Plastic Surgeon Dr Jennifer Walden.
Dr. Jennifer Walden is a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon who is fellowship-trained in aesthetic surgery and board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. She currently is an associate attending in Plastic Surgery at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital and Lenox Hill Hospital. She is also a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Her office is located at in Manhattan at 50 East 71st Street(on the corner of Park Avenue and 71st Street). Dr. Walden has been featured on CBS, ABC, and Fox News to discuss various topics in plastic surgery and has been quoted in magazines, such as: Vogue, Cosmopolitan and SELF.
In this interview Dr Walden talks to Marta Walsh about her fascination with plastic surgery which began in junior high, some of the challenges of being a woman plastic surgeon, her passion for sharing her knowledge in plastic surgery, gives advice to anyone considering plastic surgery for the first time, and best celebrity plastic surgery makeovers.
Marta Walsh: When did your fascination with plastic surgery begin?
Dr Jennifer Walden: My fascination with surgery began when I was in junior high, and one of our science projects was to dissect a pig. My science teacher told me I was going to be a surgeon after I completed the project in one day, after my lab partner left the room in disgust. As for plastic surgery, I decided I enjoyed the realm of producing visible surgical results and the immediate gratification that comes with that when I was a medical student in Texas.
MW: Which procedures surgical and non-surgical do you perform?
DJW: Surgical: Breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reduction, rhinoplasty, eyelid lift, browlift, facelift, liposuction, tummy tuck, arm lift (brachioplasty), otoplasty (ear pinning), breast reconstruction, lesion excision, facial reconstruction after skin cancer, cleft lip and palate repair. Non-surgical: Botox, Restylane, Radiesse, and Juvederm injection, chemical peels.
MW: What are some challenges, if any, do you have being a woman plastic surgeon?
DJW: In my opinion, young women in any profession have more hurdles to jump than their male counterparts, whether that field is broadcasting, government, medicine, law, or technology. This has to do with preconceived societal notions and norms that people expect women to fit into, and the way women are expected to look, act, and react to situations we are confronted with. Women also tend to juggle more as they wear so many different “hats” with childcare, childbearing, arrangement of household care, coordination of family life with profession, etc. That being said I have a wonderful practice with a very large female demographic, so I do indeed think that women appreciate having female doctor.
MW: You appear on TV and comment in many beauty magazines. Where does your passion for sharing your knowledge come from?
DJW: I used to be extremely shy as I child, so I find it wonderful that so many people ask my opinion and care to hear about it. Sharing knowledge in a public forum is another dimension of my profession that I find to be very rewarding and at times challenging; if I can effectively communicate and educate folks on a particular surgery or a disease process then I feel better at the end of the day about what I am doing.
MW: What do we need to look for when searching for the right plastic surgeon?
DJW: You should look for a plastic surgeon who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and who has done many of the procedure that you are seeking. Ask questions, look at his or her before and after photographs on that procedure, and ask to speak to a previous patient if necessary. At the very least, you should feel quite comfortable with your surgeon and her staff; if he or she gives you the creeps or makes you feel nervous, chances are that particular surgeon is not the right fit for you. Choose a surgeon who operates in an accredited office facility or hospital, and has privileges at a local hospital so that if an unforeseen emergency occurs, you will be treated in an expeditious and safe manner.
MW: What advice can you give to teenagers who are considering plastic surgery?
DJW: First of all, teenagers that are entering into plastic surgery must have the approval and consent of a parent since they are minors. If the patient’s legal guardian and the teenage patient agree upon the planned procedure and the plastic surgeon thinks that the procedure will be of benefit to the patient, then they can move forward. Surgeries like rhinoplasty (nasal reshaping), otoplasty (ear pinning), and breast lift or reduction can be very beneficial to a young person’s self-esteem. The teenager must be emotionally mature enough to understand what he or she is undergoing, as well as the recuperation time off from school and sports activities required for its success. If all of these things line up, then the teenager will likely have a positive experience and outcome. I would advise the teen and her parents to research the procedure and surgeon, and go to a plastic surgeon who is comforting, knowledgeable, and understands the teenager’s motivations.
MW: How much will a breast augmentation and a rhinoplasty will hurt physically and our pocket?
DJW: Physically, breast augmentation should not be excruciatingly painful. My patients usually describe a period in the first 3-5 days of discomfort and muscle tightness. Any acute pain after surgery is relieved by intravenous pain medications given at the surgical facility, and once you are home, if you feel pain coming on then it can be treated with prescription analgesics filled prior to the procedure. Rhinoplasty is not a tremendously painful procedure either. Patients describe a headache-type pain and nasal stuffiness that is relieved with pain medications and subsides within the first 48 hours. Financially, breast augmentation surgery in New York costs anywhere between $6-10,000, depending upon where you are having the procedure done and who’s doing it. Rhinoplasty typically costs between $7000-12,000. A portion of your rhinoplasty procedure called septoplasty (to straighten a deviated septum) may be covered by insurance,and average prices vary from one region of the country to another..
MW: What have been the key innovations in plastic surgery over the past few years?
DJW: Lasers for melting fat, ultrasonic fat reduction that does not require incisions and is completely noninvasive (Ultrashape), fat injections to the breast for breast implant and breast reconstruction-related deformities, highly cohesive shaped breast implants (Style 410 and Contour Profile Gel), newer hyaluronic acid wrinkle fillers that are not permanent and are more natural-feeling and appearing (Restylane, Perlane, Juvederm).
MW: In your opinion, what were some of the best celebrity plastic surgery makeovers?
DJW: Ashlee Simpson is a beautiful girl who had a nicely done rhinoplasty, possible chin surgery, and lip augmentation with soft tissue fillers. Confident in nature, she reinvented herself and became a pop icon afterwards. Not only did Adrienne Curry (America’s Next Top Model) share details of her right-left-breast-asymmetry and subsequent breast reconstruction, but she has also published online pictures in which she’s happily hugging her plastic surgeon. Nicole Kidman has come a long way from the frizzy-haired girl we met in the ’80s- Botox gives her eyebrows an arch and a wrinkle-free forehead. She may have also had some injectibles to her lips and nasolabial folds (the crease between her nose and corner of mouth), as well as surgical refinement of her nose (rhinoplasty).
MW: What is your philosophy about beauty?
DJW: Beauty starts from the inside. If you are not comfortable in your own skin, you will never be comfortable with the image you see in the mirror. For those people who are comfortable with their inner self, certain procedures and surgeries can be performed to address specific anatomical areas of concern in order to enhance the beautiful person that is already there. Plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures should be individualized to a person’s own anatomy and desires. I believe Coco Chanel when she said, “”In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”
MW: What do you love most about being a plastic surgeon?
DJW: Being able to really make people feel better about how they face the world, whether it is a child who has undergone a cleft lip repair, or a young woman who is is in embarrassed and discomforted by her appearance and undergoes a surgical breast procedure.
MW: What other passions do you have besides your work?
DJW: Spending time with my family back in Texas, exercising, shopping, reading, and traveling to places I’ve never been.