After 17 years as an academic plastic surgeon, Dr. Julia Spears was ready for a change. Eager to practice closer to home, she also sought the ability to foster meaningful relationships with her clients to better understand their individual needs and desires.
In November 2018, Dr. Spears—one of the area’s few female plastic surgeons—opened Metropolitan Plastic Surgery and Medispa in Marlton. It was founded on the principle of delivering high-quality, personalized services in an inviting, state-of-the-art facility where the team knows every patient by name.
“I wanted to have a practice where I’d get to know each of my patients and be individualistic in my approach,” Dr. Spears explains. “In academics, you end up with this huge amount of patients. It was just too difficult to get to know any of them.”
While Dr. Spears loves working in the community she calls home, the advent of COVID did present some operational complications. Eventually, those issues were resolved when “we started doing a lot of Zoom appointments rather than meeting in-person,” she says.
Being able to virtually link up with patients through telehealth visits allowed the practice to continue providing high-quality and compassionate care, but it also helped contribute to “the Zoom effect.” With so many folks connecting with family, friends and coworkers through online platforms, putting your best face forward became imperative. As a means of improving their looks, a new wave of people began to consider fillers, injectables, plastic surgery and other treatments designed to help them age gracefully.
“People are looking for improvements, especially under the chin, the eyelids and with the use of Botox facial fillers,” she says.
While the pandemic put a spotlight on our overall health and wellness, and led many to consider aesthetic treatments for the first time, the tide had begun to turn long before COVID-19. Dr. Spears notes that it’s a result of the rise of celebrity influencers who have helped make plastic surgery and other restorative procedures less taboo in recent years.
“Social media has definitely skyrocketed plastic surgery to the forefront,” she says. “I really think people are much more open to it than they used to be—the younger generation, for sure, but the older generation is starting to see that it’s OK to do it, too.”
And while some of those famous faces who champion plastic surgery might take it to an extreme, Dr. Spears says her main objective is to make clients look younger and refreshed without overdoing things. As a result of this commitment to care, she has turned away certain clients who request unnatural or unsafe procedures.
“I don’t want to be the plastic surgeon whose patients you see across the room and you say, ‘Oh my God, they overdid it,’” she says.
Among those procedures yielding a natural look these days is the fairly new development of fat transfer. The process relocates unwanted fat from one part of the body—usually the belly, thighs or love handles—to the face or breasts to add volume and fullness.
The popular Up a Cup breast augmentation is one procedure utilizing the fat-transfer concept. Not only do Dr. Spears’ clients love the results, but it also boasts a reduced healing time since the body’s own fat is being used. That means it can be done as an outpatient procedure.
Dr. Spears also touts the popularity of breast reductions and lifts in general. They remain among the most popular—and life-changing—surgical procedures among younger female patients.
“It makes a huge difference lifestyle-wise for women who have heavy breasts that are too large. A reduction means patients can exercise better, wear normal clothes, wear normal bras and not experience pain,” she says. “Some women wear two bras to sleep or three bras to exercise because it’s so painful and uncomfortable.”
The Metropolitan Plastic Surgery team is also well-versed in delivering treatment to the entire body. Among those procedures are the work they do with weight-loss patients who find that their skin doesn’t have the elasticity it once did.
“A lot of the bariatric patients do wonderfully with weight loss—except for the skin,” observes Dr. Spears. “Unfortunately, if you lose 100 or 200 pounds, or even 60 pounds, sometimes you end up with extra skin. … After about 30, your skin doesn’t retract the way it used to. But it can all be addressed with plastic surgery.”
And even though aesthetic work was once thought of as the exclusive domain of women, Dr. Spears has seen a considerable increase in male patients.
“Men are now interested in it, as well. They’re particularly focusing on their stomachs, extra neck skin, getting rid of the ‘man boobs’ or any wobbly parts, or getting ‘Brotox,’” she says.
It goes to show that plastic surgery is accessible to anyone who wants to look in the mirror and be happy with what they see at any age—within reason, of course.
“You can’t go and pick out whatever nose you want, so it’s important to manage patient expectations about what can be done,” notes Dr. Spears. “But there are so many ways you can get your body back to looking the way you want it to and feeling good about yourself again.”
Metropolitan Plastic Surgery and Medispa
127 Church Road, Suite 100 | Marlton