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The Plastic Surgery Techniques That Are Elevating the Look of Boston’s Movers and Shakers–According to Their Favorite Surgeon

You may have noticed that our city’s standard-setters and tastemakers, the athletes, executives, and socialites that shape public life in Boston, often seem to “pop” in photos and Instagram reels with a certain something that most people don’t have, or that they seem to hold onto their youth a little longer than the average person–even when looking pretty is not, technically, the main function of their job. 

It’s not just a matter of diet, exercise, and genetics. Increasingly, our city’s movers and shakers are undergoing a certain set of advanced plastic surgery techniques that are making them look like a younger, more refined version of themselves.

“These techniques are why actors and actresses in Hollywood look so good on screen,” says Dr. Akshay Sanan, of the Boston Center for Plastic Surgery. “And now Boston’s celebrities and high-level executives are undergoing the same treatments.” Dr. Sanan should know. Having taken care of Hollywood celebrities and Los Angeles notables for years in Beverly Hills, he’s now introducing Boston’s elite to these same treatments that are setting new standards for plastic surgery in our city. 

And while Boston’s tastemakers have embraced these innovations–from deep plane surgery to Ultrasonic Piezo Rhinoplasty surgery–they are not the only ones who can benefit. We spoke to Dr. Sanan to get the inside scoop on which techniques are redefining what is possible in plastic surgery in Boston–and how you can make them work for you.  

Lifting the Deep Plane of the Face

The advanced techniques that form the new gold standard for plastic surgery, according to Dr. Sanan, are built around the patient, their body and their lifestyle. The surgeries are more discreet and require less downtime, meant to fit neatly into an always-on approach to life. But they also offer more natural, elegant, and bespoke results–perfect for celebrities and dealmakers who built their career on their face, and want to bring out or preserve its best qualities, rather than overwrite them. 

That ethos is best represented by the growing popularity of deep plane facelifts, a technique in which the musculature of the face is vertically lifted along with the skin. Previously, surgeons performing a facelift focused on adjusting the face’s superficial layers.   

“Traditionally, you lifted the skin up, pulled the skin back as tight as possible, and you called it a day,” Dr. Sanan explains. Because the skin was stretched over deeper layers that largely remained the same, the skin was put under a lot of tension, and some of patients’ natural facial characteristics could get obscured or lost.

“As a result, people had bad scarring, and they looked like they were windswept. It gave plastic surgery a bad rep,” Dr. Sanan says. 

That is why deep plane facelifts are being embraced by those who don’t want to look like they got a facelift, but instead want to look like a younger version of themselves. Facial aging is driven by many factors: drooping skin and muscle and loss of volume. Deep plane facelifts lift both skin and musculature upward together, so that the different aspects of your face remain in balance with each other.

“The end result looks really great, but people cannot figure out what was done. People just think you look pretty,” Dr. Sanan says. “We have essentially set the clock back ten years.” 

Refining the Full Face and Neck

It’s important to note that, even though these techniques are in demand, it can still be difficult on the East Coast to find someone who provides them, as they require specific training and an extensive knowledge of facial anatomy. Dr. Sanan is one of the few who performs these techniques in Massachusetts, in part because of his unique background. Dr. Sanan entered the Boston University School of Medicine out of high school, then did his residency in head and neck surgery at Jefferson Health in Philadelphia. There, he gained a deep understanding of how all the layers of the face and neck work together.

“I know the face like the back of my hand, the arteries, the veins and nerves and muscles,” he says–a knowledge that is critical not just for aesthetic results, but also for maintaining the patient’s safety and function during advanced procedures. Combined with his training in facial plastic surgery at Stanford University and his previous practice in Beverly Hills, he’s now able to bring these techniques, which are staples in Los Angeles, to New England as a double board certified facial plastic surgeon.

It is transformative for Boston because the development of the deep plane approach has been a watershed moment in plastic surgery, and it’s led to multiple different applications. For one, deep plane neck lifts can be performed independently of facelifts for younger patients who have struggled with excess fat under the chin.

“Deep plane neck lifts work well for someone who is in their 20s or 30s and has a double chin, even though they work out all the time and they eat cleanly,” Dr. Sanan says. “Likely that muscle, genetically, is loose, or they have fat in the deep plane of their neck. More often than not, superficial neck liposuction alone will not solve their problem.”

