General Cosmetic Surgery FAQS

What is facial plastic surgery and what is a facial plastic surgeon?

Facial plastic surgery is a regional specialty that is dedicated to cosmetic and reconstructive surgery only of the head-and-neck region. Dr. Lam has trained exclusively in all aspects of head-and-neck surgery and has subspecialized his practice to include only plastic surgery of the head and neck. Beyond his head-and-neck surgical experience, he completed an advanced degree in a fellowship program in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. He is double board-certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, the American Board of Otolaryngology, which serves the specialty of Head & Neck Surgery, and the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery. The public has become increasingly savvy about the merits of choosing a specialist that is dedicated only to the face.

Does Dr. Lam perform any plastic surgery of the body?

No. As mentioned above, he has trained exclusively in the head-and-neck region and has extensive experience in all aspects of facial plastic surgery. He does not perform any body liposuction, breast augmentation, or other types of body-enhancement surgery. However, Dr. Lam does specialize in rejuvenation of aging hands using his method of fat transfer. He believes that hands can give away one’s age after facial rejuvenation and may be an important area to improve in order to achieve matched rejuvenation.

How much will it cost me to make an appointment with Dr. Lam?

A consultation with Dr. Lam is $100, which will be applied to any service that would be rendered in the future. After meeting with Dr. Lam, he is confident that the quality of surgical service that he can provide you is unsurpassed. He would relish the opportunity to share with you the many advanced options he has at his disposal to provide an optimal aesthetic result for you.

Does Dr. Lam specialize in only the Asian face?

No, he has worked for the past 15 years primarily with the Caucasian or Western face. He is a respected lecturer both nationally and internationally on the topic of rejuvenation of the aging Caucasian face and has written a medical textbook entitled Comprehensive Facial Rejuvenation, that instructs other surgeons about the many different techniques that are available for facial rejuvenation. He has also written extensively on rhinoplasty (aesthetic nose surgery) among many other topics that cater to the Western face. By understanding the techniques and aesthetics that pertain to the Far East, he has gained an increased sensitivity to the dynamics of Western beauty in that process. With all of that in mind, Dr. Lam is also an authority in Asian cosmetic surgery, as he is the author of the medical textbook, Cosmetic Surgery of the Asian Face (2nd edition), the only English-language book to address cosmetic surgery of the Asian face (other than its predecessor) at the time of its release. He has written numerous articles and book chapters as well as lectured internationally and nationally on Asian cosmetic facial surgery. Besides training for many months abroad in Asia, he also studied for 6 years under a prominent Korean facial plastic surgeon in New York City.

Does Dr. Lam do surgery only or does he perform procedures to rejuvenate the skin?

In regard to facial rejuvenation, Dr. Lam believes that lifting procedures only provide part of the solution. In order to achieve global rejuvenation, he advocates plasma (1 week downtime) or Pixel laser/fotofacial (0-2 days of downtime) skin rejuvenation that can restore the natural beauty and glow of more youthful skin. He also provides counseling on maintenance programs to ensure the longevity of your result. The skin care center at the Spa at Willow Bend can help maintain your result and provide minimal to no-downtime options as well. For more recalcitrant entities such as acne scarring, he will use his specialized CROSS treatments or combine that technique with other resurfacing treatments for an optimal outcome. He has written extensively on his philosophy of combined resurfacing techniques as well as on management of the post-resurfacing patient.

Is the type of skin rejuvenation that Dr. Lam uses the same as what I can get at a spa or by an aesthetician?

No, an aesthetician is only qualified to remove part of the outer layer of skin called the epidermis. Dr. Lam removes the entire epidermal layer to permit regrowth of a completely new skin that is “baby new” and free from the pre-existing sun damage and abnormal discolorations. Performing this depth of penetration requires experience to ensure a uniform and proper peel that remains above all safe. Dr. Lam has extensive experience with this kind of skin therapy and has written about his technique in many chapters, articles, including his own textbook, Comprehensive Facial Rejuvenation. Also, by achieving this depth of penetration, the collagen layer of the skin will be favorably affected: new collagen will be stimulated and provide a tightening effect that contributes to the overall rejuvenation and that continues even up to a year after treatment. Dr. Lam believes that plasma resurfacing has entirely replaced laser and chemical peels in his practice for profound skin rejuvenation requiring a week (albeit pain-free) of recovery time. For smaller downtimes, he uses lighter laser and light therapies that are performed in the adjacent laser center at the Spa at Willow Bend.

