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Rhode Island Monthly Magazine*

The newest cosmetic procedures boast close to no downtime and natural-looking results. No wonder everyone [even your doctor] wants to do lunch.
Edited by Nicole Maranhas

You know what they say. After thirty, it’s bangs or Botox©. A growing number of people are choosing the latter:

According to the American Society for Plastic Surgery, nearly two million people in New England and the mid-Atlantic region opted for minimally invasive cosmetic procedures last year.

Once the purview of ladies who lunch, cosmetic work no longer discriminates. An increasing number of men are seeking out Botox© and wrinkle fillers. The demographics are also getting younger; many patients now opt for treatments in their thirties.

And to doctors of all specialties. Because nonsurgical cosmetic treatments are a cash-upfront cow, medical practitioners from all fields are milking the industry—which can make patient safety an issue. While many procedures are effective and safe when performed correctly, they pose risks in the wrong hands.

An obstetrician, for example, might take a weekend certification course on Botox© or Juvederm© before offering the treatments to clients. Many plastic surgeons and dermatologists question this kind of crossover, warning that even a top-notch doctor may lack the experience and knowledge for damage control if complications occur. “The injector should have a comprehensive understanding of facial muscles, their function and the effect of specific doses of Botox on muscle activity and facial expression,” says Dr. Patrick Sullivan, a plastic surgeon in Providence and associate professor at Brown.

The risks aren’t always medical. “What training do you get in facial artistry if you’re a gynecologist?” Sullivan asks. Botox© injected in the wrong places can cause eyebrows to become abnormally elevated, giving the patient a look of perpetual surprise. There may be eyelid drooping if an improper injection freezes the muscle that controls the eyelid. And with fillers that draw in water over time, it takes a couple of days to see results. “The person doing the filling has to be able to anticipate these changes to give the patient the best result,” says Sullivan.

It takes only one look at a procedure gone wrong to see why cosmetic medicine is no time for budget shopping.

“If somebody low-balls the price, there is a reason they’re doing it,” says Dr. Richard Zienowicz, a plastic surgeon in Providence who is also an associate professor at Brown. He recalls treating a patient who came to him with third-degree burns and permanent scars caused by a laser treatment from a nonspecialist who took a weekend course in the technique. On another occasion, a patient sought his help for permanent scarring that occurred after a board-certified surgeon trained in facial plastic surgery performed a tummy tuck. These stories are common. “Seek the advice of nurses and doctors who work with the individual, as well as satisfied clients,” says Zienowicz.

With a more youthful face just a lunch hour away, it’s easy to get caught up. — Denise Dowling

*Reprinted in party with permission granted by Rhode Island Monthly Communications, Inc. ©2008

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Dr. Sullivan is happy to announce he has resumed elective surgeries!

We are also now seeing patients in the office again following all guidelines and taking every precaution possible to provide an incredibly safe environment for all patients and staff.

Due to cases being moved back from the spring and the pent up demand for our services we are expecting to be FULLY booked out for the summer soon, limited spots are available. If you have any interest in summer surgery or services, please call us or contact us immediately so we can help you coordinate this before those spots become unavailable. Further, if you are seeking any services or surgery in 2020, we are anticipating an increase in price soon to deal with operating room fee increases.

We are here for any surgical or cosmetic questions you may have. Get in touch with us to see if there is any way we can help you.

We will continue to be here virtually for all those who prefer to have consultations in the comfort of their home.

Our online virtual consultations have been a very popular option for patients from as far away as Asia as well as usual coast to coast patients from New York to California, Oregon to Florida and many in New England.

Our virtual web consultations can be done right in the comfort of your own home, all you need is a secure internet connection and a computer, tablet or smartphone! We have 5 main steps we aim to accomplish with the virtual consultation:

  1. We listen to each patient carefully to establish exactly what it is they are looking for.
  2. We will give instructions to each patient on the specific pictures we will need from them as part of the virtual consultation. We send out sample pictures of just what we need, and the patient can send back their pictures that replicate this.
  3. We have chosen specific before and after photos of Dr Sullivan’s patients in order to show the patients what a prospective patient can expect (note, individual results will vary).
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  5. Finally, we find a time that is best for them that we can get this done.

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