makes the person look old, not young, and this may become an obvious giveaway that he or she has had cosmetic surgery.

Special cosmetic procedures have been developed specifically for the aging mouth. The nationally respected surgeons at The Austin-Weston Center for Cosmetic Surgery have developed many new techniques to address this issue and they teach these special techniques to other surgeons from around the world. The following procedures are used routinely at Austin-Weston and are among those that have offered the best results to their patients:

Lip Lift: As the mouth ages, the upper lip sags, the corners droop and the vermilion (red part of the lips) thins. With parted lips, the young mouth shows the upper teeth; the old mouth shows the lower teeth. The lip lift shortens the long upper lip, everting it slightly and exposing the upper teeth.

Corner Lift: The down turned mouth is a symbol of both aging and unhappiness and can be a matter of only a few millimeters of droop at the corner of the mouth. "To the best of our knowledge we were the first to perform, present and describe the corner lift," says Dr. George Weston, surgeon and president at Austin-Weston. "The corner lift has been our most valuable procedure. Patients indicate that this simple technique has altered their lives. They no longer look angry and they feel happier because they look happier.

Resurfacing: Nothing symbolizes an old face more than wrinkles.  For wrinkling around the mouth, Austin-Weston uses dermabrasion, lasers, or chemical peels in combination with fat grafting to achieve a natural result.

Lip Augmentation: The goal is to restore the lost volume of the lips and to recreate the youthful pout. This is achieved through either surgical rearrangement of tissue in the lips or with fat injections.

Direct Incisions: Extra tissue often forms with age and sags at the corner of the mouth. Sometimes the best option is to cut it off directly and with precision, close the incision.

"In almost all cases, we perform several mouth procedures in combinations at the same time as the facial rejuvenation," says Weston. "It is common for patients to look 10 to 15 years younger, in contrast to the usual 7 to 10 years younger from facelift and eyelid surgery alone."

Because the scars from around the mouth surgery are more difficult to hide, meticulous surgical technique is critical. Plastic surgeons should have considerable experience with facial rejuvenation before attempting these procedures. Although simple and successful, they require an experienced artistic eye and a commitment to subtle aesthetic corrections.

If you are considering facial rejuvenation or cosmetic surgery for your mouth, do you homework when selecting a plastic surgeon to ensure that they are qualified to help you achieve the results youíre looking for. Now is a great time to visit a cosmetic surgeon to explore what can be done to make sure your symbols convey the right message about you.

Larry Oskin (loskin@mktgsols.com)
President
Marketing Solutions
10875 Main Street Suite 205
Fairfax, VA   22030-7222
Phone : 703-359-6000
Fax : 703-934-5490

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