What is the cost of the procedure(s)?

The cost of surgery is solely dependent upon the procedure(s) being performed, which can only be determined after a consultation with Dr. Lam. It is our policy not to quote specific prices on the Internet to avoid the chance for misrepresentation, as the procedure quoted may or may not be applicable to you. Moreover, Dr. Lam uses various techniques to achieve a desired aesthetic objective depending on your particular anatomy and concerns. You are encouraged to come for a consultation to understand more fully whether Dr. Lam’s philosophy, surgical techniques, and aesthetic outcomes accord well with your own vision. Only after an in-depth consultation will you appreciate what the cost of a particular procedure(s) is and which procedure(s) is right for you.

What is the recovery period?

Usually, the recovery period is 7 to 14 days depending upon the patient and the procedure(s) performed. The long recovery periods that incapacitate a patient or restrict social engagement for many weeks to months are simply not applicable with Dr. Lam’s surgical methods.

Will there be discomfort?

Surprisingly, most facial aesthetic procedures have very little to no discomfort, especially when compared with body plastic surgery. The level of discomfort varies depending on the patient and the procedure(s) involved. With today’s modern anesthesia techniques, most procedures have minimal if no discomfort levels experienced by the patient. As it is our goal to achieve the maximum level of comfort for all of our patients, a prescription to relieve discomfort will be provided and can be used as warranted.

When can I exercise?

Depending on the procedure(s) you may exercise approximately 2 days to 3 weeks afterward. A good rule to follow is to listen to your own body and to return to exercise gradually when you feel up to the task. During the first week after a major procedure, it may not be safe to engage in heavy exercise for several reasons. You may be experiencing a bit more fatigue than usual, as your body expends energy toward the healing process. Also, you may be taking some medications for discomfort that make it unsafe for you to drive, operate heavy machinery, or to be involved with excessive physical exertion. Also, vigorous exercise may increase swelling, risk bleeding, and prolong healing. If you have had any incisions performed, it may be also advisable to refrain from submersing your head under water like tub bathing or swimming for several weeks or months depending on what Dr. Lam recommends in your specific case. If you should have any further questions, Dr. Lam will be able to answer them on an individual basis.

Will there be a significant difference in the way I look after surgery and will people notice?

Bearing in mind that it is our goal to provide you with an improved look based on your natural assets, there should be a significant improvement in your appearance. The goal of surgery is always to achieve a remarkable benefit but still look absolutely natural without the stigma of an operated-on look. After a consultation in which you can study Dr. Lam’s before-and-after results, you should begin to appreciate that a natural appearance is the goal in every case.

How long does the procedure(s) last before I need surgery again?

Depending on the procedure(s) chosen, the surgery will result in an improvement that should endure. Nevertheless, for aging-face surgery, a rejuvenative procedure will not arrest the aging process. As one continues to mature, the effects of the procedure will be contravened over time, from anywhere as short as several years to over a decade in time. Although internal factors, i.e., a genetic predisposition toward aging, cannot be avoided, external factors, e.g., diet, exercise, smoking, sun exposure, stress, and adequate sleep, can be controlled for the most part to permit maximal longevity of a surgical result.

How long before I can wear makeup?

You can start wearing makeup approximately 7 to 14 days after the procedure(s). If you have undergone a peel or other skin resurfacing procedure, Dr. Lam will inform you specifically when you can resume your makeup. Generally, 7 to 14 days are applicable for most skin treatments as well.

How much bruising and swelling will occur?

The amount of bruising and swelling depends upon the patient and the procedure(s) chosen. Pre- and postoperative recommendations are given to you to minimize risk of any protracted bruising and to expedite healing. Over the first 1 to 2 weeks, swelling will work its way down on the face toward the neck as gravity draws the extra fluid downward until the body ultimately reabsorbs all the excess amount. Nevertheless, the advanced techniques that Dr. Lam uses make excessive and unsightly swelling uncommon. Bruising in most cases is very mild, and Dr. Lam can remove almost all remaining bruising with his laser 5 to 7 days following a procedure (except if the bruise is situated immediately around the eyes).

What are the chances of visible incision lines or hair loss?

With any kind of surgery, incisions are required. However, Dr. Lam only uses the most abbreviated incisions that are necessary to complete the task at hand. For instance, for lower eyelid surgery, he relies on the “transconjunctival” approach that typically involves no external incision. All rejuvenative procedures that Dr. Lam performs involve discreet, well-camouflaged incisions that leave one’s own hair entirely intact.


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