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Facial Plastic Surgery in COVID Times
By Hollin Calloway, MD
Facial Plastic Surgery is a subspecialty of ENT. At ENT and Allergy, we have fellowship trained Facial Plastic Surgeons scattered throughout our offices. We perform both functional and cosmetic facial plastic procedures. Functional procedures consist of, for example, a functional rhinoplasty. A functional rhinoplasty is usually performed for someone who has a very deviated septum (which is the little divider between the two sides of your nose), especially in the front of the septum, caused either from trauma, having broken their nose, or sometimes you can be born with it. Patients who need this procedure report a lot of difficulty breathing through their nose – either just one side or both. Functional Rhinoplasty is also performed for what we call “nasal valve collapse”, a condition where the fleshy sides of the nose suck in when you breathe in, and patients will describe the need to pull the part of their cheek that is right beside the nasal wall out a bit to keep it open when they breathe. Functional rhinoplasties can also be combined with cosmetic changes to the nose such as shaving down a hump or making changes to the nasal tip. Other types of reconstructive facial plastic surgeries consist of reconstructing a wound from, for example, a skin cancer after having it removed from MOHS micrographic surgery. Another example is the revision of a disfiguring facial scar from some form of trauma or prior surgery. We can even fix fractures in facial bones, including the nasal bones, but also the other facial bones in the facial skeleton.
Cosmetic surgical procedures include cosmetic rhinoplasties, face lifts, eyelid lifts, and eyebrow lifts. These are all considered “elective cases”, which were temporarily suspended during the COVID pandemic in the months of late March, April, and mid-May. However, now we are re-opening surgery centers across the New York and New Jersey areas for elective surgeries once again. First you will need to see your physician in clinic. Our clinics have taken extra precautions to ensure your safety – all staff and patients wear masks. The chairs in the waiting room are spread out, the rooms are cleaned meticulously between patients, and patients are screened with questioning and temperature checks at the door to assure no active COVID-19 symptoms. Your physician will perform a consult with you to discuss your facial plastics needs, whether they are cosmetic or functional. Then, the surgery centers will be open for scheduling. They also will perform the same safety precautions as our clinic. Also, they perform COVID-19 testing on all patients pre-operatively to ensure the safety of everyone.
There are many facial plastics and facial rejuvenation procedures that can be performed in the clinic. For example, in my Hoboken Office I provide injections with Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin. These are deactivated botulinum toxins that are very safe. They are injected into muscles such as the forehead area, the muscles on the sides of your eyes, and the middle of the forehead above the nose – the area known as “the Eleven lines.” This prevents your muscles from moving as much and helps minimize wrinkles. It also prevents long term deep creases from wrinkles from forming. I also perform dermal fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane. These are halyuronic acid based. Our skin naturally has halyuronic acid, but it becomes less robust with aging. Fillers help plump up areas like the cheeks, the lips, and the temples. You can think of fillers as “a liquid facelift.” My philosophy on rejuvenation procedures is to make you look your best, but in a natural way. Other procedures I perform in clinic include chemical peels, scar revisions, ear lobe repairs, and very minor skin reconstructions. These facial rejuvenation procedures will not only make you look and feel younger when you finally re-emerge from quarantine, but when you are on those online group video meetings as well!
Finally, I will mention ear reconstruction. I perform ear molding on babies starting as early as the first week of life. A baby’s cartilage is very mobile in the first 3-8 weeks of life because there is still estrogen in the system. Using a simple mold made out of a thick paperclip and medical grade tape, I am able to mold a baby’s ear and train the parents on how to mold it daily. Adult ear reconstruction can also be performed either in the clinic or in the operating room, depending on how extensive the reconstruction needs to be.
Check out this link to locate the closest ENTA facial plastic surgeon to you: https://www.entandallergy.com/service/afp/specialists