Plastic surgeons tell me how to fix my face.

Humiliating myself for fun and profit.
Feb. 14 2003 10:54 AM

Face-Off

Four plastic surgeons tell me what's wrong with my face.

(Continued from Page 2)

My consultant hands me a proposed invoice: $12,400. No wonder there are brochures in the waiting room on financing your cosmetic improvement.

Dr. Neckband
Dr. Neckband's small office is done in the usual wood and glass-brick motif, with a sculpture of a female figure who is emerging from what seems to be a frozen lake. Maybe they hand these out when you get your board certification.

I am taken to the examining room, decorated with a large poster showing different sizes and styles of breast implants. Dr. Neckband is a handsome man of about 50 with salt-and-pepper hair. I give him my saggy jaw spiel, and like Dr. Gravity, he asks, pointedly, if there's anything else. I surrender. "My eyes," I say. He does a visual and tactile inspection of my face, and I expect to hear that I need to have my cheek pads hauled up, but Dr. Neckband has a different conclusion.

"I think you would really benefit from an S-lift. It's a minimal face-lift that would nicely take care of your softness and looseness and jowls. It would also address the bands just starting to form on your neck." I obviously need my eyes checked: I have missed both my missing chin and my banded neck.

The S-lift, which just pulls up the lower part of my face, will make me look refreshed but not surgically so, he says, and while I'm under, I should have my eyes done. "You don't want to take care of your jaw and draw more attention to your eyes."

By this time I realize unless I do something about my eyes, I'm in danger of frightening small children. He wants to do both upper and lower lids. He leans in: "Your upper lid is almost touching your eyelashes." Well, one man's "bedroomy" is another man's "exhausted."

Dr. Neckband gets his photo album of befores and afters. I have to admit I'm impressed with the S-lift; his patients have lost their wattles but still look natural. He shows me photographs of his receptionist, who is about my age and had an S-lift last year, and suggests I talk to her. Although her eyes—which have been done—are a little too bright, her neck and jaw look great; the scars are almost undetectable. As we talk, another employee gives me the proposed fee for the work: $10,790. I wonder if I can convince Slate it needs to pay for this.

Dr. Implant
Dr. Implant takes a cubist approach to how to fix my face. I need a mini-lift to tighten my jaw line. A brow-lift would take pressure off my upper eyelids, which he would reshape. The bags below also have to go. He recommends Botox and a laser resurfacing for my crow's feet. His consultant explains, "When you make up the bed, you want the sheets to be ironed."

Dr. Implant notes my recessive chin (a consensus is forming!) and would do a chin implant, which would take up some of the slack in my jaw. He turns to my digital image on his computer screen and performs these procedures. The chin implant is the most startling of all. Suddenly I have my mother's chin! No wonder she's aged so well. I realize I've been genetically robbed and that Dr. Implant can rectify this.

I express concern about putting a silicone object in my face. The consultant lifts her head and shows me the scar below her enhanced chin. From the way she describes the surgery, it feels at first like having a Dr. Scholl's heel cup sewn on your chin, but after a few weeks, she says, you don't even notice it. The doctor then splits the screen, and my new high-browed, strong-chinned image mocks my real face.

I ask about the other procedures that have been recommended—the midface-lift and the S-lift. Dr. Implant furrows his brow, inadvertently revealing how communicative an un-Botoxed face can be. I don't need the midface-lift, my nasal-labial is not that bad, and a midface-lift is fairly risky and requires a long recovery. He has been to lectures on the S-lift, but he doesn't perform them because all the ones he's seen leave pleats in the face. This is alarming, especially since I wouldn't even wear a pleated skirt because of its effect on my hips.

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