I often hear after treatments: doctor, I can finally use mascara, ceni and eyeliner. For patients after ear procedures, on the other hand: I can finally tie my hair in a ponytail! And this regained confidence and joy are my greatest reward. Because although the ideals of beauty have changed over the centuries, there is something that remains the same – a person who accepts his appearance is perceived as the most beautiful,” stresses Dr. Agnieszka Niewczas-Maciejewska, a specialist in plastic surgery.

Plastic surgery
Photo: Editors

What is plastic surgery really? Commonly, it can be associated rather with a fad, and not necessarily something that is supposed to help us function better. Meanwhile, plastic surgery has two sides.

Many still treat this field of medicine as a service for people who want to change their appearance. More than once I have heard comments that this is a fad, or even something that harms people through excessive changes. In fact, it’s a field of medicine that is primarily used to provide relief. Of course, patients do not come to us with life-threatening conditions, but the visual deficiencies they come with significantly reduce their comfort in life – both physically and mentally. A branch of plastic surgery is also, not to be forgotten, reconstructive surgery. Often visual deficiencies have a very strong negative impact on the lives of patients, and these patients – through the existence of stereotypes about plastic surgery – delay for a very long time to come in for help. In the case of eyelids, for example, this is a very important issue, because a deteriorating field of vision negatively affects visual acuity.

My work is guided by the principle of bringing out natural beauty, rather than offering the patient solutions that look exaggerated and unsightly. Of course, such treatments are being implemented, the results of which we see, for example, in social media. Nevertheless, I focus on bringing out the natural beauty and, above all, increasing the comfort of patients, both mentally and physically. I’m glad to see that awareness about mental health is increasing, which also positively affects potential patients, who are much quicker to make the decision to see a plastic surgeon

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Why exactly the eyes or ears so strongly affect the perception of our character, our person. However, it seems that their appearance is not as significant to our image as, for example, the shape of the nose. What does it look like from your perspective?

Eyes and ears are among the most important sensory organs. Flaws especially around the eyes are very problematic for patients due to the fact that there is no way to hide them. Ears, on the other hand, are the second most common problem, but mainly affect children. Who among us hasn’t heard school nicknames toward children with protruding ears. Parents often delay their child’s surgery, but we must be aware that self-esteem is formed during childhood. Our self-confidence can decline for years to come – so it’s important not to delay a procedure that will significantly improve our child’s quality of life.

What type of operations are these most common?

The most common is surgery for protruding auricles. But the problem is often complex, because in addition to protrusion, we sometimes see asymmetry or distortion of the auricle, which attracts the eyes of those around us. For girls, this shortcoming is easier to camouflage – 95% of female patients have longer hair, but for boys it is much worse, as the ears are exposed.

Is this operation difficult and painful? How long does the recovery take? I think this is a question whose answer may be important for parents.

The auricle is a three-dimensional structure, so indeed the complexity of the procedure increases because of this. However, auricular surgery is mostly performed under local anesthesia – which puts these procedures in the low-risk category. The procedure takes about. 1.5 hours, recovery is not very taxing, especially for the youngest patients. It lasts up to two weeks – after which time the stitches are removed. It should be noted that the younger the patient, the smoother and faster the recovery. If we are talking about childhood, we have a lower age limit. It is also assumed that ears should be operated on at the earliest around. 9-10 years of age, which is related to the formation of proportions on the face.

Is it worth paying attention to the time of year in the context of this operation?

There are no special restrictions here. After such treatment, 6 weeks you have to walk in a special brace. So if you are planning a vacation, being at the beach, in high temperatures, I always suggest that you postpone the surgery until after the vacation or vacation.

Let’s move on to adults and blepharoplasty – it seems to me that eyelid surgery has been talked about more and more recently, if only in the context of the burgeoning makeup profiles. With droopy eyelids, it is difficult to paint normally….

One of the first things I hear from patients opting for eyelid plasty is that they can’t use shadow, mascara or eye-liner because the makeup smudges. On the subject of eyelids, it is also impossible not to mention that it is the eyes that are a kind of catalyst for our emotions – they betray emotions and determine the first impression. It is not without reason that they are said to be the mirror of the soul. However, drooping eyelid skin is not only an aesthetic issue, but also, as I mentioned earlier, a deterioration of the visual field or visual acuity. In addition, excess and flabby skin gives the effect of a sad look, which is worsened by the lowering of the eyebrow arch, but also significantly reduces the quality of life. Male and female patients are often accompanied by a feeling of heaviness in the eyelids, which in turn has the effect of making them more tired and less productive at work or behind the wheel, for example.

Plastic surgery
Photo: Editors

Is this procedure difficult for patients?

It is a low-risk procedure, performed under local anesthesia and involves a relatively short recovery. After 7-8 days, the patient can return to normal function and work.

What would you say to patients who are afraid to even have a consultation? This is quite understandable – after all, we are consulting on a rather intimate matter….

Knowing how difficult it is to talk about complexes, I try to create a nice, cozy atmosphere in the office. I rely on kindness – I believe it is an important element in the doctor-patient relationship. I take an individual approach to each person. I want not only to know the expectations of the patient, but also to inform about the limitations, which are almost always – in every patient different, no two operations are the same. It’s worth making expectations realistic about what limitations we have.

Do such consultations take place live, or is it also possible to get advice online, for example, when someone lives abroad?

Of course, I prefer live contact, but we cannot ignore the possibility of the Internet, so – of course – it is possible to provide at least some of the consultation online. As for the eyelids, ears or nose, if the patient expresses the need, please send photos. Then we arrange an interview. If possible, however, I prefer to meet face to face.

How do you prepare for these treatments?

It’s mostly about basic tests – morphology, coagulation system, electrolytes. If patients suffer from thyroid disorders – in addition, thyroid hormones. These are tests that can be done overnight, but getting them done is important – after all, safety is paramount throughout the process.

Dr. Agnieszka Niewczas-Maciejewska
Photo: Editors

Both procedures are usually performed under local anesthesia. What if patients are afraid of being conscious during surgery? Is there a possibility of general anesthesia?

Of course, as much as possible. This is important especially in younger children – if we know that we need to reduce the trauma as much as possible, or we are dealing with an uncooperative patient, if only because of high anxiety, we suggest surgery under general anesthesia or analgosedation – this is a type of anesthesia without intubation, where there is no full sleep with relaxation, while this anesthesia also takes place under the assistance of an anesthesiologist, who administers intravenous drugs strong enough that the patient does not remember the time of the procedure. It is important to remember that after endotracheal intubation, the patient must stay 24 hours under medical observation in the hospital. After other types of anesthesia, patients go home the same day.

What is the recovery like after blepharoplasty?

The recovery period depends on the individual person, while it usually lasts 8-10 days, because after this period we remove the stitches. After that, you can also go to work. I always emphasize that recovery is a stage that is just as important as the procedure itself – and a lot during this time depends on the patient. So after discharge, patients get detailed recommendations and instructions from me, as well as a contact for me – so that if in doubt, they can always call or write.

Where can I make an appointment with you for a consultation?

Currently, my professional life is concentrated in Silesia – all those interested are invited to Serafin Clinic in Gliwice. You can ask questions there, as well as see the effects of my work.

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