Looking fabulous at 50

Body changes over time

For Rachel*, it began when she turned 40. Almost overnight, she noticed small but distinct changes in her body. A few more wrinkles, a little sagging, a slight neck crease. The progression was slow but sure. Though not entirely welcome, she was comfortable at first. It wasn’t until her 50th birthday that she looked in the mirror and suddenly felt as if she was seeing a stranger.

“I felt so young and vibrant, it was literally the best time of my life thus far, and yet when I passed a mirror and saw myself it was deflating,” she shared. “I’m not a vain person and quite honestly I always said I wouldn’t have any surgical procedures. But that was naïve. It wasn’t about vanity for me, but about feeling good about myself. I wanted the outside to match the inside.”

Where to go for help

Rachel sought out Madison-based board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Thomas Bartell to discuss her options. Together they carefully evaluated the possibilities. For Dr. Bartell, the consultation phase is critical. During consultation, he educates patients about various procedures and the type of results that can be expected. For women in their 50s and 60s, common procedures include abdominoplasty, breast lifts, and arm lifts. In the end, Rachel chose an abdominoplasty and breast lift.

The process is different for everyone, says Dr. Bartell. “Everyone ages differently and everyone feels differently about the process. My job is to help our patients find the best solution for their lives. It’s really about restoring or improving confidence levels.”

Rachel is a perfect example. Her experience mirrors that of many of Dr. Bartell’s patients. While cosmetic procedures and surgical interventions are not necessary or even optimal for every individual, for some it is transforming. “This experience has truly impacted my life and the way I see myself. I feel like the old me. I feel free. I am ready to face anything.”

For more information about cosmetic surgery and how to find a qualified surgeon, visit the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) website at www.plasticsurgery.org.

Thomas Bartell, MD, is a board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon practicing in Madison, Wis. To schedule a consultation or learn more about Dr. Bartell, visit www.drbartell.com or phone (608) 271-0500.

* Composite experience. Names have been changed to protect patient confidentiality.