When you think of plastic surgery, what is the first image that comes to mind? For some, it brings to mind influencers, celebrities, and the “pretty people.” For others, they may think of the fabulously wealthy and famous, who, in decades past, were the biggest consumers for cosmetic procedures. Over the last 15-20 years, plastic surgery has become much less taboo and far more accessible; offering women and men from all walks of life the opportunity to improve their confidence.
While this is indeed a step in the right direction, in many cases there is still one “final frontier” for plastic surgery: formulaic, antiquated and often Eurocentric beauty standards. The exciting news? As the world’s view of beauty – and the kaleidoscope of sizes, shapes and colors that comprise it – has finally evolved; today’s most innovative plastic surgeons are leading the way to fully embrace the full spectrum of beauty. Gone is the dated notion of "one size fits all beauty", and innovation in the field is specifically centered around giving each patient the chance to create and enhance the allure that’s all their own. Customization is the name of the game, and perhaps one of the most experienced surgeons in shifting the standard to unique beauty is Dr. Lawrence S. Bass, whose boutique Park Avenue and Great Neck plastic surgery practices place customization and individual beauty, rather than the “Barbie” standard, at the heart of every surgical and non-invasive procedure they perform. We had the opportunity to discuss how this shift is evolving the world of plastic surgery and aesthetics with Dr. Bass
Beauty Standards Have Evolved from “Fast Food” to “Fine Dining”
Not unlike a fast-food menu, where there are a set number of options ready on the spot... In eras past, there was “one” definition of what plastic surgery patients aspired to. One nose shape, one female silhouette, one set of facial proportions. Not so in today’s world of customized surgical outcomes, says Dr. Bass. For the majority of today’s patients, they seek a less processed, more natural appearance — although everyone’s beauty "thermostat" is unique. Whereas before, one-size-fits-all, the complexities of patient preference in the modern era are designed to accommodate. "Not natural" has multiple definitions, and beauty spans a wide array of definitions for today’s patients.
What Exactly Does Customization Look Like?
The most fabulous part about customized outcomes is that there are now over 8 billion ways beauty can take shape—as opposed to one template. In Dr. Bass’ experience, some of the most frequent ways he is able to customize each patients’ beauty include how full, thick, or angular various facial features appear. In decades past, there may have been one "look" that was trending; whereas today there are multiple trends and preferences for beauty that are all at the forefront in tandem. More than ever, the individual patient is encouraged to embrace and pursue their "brand" of beauty, as opposed to what a surgeon or aesthetic provider envisions.
Stunning Customization Doesn’t Always Require A Scalpel
Just as one instrument can’t make an orchestra, it’s uncommon that enhancing someone’s unique beauty relies on one modality alone. In fact, relying too heavily on any one procedure (such as a facelift) is one of the factors that contributed to the old, boilerplate definition of beauty.
Dr. Bass explains that today, he and many of his colleagues across the country and globe prefer a multi-modality approach that begins earlier in a patient’s aging journey. A true beauty plan should bring together non-invasive, minimally invasive, and, in some cases, surgical approaches to deliver the most natural, individualized transformation for patients.
Above All, Subtle & Sequential Reigns Supreme
One of the most common questions Dr. Bass notices from his patients is “when is the right time to begin?” and there is no one ideal answer to this question. For patients in each season of life, there are different treatments and approaches that are the main focus. By starting earlier in their aging progression, a true beauty plan can maintain the individual’s unique features while delaying more invasive surgical procedures. Not unlike an older car needing a greater amount of maintenance, but by starting earlier in their aging journey, a patient can take advantage of non-invasive and minimally invasive options that mean they may be able to wait longer before pursuing surgical interventions where a transformation may be more pronounced or dramatic “all at once.”
It All Begins With Self-Love
Loving what you see in the mirror begins far before stepping foot inside a plastic surgeon’s office–it begins with embracing what makes you unique, different, and the true beauty that is found within. As cliché as it may sound, Dr. Bass and his esteemed colleagues aim to help patients understand that, ultimately, any beauty transformation serves to allow them to show what is special about them by having their beauty vision realized. Dr. Bass notes that in recent years, surgeons have become far more in-tune with seeing a patient’s vision—instead of seeing patients through the doctor’s “beauty lens.”
The most confident people–whether walking down the streets of Manhattan, on the red carpet, or in the media–all exude a “je ne sais quoi” that is completely detached from their physical appearance. The job of a plastic surgeon is to help patients ignite that special something that begins from the inside and radiates outwards.
In Dr. Bass’ words, feeling good is the ultimate goal. When you look good in a way that honors the patient’s desires—and not those of a surgeon or society—it’s only natural to feel good!
Dr. Lawrence Bass, FACS, is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is the founder of Bass Plastic Surgery, PLLC in Manhattan
and Great Neck, NY where he specializes in providing surgical and nonsurgical facial rejuvenation and body contouring.