Because the different aspects of their face are being shifted in sync, patients heal from deep plane procedures more quickly. And since the deep plane neck lift can treat the root causes of double chins, patients can have them removed, permanently, in a fairly quick procedure with easy recovery

That same mindset is driving the popularity of deep plane lip lifts out on the West Coast, where they are starting to replace lip filler–though Dr. Sanan says most Bostonians are still unfamiliar with the procedure.

“I am seeing more patients who have gotten lip filler for years and they hate that lip filler over time makes a lip look heavy or baggy,” Dr. Sanan says. “Or they might have a long and thin upper lip.” Deep plane lip lifts pull the upper lip upwards–lifting it away from the teeth and creating a more full look. For the right patient, it’s a quick procedure that produces better results than filler, all while being more natural and permanent.

Stepping Up the Technology

For patients in the public eye like the ones Dr. Sanan treats, that combination–natural and transformative results with easy recovery–is critical. But plastic surgery’s new focus on those kinds of results are also making these techniques more realistic or attainable for people in general. Even traditionally intensive procedures are becoming an easier decision for patients when they benefit from the right advanced technique. 

Rhinoplasty in particular has taken a major leap forward in this regard, thanks to the Ultrasonic Piezo Rhinoplasty technique that Dr. Sanan has brought to Boston. “No one else in Massachusetts is doing my rhinoplasty technique, using a machine called an Ultrasonic Piezo,” Sanan says.

A traditional rhinoplasty uses a hammer and chisel to take off bumps and narrow or shape a nose, which is traumatic, causing a lot of bruising, swelling, and black and blue eyes, and the recovery can be many weeks. Instead, the Ultrasonic Piezo machine, once used by dentists, vibrates at an extremely high frequency, which allows Dr. Sanan to sculpt the bone smoothly. 

With Ultrasonic Piezo, the results are just as effective as a traditional rhinoplasty, but the bruising and swelling only lasts a few days, and there’s no need for narcotics—over-the-counter painkillers can do the job. “To me, it’s a no-brainer, if the patient is the appropriate candidate for this advanced ultrasonic rhinoplasty technique, to do it on them,” Sanan says.

Making Plastic Surgery Work for the Patient

And that is characteristic of many of the techniques that Dr. Sanan sees Bostonians embracing–the innovation makes the surgery better fit a person’s lifestyle, while still giving them great results. But even when considering more traditional surgery, what sets modern, high-end plastic surgery apart is its bespoke approach. It’s the fact that the surgeon builds around the patient’s body and goals, rather than trying to tell them what they should do. 

“I think it is important that you feel that the surgeon you are talking to listens to your concerns and is not just telling you, ‘Hey, you need XYZ,’” says Dr. Sanan, who has been elected twice into the Gold Humanism Honor Society for his compassionate care.

Dr. Sanan’s vision for patients is for them to look in the mirror years after their procedure and be happy with the level of scrutiny and care taken in the enhancement of their face. For him, this requires creating a trusting relationship with patients by making sure their needs and priorities are heard, and they get the chance to see before-and-after photos for similar patients he’s worked with, so they know exactly what they’re getting. This understanding and open communication builds trust before, during, and after surgery, so that patients have a smooth and positive experience.

“I tell my patients, when I perform surgery on you, it is like marrying into a family — we are going to be together for a long time,” he says. “I see you, I listen to your concerns. When patients feel that connection, they feel heard, they feel educated, and they feel empowered.”

As a result of the rapport and respect that Dr. Sanan creates with his clientele, patients from all over Massachusetts and across the country benefit from his techniques, many of them referred by friends and family after successful procedures. That passion makes clear that plastic surgery isn’t about one single technique–it’s about developing a treatment plan that can give patients a new lease on life. 

“There’s no medicine in this world that can give somebody that transformative level of newfound confidence,” Dr. Sanan says. “That’s the beauty of the work that I get to do—you can really help people’s self-image and how they approach life in this world.”

If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sanan, visit bostoncenterforplasticsurgery.com or call 617-564-0887.