'Surgeons of happiness' can remodel you
They like to think of themselves as "surgeons of happiness"
They're the medical miracle workers you go to if you don't like the way you look - the cosmetic surgeons who, by making nips, tucks, incisions, excitions and insertions in your body, can reshape you in almost any way you want.
Dr. Lloyd Carlsen of Toronto, who has practised corrected and rehabilitative surgery for many years, once observed that "my happiest patients are my cosmetic patients. They look better, feel better and appreciate what I do for them."
There's no part of your anatomy that the cosmetic surgeon can't change - breasts, face, buttocks, tummy, legs and arms.
But, not surprisingly, most cosmetic surgery is performed on the face area because that's the part of the body that is most prominent and visible.
Choosing the right nose
One of the most popular operations is the so-called "nose job" or rhinoplasty. There's a good reason for it. More people are displeased by the appearance of their nose than by any other part of their body. Dr. Paul Regnault, a Montreal cosmetic surgeon says, "I sometimes get patients who want me to change their nose even though they're in perfect proportion to their face. I refuse to operate on them."
To do a first-class nose job requires a physician who combines surgical skill with artistic talent.
"Choosing exactly the right nose for the right face is tremendously exciting," says Dr. Martin Unger, a Toronto cosmetic surgeon. "You don't put small noses on big faces."
Also ranking high in popularity is the face lift operation, referred to by doctors as a rhytidectomy. During the three-hour procedure, the surgeon sculpts your face to make you look younger and more attractive. He removes sags by lifting the face tightly, repositions sagging layers of muscles and cuts away excess skin and fat.
But the cosmetic surgeon has several other procedures at his disposal to give your face a new look. Droopy eyelids and bags under the eyes can be corrected. Imperfections in your facial skin can be smoothed away by chemical peeling or dermabrasion, that is, sanding it away by a high-speed rotating steel brush.
Wrinkles can be eliminated by injections of silicone or collagen - a protein material derived from cattle. Some experts urge caution in the use of both these anti-wrinkle substances for healthy safety reasons.
Dentist creates designer smiles
The latest specialist to join the ranks of the "surgeons of happiness" is the cosmetic dentist.
"The cosmetic dentist aims to give you a beautiful designer smile," says Dr. Edward Philips, typical of this new breed of practitioners. Formerly on the staff of the Hospital for Sick Children, Philips is now part of a group practice, housed in a downtown Toronto office building.
Philips and his colleagues have taken great care to make their workplace appealing and non-threatening. Furnishings include a large tropical fish tank, tall floor plants, park benches, a popcorn stand, high ceilings and wall colours and lighting to create a warm, upbeat ambience.
On the first visit, Philips carefully studies your face and makes a mold of your teeth. By the second visit, he has constructed another mold which incorporates the changes necessary to improve your smile.
"Many kinds of imperfections detract from a smile," says Philips. He lists some of them: discoloured teeth, teeth which are chipped, mishapen or irregular; teeth crowded into a mouth too small to comfortably contain them; teeth which are too small to comfortably contain them; teeth which are too small to fill a large mouth.
To correct these deficiencies, the latest technology is used. "We're having good success with home bleaching," says Philips.
The patient with discoloured teeth is given a jelly-like bleach. With the help of a plastic mouth guard, he applies it to his teeth for thirty minutes every night for a month.
Chipped and poorly shaped teeth can be given a pleasing shape by the use of porcelain veneer and other materials which can be bonded on and stay stuck. Again, by the use of new materials and bonding agents, it's possible to repair cavities with smaller, almost invisible fillings. It's also possible to build durable ceramic crown systems with a minimum interference with your teeth.
Electronic pain relief
"We can also reduce the discomfort of our client while he'd undergoing treatment," says Philips.
For example, there's the Synchro-Energizer. The patient wears special glasses and earphones. He sees a flashing strobe light and listens to electronic beeping. The sound and sight are synchonized and change frequency. The purpose is to create a brainwave pattern that encourages relaxation and per-