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April 8, 2009 > Your Aging Face: Improving Form and Function

Your Aging Face: Improving Form and Function

Specialist Talks About Seeing, Breathing and Feeling Better

If our eyes are considered the windows to the soul, then our skin and facial structures might be mirrors to our physical age.

The aging process creeps up on us, slowly affecting both our aesthetic appearance and our bodies' overall function. The effects of gravity and time ultimately tug and realign skin and other structures.

On Tuesday, April 14, the Washington Women's Center will host Dr. Sehjin Han, a Washington Hospital Medical Staff physician specializing in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, for a Lunch and Learn session entitled "Your Aging Face."
"The talk is going to encompass the aging of the face, skin, soft tissue and drooping, which can affect a woman's overall feeling of self confidence," Dr. Han says.

More than just aesthetics

Dr. Han says aesthetics are only one piece of the puzzle, and that many women don't realize that the aging process and how it changes the skin and bony structures can also lead to limited vision and breathing problems.

"I will explain how the drooping of your eyelids can affect your vision," Dr. Han says. "The problem occurs as the skin around the eyes and brow begins to sag, limiting your peripheral vision. Aging also affects the nose as gravity takes hold, and it can lead to problems with your nasal function and breathing.

"To address these issues, I'll go over the aging process and how the skin and soft tissue of the face, as well as the bony architecture, are affected. Then I'll discuss particular techniques, such as eyelid surgery, facelift and nasal surgery and how they function to improve vision and breathing."

As the population lives longer, Dr. Han says it's more important than ever for women to feel good both physically and emotionally.

"The biggest issue outside of building confidence for daily activities is patients not being able to see fully and straining their eyes because sagging skin is getting in the way of the visual field," Dr. Han notes. "And, as a result, people may think you're tired all the time. This is something that can be taken care of to help improve your sight so you can experience life comfortably. Once you get visual field testing from an eye specialist to check for impairment many times insurance will pay for eyelid surgery to improve vision."

Similarly, as we age, the nose is also affected. Cartilage in the nasal structures tends to get more brittle and the nose tends to shift internally and externally with age, making issues more pronounced. Most people are unaware that they could improve their quality of breathing through procedures such as rhinoplasty, commonly known as nose surgery, according to Dr. Han.

Improving appearance and function

"While insurance may not pay for an aesthetic procedure like a facelift, I think overall comfort with your appearance is an important thing to address as people are living longer," she says. "Why not feel on the outside the way you do on the inside?"

Dr. Han says she was drawn to the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery because of her love of art, and she says her specialty gives her the opportunity to use her creativity as a means of helping her patients feel and look their best.
"My background is in art," she explains. "I studied studio art and biology at the University of Chicago, and I've always wanted to do surgery. Facial and plastic surgery allows me to use my imagination and creativity to solve unique problems by incorporating my art within medicine."

Anyone who feels that facial drooping has compromised his or her vision can benefit from learning more about eyelid surgery, Dr. Han says.

"Overall health is the most important thing to determining surgical candidacy," she advises. "But I think it's important to know that your eyelids can really actually affect your vision and there are procedures to improve it."

Love your face

Dr. Han will share her expertise during her presentation, "Your Aging Face," a free Lunch and Learn health education class, which will take place from 12 to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14, at the Washington Women's Center Conference Room, located at 2500 Mowry Avenue, Suite 145 in Fremont.

To reserve your space, call (800) 963-7070.

To learn more about programs and classes at the Washington Women's Center, visit, choose "Services & Programs" and select "Women's Health" from the drop-down menu.

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