Have you ever thought about changing your appearance? Maybe looking like a different person? Even a celebrity? That can be both an exciting and a scary idea - which is why it’s so important to seek expert medical advice before making the leap into plastic surgery.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Miller has useful information and good advice for people considering plastic surgery. A Texan born and bred, board certified Dr. Miller received his medical degree from Baylor University in Houston. As luck would have it, he met and married a New Jersey native (also a plastic surgeon); and he now has private practices in New York and New Jersey. On 10/19/16, Dr. Miller was asked to share his thoughts on plastic surgery.
WAS PLASTIC SURGERY ALWAYS YOUR SPECIAL INTEREST OR WERE THERE SOME EVENTS/PERSONS THAT TRIGGERED THE INTEREST?
I was always interested in medicine. As a specialty, plastic surgery seemed very artistic and challenging. Every person is different, and there are also big differences in anatomy. On top of that, there are different techniques to do different things with different results. Plastic surgery offers nice variety and artistry. I was never one for disease and misery. I wanted to make people happy and have a good time doing it. My residency was in head and facial plastic surgery, and it felt like a good fit. I think I made the right choice.
YOU MENTIONED IN THE PAST THAT SOME PEOPLE WANT TO LOOK LIKE CELEBRITIES OR MEDIA SENSATIONS. ARE THERE ANY CELEBRITIES THAT GET A LOT OF INTEREST? ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC AREAS OF THE FACE OR BODY THEY WANT TO CHANGE?
Recently, people have been focused on their butts. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez have an extra-large behind, and now everybody wants more in that area. For right now, that seems to be the main thing.
When thinking of celebrities, most people have pictures of the kind of change they want. Now, with the Internet, there is really a lot of information out there. People can do a tremendous amount of research, and I found that they usually have pretty realistic expectations. They often have pictures of models that they feel might represent what they want. Right now, there’s a lot of interest in social media. For instance, there was a piece where lips were shown through a shot glass. Right after that, a lot of people showed up asking for big lips. Sometimes it’s important to talk to people about whether they want these changes permanently. In other words, is this just a fad?
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS?
If someone comes in with unrealistic expectations, I tell them that’s not something they’re going to achieve. They can’t turn a thick, fat nose into a thin, slim nose. I tell them I’m sorry, but I can only do so much. If I suspect that people have a body dysmorphic disorder, I might suggest in a very gentle way that they talk to someone about it. Sometimes we get into a discussion, and we can sort things out in the office. People with psychological issues can become a thorn in the side, and working with them can turn into an endless mess.
HAVE YOU SEEN ANY STRIKING PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS AFTER SURGERY?
I’ve seen some good and some bad changes – but mostly good. Many teens have their nose done after they’re 16. Maybe before the change, they were shy and socially awkward. You give them a nice nose; and, all of a sudden, they blossom. They’re even having pictures taken for social media. Surgery can totally change someone’s personality because now they feel competent. I’ve seen that happen a lot of times.
Occasionally, when we take the dressing off, some people don’t know how to react. They’re used to how they looked all their life, and they get freaked out. We have to allay their fears and give time for things to settle. After a couple of weeks, most of them are ecstatic. There are very few who just can’t accept the change. Those patients may have had problems before the surgery that weren’t picked up. It’s very uncommon to reverse a surgery because we usually get it right the first time. Sometimes it can be possible – like breast size. But usually people are happy with the results.
WHAT ARE YOUR SPECIALITIES?
I specialize in facial surgery. That includes doing a facelift, reshaping the chin and cheek, maybe doing some liposuction on the neck. We also do some non-surgical procedures like Botox or fillers. Another doctor in my practice usually does the heavy-duty bodywork.
My particular interest is in rhinoplasty. I find that the most challenging. There are so many things to treat when you change a nose. You have to remember that, if you change one thing, you change lots of other things. You also have to make sure they can breathe properly after the surgery. Once in a while, somebody comes in for a rhinoplasty revision. That’s very hard because sometimes parts are missing. There may also be lots of scar tissue to deal with.
HAVE YOU EVER DONE ANY RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY?
I’ve done some, but you find more of that in big University medical centers. It’s not as common in private practice.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE FUTURE OF PLASTIC SURGERY?
I think that the future holds making changes in the least invasive way possible. There are new machines out every day, but most of them don’t work. If I could tighten the facial skin with cream and laser, that would be great. Unfortunately, at this point in time, those treatments don’t usually work, especially on a long-term basis. There’s nothing out there right now that can replace surgery. However, it’s my opinion that – in 20 or 30 years – surgery may be replaced by lots of noninvasive treatments that work.
IF SOMEONE WANTS TO REACH YOU FOR A CONSULTATION, HOW CAN THEY DO THAT?
We’re always open to consultations. We have five offices, and here are the addresses:
1150 Amboy Avenue, Edison, NJ 08837 732-548-3200
1424 Richmond Avenue, Staten Island, NY 718-477-2020
203 Route 9 South, Marlboro, NJ 732-617-1800
5 Mountain Blvd., Warren, NJ 908-222-8440
Allure Plastic Surgery, 150 E. 61 Street, NY, NY 10065 212-661-2563
They can telephone our office at 800-860-1435 or at any of the numbers listed; or they can go to our website.