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Our Approach: Anti-Aging Medicine

North Dallas Plastic Surgery recommends that our patients maintain a healthy lifestyle in regard to nutrition, exercise and avoidance of substance abuse and cigarette smoking.

We do not recommend indiscriminate use of herbal supplements, which may have pharmacological effects but generally lack consistency of formulation and dosage.

We do not sell dietary supplements or prescribe growth hormone.

We believe that it is important for a cosmetic surgery patient to be in a good physical and mental condition and observing a healthy lifestyle prior to undergoing surgery. Further, we believe that the early postoperative comfort, length of convalescence and the final results are dependent on the surgical technique used, along with careful adherence to good surgical principles. Therefore, we do not routinely use steroids, herbal preparations or nutritional supplements in our postoperative regimen.

Our aesthetician dispenses skin care products in our office. Most of these products have clinically-proven benefits to improve skin quality, can even reverse sun damage and they are not available over-the-counter. Patients are encouraged to use the products under the supervision of our aesthetician.

Anti-Aging Medicine: The Fountain of Youth


Cosmetic Surgery: Promises and Pitfalls™

PROMISES

"You can't stop getting older,
but you can stop getting old."

There is an entirely new industry of physicians, other healthcare providers, and medi-spas that are promoting anti-aging products, services and lifestyle changes that they claim will slow, stop or reverse the aging process.


 

PITFALLS

  • While healthy life-styles, exercise, and not smoking may result in increased life expectancy by delaying or preventing the occurrence of age-related diseases, there is no scientific evidence that these lifestyle changes affect the process of aging.
  • No hormones have been shown to slow, stop or reverse aging. Studies suggest that Human Growth Hormone (HGH) could actually have a life SHORTENING effect.
  • BILLIONS of dollars are spent by people seeking the promises of anti-aging.

Bernard, R.W., "Anti-aging" a misnomer?, Aesthetic Surgery Journal, September 2002.
Human Aging, Scientific American, June 2002.

OVERVIEW
Modern cosmetic surgery can effectively reverse some of the obvious physical signs of aging, which can improve one's self-image or the way one feels about himself/herself. This has its emotional benefits, impacting on personal and often vocational relationships. Surgery provides an improvement in the outward appearance of aging, but inward health depends on genetics, lifestyle, nutrition, etc.
It would be wonderful if aging could actually be reversed by medical means - a true fountain of youth! A new MEDICAL BUSINESS has recently appeared, that of anti-aging medicine, which has been portrayed as a new medical specialty. An official sounding "Board of Anti-aging Medicine", which is not an ABMS board, has recently appeared. (See Promises and Pitfalls: Credentials » for an explanation of medical specialty boards.)

There are many established specialties that deal with wellness or lifestyle aspects of preventive medicine, including internal medicine, endocrinology and physical medicine. These specialties deal with preventing and treating diseases, and should include encouraging a healthy lifestyle and, when appropriate nutritional supplements.

While the judicious use of vitamins and some herbal supplements may safely improve one's overall health, there is no scientific evidence that these nutritional supplements actually PREVENT aging. The American Medical Association has struggled with the concept of physicians selling nutritional supplements, vitamins, herbs and skin care products in offices. The issue that is widely discussed is that office retail sales is a potential conflict of interest for the physician, who is profiting from these sales. Because the doctor-patient relationship is one of total trust, the patient will likely make the assumption that the product offered is better than a similar product available in a retail outlet. When such products are recommended and sold by the physician, it can confuse that doctor-patient relationship.

The use of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is being advocated by "anti-aging clinics" as daily injections to ward off aging. Animal and clinical research suggest that HGH increases muscle mass and cardiac performance, and even smoothes facial wrinkling. The Scientific American article (with link below) specifically states that HGH has not been proven to slow, stop or reverse aging in humans. Recent reports are even more alarming, in that HGH used for purposes of anti-aging have caused liver damage and other problems in some people.

According to Paul S. Jellinger, M.D., president, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, long-term use of HGH may promote heart disease, cancer and arthritis in people who are NOT HGH DEFICIENT. Further the pituitary gland (the source of HGH) is a highly complex gland, and HGH administration can cause interference with the production of other vital hormones. As with any major medical decision, be wary of easy solutions and miracle cures and seek a second opinion from a board-certified specialist (in this case an endocrinologist).

THE BOTTOM LINE: Benefits are mainly to the bottom line of anti-aging practitioners.

Like it or not, aging is a normal phenomenon. Surgery can improve one's appearance, as can a healthy lifestyle - and both can certainly improve ones mental state and feeling of well-being - BUT NOTHING CAN REVERSE OR PREVENT AGING.

See related website: Scientific American: Anti-Aging Medicine ».

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