“Saggy.” That’s how Lori once described the face she saw in the mirror. “I know we age, but I felt what I was seeing was premature,” says the 56-tear-old marketing manager from West Chester, who prefers not to use her full name.
So she made an appointment with Dr. Jonathan Pontell of Wayne’s Aesthetic Facial Plastic Surgical Center to discuss next steps. Initially, Lori’s husband was convinced she didn’t need the mini-facelift she opted for. Afterward, even he acknowledged that she looked great. “This has been a real game-changer,” she says. “I have a family wedding coming up soon, and I can’t wait to get dressed up for the festivities and take family photos. It gave me a boost.”
A majority of Pontell’s patients come to him feeling like “their appearance doesn’t fit with their energy level and how they feel about themselves.” Lori first saw the doctor 11 years ago for her puffy under-eye bags. She returned two years ago for Botox and fillers, but it wasn’t enough. “I was getting frustrated with lower sagging,” she says.
Hence the recent mini-facelift and liposuction under the chin. The former targets the laxity of the cheeks, jawline and neck. Fewer incisions are used than in a traditional facelift, leading to a faster and an easier recovery. Bruising and swelling subside at a quicker rate, and most patients find they can return to work in about 10 days (or sooner). Pontell can also tighten muscles and remove excess skin for a firmer, more youthful facial appearance. “Patients with heavy, fatty necks are better candidates for a traditional facelift,” he notes.
“Dr. Pontell does incredible work,” says Lori, who was reassured by his detailed description of the procedure and his staff’s calming bedside manner. “I knew it was going to turn out well.”
Three weeks after her procedure, Lori was back at work. Despite having short hair, no scarring is visible behind the ears. “I told a few people, but it looked so natural—without bruising—so no one would have ever known,” she says
Pontell’s patients arrive at his office with a variety of requests. Some seek his suggestions. Others bring photos of celebrities or simply say that they want to look younger. “For someone to agree to let you operate on them requires major trust, and I respect that,” he says.
Pontell’s oldest patient so far was a 93-year-old man in excellent medical condition, both physically and mentally. “He wanted to look younger and get rid of his turkey gobbler,” Pontell says. “The outcome: excellent.”
Whatever the age of the patient, Pontell always recommends a consultation first. Be smart and ask a lot of questions, he advises. It’s the only way to determine whether you’ll 100 percent comfortable with the doctor you choose. Surgery is no joke. “Always make an informed decision,” says Pontell.
These days, more and more men are opting for plastic surgery of all kinds. Charles, a 51-year-old a trucking broker, couldn’t get past his receding hairline. So he celebrated his 50th birthday with a hair transplant at Pontell’s practice. “This is something I thought about doing for 20 years, before it was too noticeable,” says Charles, who prefers to keep his real name under wraps. “It really is everyone’s personal preference, but I did not want to be balding or bald. In the back of my mind, I was always going to do this.”
His wife, for one, is happy with the results. Then there was the family member who knew Charles was having the procedure done at some point—yet he saw him a few months later and couldn’t figure out what was different. “It’s a subtle change, yet it makes me look younger,” he says. “I don’t worry about the wind blowing my hair around anymore. I definitely feel more confident.”
Charles underwent a follicular unit extraction, a painless hair SmartGraft that involves the removal of individual or tiny groups of follicles from the back of the scalp where the hair never falls out. The graft is then transplanted to the bald and/or thinning areas. The result is surprisingly natural, though it does take three months to start seeing growth.
New to surgery, Charles didn’t know what to expect in terms of pain level. In the end, he need no medication for relief. “I was surprised how little pain was involved,” he says.
And though plastic surgery is an external procedure, its effects can bring about profound changes to how one feels on the inside. “When patients feel better about how they look, it boosts their overall confidence and makes them more productive and happier,” Pontell says. “And what could be better than that?”