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Q. What is the difference between cosmetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery?

A. Cosmetic procedures are primarily intended to improve the appearance of facial features, while reconstructive procedures are generally involved with correcting a defect due to illness, a congenital abnormality, tumor, or trauma. Reconstructive surgery actually gave birth to cosmetic procedures by allowing us to better understand the anatomic, cosmetic, and functional aspects of facial surgery.

Q. What are the various types of facial plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures offered in your practice?

A. I think it’s extremely important to know that we offer a full line of services and procedures. If you go to a practice that only does fillers, fillers will be the only thing they recommend, instead of considering what’s best for that particular patient. We offer aesthetic skin-care services, including HydraFacials performed by certified aestheticians and ZO therapeutic peels and facial products. Patients come to us for physician-managed, non-invasive treatments to correct frown lines, crow’s feet, and lines around the mouth and in the forehead—this can be accomplished with products such as Botox, Xeomin, and Dysport or with injectable fillers. We also offer laser and light treatments to correct sun damage, age spots, and rosacea. Laser treatments can also be used to tighten the skin and eliminate deep lines and pigment irregularities. We perform a number of different facial surgeries, including facelifts, eyelifts, and surgery to lift loose skin from the neck. Rhinoplasty is also performed—either alone or in conjunction with other procedures.

Q. What is the first step for someone considering facial plastic surgery?

A. The first step is a consultation with a plastic surgeon. Meeting with a surgeon who offers a full line of services allows the patient to explore many options and decide if they want a temporary or more lasting improvement. If you’re considering facial plastic surgery, a consultation will help you understand the risks, benefits, and limitations of all the available options and also help you determine if you’re emotionally and physically ready for the improvement.

Q. What credentials and qualifications should I look for when selecting a plastic surgeon?

A. The surgeon should be Board Certified in Plastic Surgery. He or she should have good credentials and the surgery should be performed in a safe, accredited facility. You should understand how anesthesia is administered and who will be responsible for that. Word of mouth is also very important—don’t be afraid to ask for references.

Q.  Can you walk me through an example of an initial consultation with a patient seeking plastic surgery?

A. After being greeted by a receptionist, our patients fill out medical and personal consultation forms and are interviewed by a nurse. They describe the type of procedure or correction they’re interested in and photographs of the area in question will be taken. Patients are given literature about various surgical options. When I meet the patient, I take a detailed personal and family history and we discuss the various procedures they may be considering. We discuss the immediate and overall costs of the treatment and together we determine if the patient is a good candidate for surgery. It’s important to make sure patients are emotionally and medically stable, that their expectations are realistic, and that they’re having surgery for the right reasons. We will also discuss what to expect during the recovery phase after surgery.

Northern Westchester Surgical Services, P.C.
Plastic Surgeon,
Center for Plastic Surgery
Learn More About Dr. Palaia


​Northern Westchester Hospital is a proud member of Northwell Health (formerly North Shore-LIJ Health System).

David A. Palaia, MD, FACS