New Year, New You

Evolution Body Transformation's Dr. Stacy Shropshire thought she looked great on the day she set out for a friend's fortieth birthday party. But when the event pictures started popping up in her Facebook feed, she was faced with a rude awakening.

"I looked just enormous," she says. "It was just a slap in the face."

It's an unfortunately common scenario for many, particularly around this time of year: parties and events bring many opportunities to feel "on display." But this is also the perfect time of year for resolutions and a fresh, new beginning…and that's exactly what Shropshire made on that day she saw those photos.

She began methodically researching nutrition and vitamin therapy, attending functional medicine and neurological seminars, and sifting through information on weight-related issues including chronic dizziness and hormonal fluctuations. She brought the hard-earned results of all that work to her own practice, rounding out her chiropractic services with customized weight-loss programming that incorporated diet, detoxification drops and wraps, and Laser Lipo treatments. Her personal results are her company's best testimonial: she's down seventy-five pounds and six pant sizes, and healthier than she's ever been.

"We're helping our patients change their lives into a pain-free, healthy, active lifestyle," she says.

For many area plastic surgeons, too, this is indeed the busiest time of year—and the professionals at Robertson Plastic Surgery are no exception.

"Between New Year's resolutions, people wanting to treat themselves post-holidays, and people wanting to look their best at all of the parties and events, this is a really popular time to get work done," says Dr. Kevin Robertson.

To provide guidance and a spectrum of solutions for 2014, he launched "Eyes on Robertson," a series of four packages designed to brighten up the eyes. The simple, no-downtime "Brighten" package is for younger clients just starting to see changes, and includes Latisse for elongating and darkening lashes, SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair Treatment to reduce fine lines and enhance skin texture, and then Botox for crow's feet. The "Tighten" package includes all of this plus Profractional laser treatments to tighten skin, the "Volumize" package tacks on fillers for the lower lid. At the far end of the spectrum the "Lift" package includes an upper eyelid blepharoplasty to lift tissue. 

"The eyes are the first thing we're drawn to as human beings," says Robertson. "Unfortunately it's also one of the earliest places we see signs of aging."

Of course, opting to undergo any surgical or non-surgical procedure mandates careful consideration of all the risks accompanying the rewards. Dr. Richard Parfitt of Parfitt Facial Cosmetic Surgery and AestheticA Skin Health Center cautions against getting swept up by some of the newest "latest and greatest" products and procedures.

"Many new technologies are way overpriced because there's a consistent group of consumers who believe the hype surrounding new products and pay whatever it costs," says Parfitt, "before its effectiveness—and therefore its value—is proven."

Parfitt says just because a product is offered in a doctor's office, don't assume it's worth the higher price tag.

"For instance if skin creams don't contain products like Retin-A—not retinol—or at least four percent hydroquinone," says Parfitt, "chances are you can get an equivalent product for less money at a department store."

He also advises checking to make sure practitioners are certified and trained by a medical board that certifies cosmetic specialties, and that the clinic offers both skin treatments and plastic surgery options.

"If a clinic is limited on what they can offer, they will tend to offer treatments that will fall far short of needs or expectations for many patients," he says.

Much like the eyes, our smiles can provide instant indicators of health and attitude. If yours doesn't quite match what you're feeling inside, this is an ideal time to brighten up.

"One of the simplest things to do is check around for whitening specials in the new year," says Dr. Scott Kirkpatrick of Door Creek Dental.

Rather than using at-home whitening strips, for instance, dentists and hygienists can provide custom-made trays that fit better and prevent over-application of bleaching gel, as well as light-assisted whitening for instant party or vacation-ready results. With Invisalign, cosmetic bonding, porcelain veneers and implants, the alignment, color, shape, size and texture of your teeth can be improved to create a sparkling smile.  Perhaps most importantly, the new year brings an opportunity to recommit to the health of your mouth. And this is important not only for your smile, but for the role your teeth and gums play in your overall health.

"Gum disease is a sneaky thing, a silent disease; I always compare it to diabetes because it rarely has pain associated with it," says Kirkpatrick, adding that chronic infection can spread to other organs and body systems. "Make a commitment to either get back to the dentist or take the recommendations for home care those dentists and hygienists have given you."

"The most common thing I hear after thirteen of years performing these procedures is, ‘I don't know why I didn't do this earlier,'" says Dr. Nicole Andersen of Artisan Dental. "It is still one of the best parts of my job, to see people happy and beaming after hiding a smile they were uncomfortable with for years."

At Artisan Dental, a new addition to downtown Madison and the East Washington corridor, Andersen and her team are committed to educating and empowering patients to make them collaborators in their long-term oral health investment. They offer a wide range of aesthetic procedures to cosmetically enhance teeth and gums, and it's the first practice in Wisconsin to offer Wavecare, a European-designed audiovisual technology with proven therapeutic results to aid in relaxation and healing.

"It can be something as minimal as smoothing edges and angles of irregularly shaped teeth, whitening the teeth's surface or contouring gum tissues, to replacing old fillings, pursuing orthodontics or adding veneers," says Andersen. "Our intent is to provide a simple, positive experience before, during and after your visit, and provide the opportunity to get a ‘new you' for the new year."•

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