Facial rejuvenation can help you look younger and boost self-confidence from the inside, out.
Most of us long to change something about ourselves when we look in the mirror – perhaps a lift here or a tuck there.
Those thoughts typically enter our minds as we age. But for June Popielarski, the idea of cosmetic surgery surfaced in her teenage years.
“I had huge bags underneath both eyes at a very young age,” she describes. “Not dark circles, but big, puffy bags. Other kids would constantly bring it to my attention, which made me feel very self-conscious. I never wanted my picture taken. If I walked by a mirror, I would cringe. I just wanted to hide. I was picked on. It was really awful. As I got older, they just got worse.
“My personal situation was hereditary, because my mother had the same thing. I always wanted to address it, but never had the time or the money to do it.”
Now 62, June says she reached a point in her life where she finally had the financial means to make a change.
She heard about cosmetic facial rejuvenation seminars hosted by board-certified maxillofacial surgeon Curtis J. Schalit, DDS, at Florida Oral & Facial Surgical Associates and decided to attend.
“I was already familiar with Dr. Schalit because about fifteen years ago he performed oral surgery on me for sarcoidosis [the growth of tiny collections of inflammatory cells in different parts of your body] on the roof of my mouth,” June explains. “He was wonderful to me back then. He was very knowledgeable and I trusted him. When I heard about the seminars he was hosting about facial rejuvenation, I knew I wanted to hear more. I knew that if I was going to do anything, he was the surgeon I wanted.”
Once she heard what he had to say, June says her decision was immediate.
“That was it. I knew I was going to go forward with what I had always dreamed of. I just had to get rid of those bags under my eyes and a few other things.”
Laser here, implant there
Dr. Schalit says June had several procedures done over the course of about a year including laser for the eyes, lip augmentation and a mini facelift.
“With June, I did a little bit here and there in segments,” explains Dr. Schalit. “First, I addressed her eyes. She had really heavy bags under her eyes, mostly genetic. Some people have a thin septum, and they start to get puffy under their eyes at a very young age. June has had the issue for as long as she can remember, and they had gotten worse. “We took care of the eyes first. In December of 2014, we did blepharoplasty on her upper and lower eyelids to get rid of the bags, and then we did laser under the eyes to tighten the skin.
“A few weeks later, we did lip augmentation with SurgiSil™ PermaLip™ implants. Lip implants are interesting, because sometimes people don’t want to deal with the fillers, which they have to repeat every eight to twelve months. Patients tend to want something a little bit more permanent, which would be implants. They’re a great alternative for someone who wants to keep some volume, but wants very little maintenance long term.”
Dr. Schalit says lip implants are becoming increasingly popular, especially among women.
“People will tell you, Oh, your lips are going to be huge and they’re going to look puffy, but that’s not the case at all,” he describes. “You won’t see any difference when they’re done right. We’re just trying to get them back where they used to be, and that actually helps prevent some of the vertical lines that form around the mouth. That issue is much more prevalent in women than men, which is why women lean toward the lip implants.”
For the finishing touch, June also had a mini facelift.
“The most recent surgery we did was her maintenance lift,” Dr. Schalit adds. “This was done to remove and tighten the excess skin she had underneath the lower jawline and surrounding her neck. She wanted that area tightened up, which we did successfully. We utilized platelet-rich plasma during that procedure to minimize bruising, prevent swelling and speed up the healing process.”
Hear and learn
Peggy Taylor says Dr. Schalit’s informational presentation solidified her decision to take action and update her appearance.
“I just looked in the mirror one day, and I said, My face is looking pretty ragged,” she admits. “This was right around the time a neighbor suggested I attend one of Dr. Schalit’s seminars. When you listen to him talk, you gain a lot of confidence in him, not to mention confidence in his reputation. I made up my mind rather quickly that this was something I was going to do, and he was the person to do it.”
When Peggy met with Dr. Schalit for a consultation, she knew exactly what she wanted to address.
“The puffiness around my jaws and chin definitely needed some work, as well as wrinkles here and there,” she continues. “My forehead was looking fairly wrinkled; frankly, I just looked old! Also, my neck was sagging a little bit, and then the ‘marionette lines’ – those had to go.”
Despite the playful name, marionette lines are known to cause the face to appear years beyond one’s real age. Vertical creases that run downward from the corners of the mouth, marionette lines begin to carve a “disappointed look” on one’s face as the lines grow deeper.
Together with Dr. Schalit, Peggy decided on a multipronged approach: BOTOX® Cosmetic for wrinkles and fine lines, an erbium laser treatment for her skin, some neck and brow work, and a mid-face lift.
“The area between the eyes and upper lip,” Dr. Schalit informs, “is known as the mid-face area. As one ages, common issues in this region include deepening nasolabial folds (“laugh lines”) and cheek pads that start to slip down, which creates a hollowing effect in the face, specifically in the eye region. In the lower third of the face, the effects of gravity mean that the chin, jawline and neck become saggy, and skin folds become more prominent. A loss of muscle tone in this area also allows for jowls to develop.
“As these things occur, a face that was once heart-shaped becomes more rectangular – things get a little bit boxier down on the lower third of the face,” Dr. Schalit explains. “We decided on a mid-face lift along with the necklift on her. She’s always been a beautiful person; we just wanted to restore that natural heart shape back to her face to refresh her look.”
Peggy says she felt totally comfortable with the process and with Dr. Schalit, who made sure she was well taken care of.
“I think he did a fantastic job on me,” says Peggy, who is thrilled with the results of her procedures. “He has a lot of experience, and when I saw my new look, I finally understood firsthand why he has the reputation he does – he is excellent.”
Peggy is only enhancing his reputation by showing off her new appearance around town and recommending him to friends who comment on how great she looks.
“I highly recommend Dr. Schalit to many people,” she confirms. “One of my friends is having work done by him around the first of the year, and another one of my friends is booking her appointment soon. For other friends who aren’t ready to commit to a facelift, I encourage them to check out the other options he has. I’m a big fan of everything they do at his office.”
June says she, too, felt very comfortable with the process and, of course, with Dr. Schalit.
“It was an easy process overall,” she shares. “He was the perfect doctor to do this surgery for me. I was so lucky to have already known of him, so I knew where to turn. And his staff was amazed at my recovery, which went by very quickly.”
Dr. Schalit says most patients are not seeking drastic changes, but subtle enhancements. He says that is what cosmetic surgery should be about.
“Most people don’t want to look drastically different; they just want to look rejuvenated,” he describes. “Basically, they want to turn back the clock ten years. When they dress up, they want to feel confident that they have a nice neckline and jawline. I provide solutions that achieve all of those goals.”
June says she always enjoyed being a social butterfly and says she no longer has to hide in a corner because of her insecurities.
“I can hold my head up high now, and I just feel so much better about myself. This was about me for once. I no longer feel like the ugly duckling. It is truly an amazing feeling, and I owe it all to Dr. Schalit!”
Happy with what she sees in the mirror, Peggy credits Dr. Schalit’s extensive experience as a major key to her success.
“Not only did he change the structure of my face with the facelift, but he also removed fine lines and wrinkles from my face with BOTOX and the erbium laser. It was the combination of treatments that really gave me the look I was longing for.
“You know when you go to Dr. Schalit that you are being treated by an expert. You can tell that from his seminars,” she continues. “He’s a very competent man, and highly intelligent. I wouldn’t have trusted my face to anyone else.” FHCN staff article.