As he gets ready to leave Dr. Bethany Cataldi’s office in Highland following his postoperative visit, a patient takes a moment and thanks Dr. Cataldi. “I haven’t been able to sleep this well since I was a kid, and my wife loves that I don’t keep her up every night since I’ve stopped snoring. Thank you Dr. Cataldi.” he says. “You’re very welcome,” replies Dr. Cataldi, “I’ll see you at your next follow-up. I’m pleased that you’re feeling so much better.” The patient leaves Dr. Cataldi’s office with not only his improved health but also with an improved sense of well-being and vigor.
It’s mid-morning and Dr. Cataldi has just completed a follow-up visit with one of her patients for whom she has recently performed a mini facelift. The patient is visibly glowing about the results of her procedure: “I feel great. Not only do I look years younger, but I feel younger too. I have to admit that I was scared at first about getting a facelift, but you know what Dr. Cataldi? You really made me feel at ease before and after surgery, and you really listened to my requests that I look as natural as possible. Thank you—I’m so happy.” “You’re welcome. I’ll see you again at your follow-up,” replies the doctor. The patient leaves Dr. Cataldi’s office with not only with an elevated appearance but also with an elevated spirit and self-confidence.
These are the stories of only two of the many thousands of patients that Dr. Bethany Cataldi has successfully treated in Northwest Indiana. An Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose, Throat Surgery) and Facial Plastic surgeon, Dr. Cataldi established Center for Otolaryngology and Facial Plastic Surgery, L.L.C. to diagnose and treat patients in the Northwest Indiana area. Consequently, being a respected surgeon in the area has provided Dr. Cataldi with a uniquely professional perspective on certain medical issues facing our region, and we asked her to share her insights.
Q: As an Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon, is there a singular medical issue you’ve seen so far this year that you feel Northwest Indiana should be aware of?
A: I haven’t seen any one specific ear, nose & throat illness or condition that has been unusual in frequency so far this year. However, two alarming trends that I have seen in my practice so far this year are: (1) Patients who have waited too long to seek medical treatment for disorders of the ears, nose, and throat; and (2) Patients whose medical problems are a direct result of smoking or second-hand smoke.
When an individual doesn’t “feel quite right”, it’s important that they see a physician. This year in particular, I’ve witnessed an increase in the number of patients with serious disorders of the ears, nose, or throat who have waited to see me or another physician, and in doing so have put themselves further at risk by delaying necessary diagnosis and treatment. It is critical that individuals with persistent coughing and/or hoarseness in their throat, or are experiencing sinus pain or having difficulty breathing or sleeping should consider being evaluated by an otolaryngologist as soon as possible. Unfortunately, patients who chose to wait in getting treatment frequently require more serious and oftentimes more invasive surgical procedures that might have been prevented had they been diagnosed and treated sooner. I advise my patients that prevention is a cornerstone to healthy living and that prevention includes seeing the proper ear, nose, and throat specialist at the first sign of trouble.
This year, I have also seen an alarming increase in the incidences of sinus diseases and of vocal cord and throat cancers that are highly attributable to patients being smokers. The adverse effects of smoking on the sinuses, vocal cords, and respiratory system are continually demonstrated in study after study, year after year. I’m currently treating a patient with throat cancer who is a professional singer. Until I diagnosed and began treating her this year, she was a “casual” smoker for fifteen years. She’s now facing the prospect of a career-ending illness. It’s absolutely devastating. Northwest Indiana has got to kick the smoking habit, and there are certainly medical options available to help people quit.
Q: What developments or trends are you seeing with Facial Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Rejuvenation in Northwestern Indiana?
A: There’s no question that cosmetic surgery and rejuvenation procedures are now common elements of the American cultural lexicon as demonstrated by the many celebrities and members of the general public who undergo them. There’s been a growing trend in Northwest Indiana for patients requesting a minimally invasive mini-face lift that will make them “look years younger in just a weekend.”
The procedure has many different names used for marketing purposes such as “lunchtime lift,” “weekend lift” and “lifestyle lift”. All of these names are essentially describing the same procedure—a minimally invasive face-lift whereby the superficial outer layer of skin is lifted, trimmed, and tightened by way of an incision around and behind the ear. However, it’s important that prospective patients understand that because this procedure involves an incision, that stitches are required and are typically in place for seven to ten days to ensure optimal results, and it may take longer than a weekend for complete healing. I’ve been performing this procedure for many years, and I’m still amazed by the years that a mini-lift can take away.
While the recovery time is rather minimal following the procedure and the results can be breathtaking, a patient needs to be made aware that it is often not possible to remove an exact number of years from one’s appearance over a weekend and that such a request isn’t always reasonably achievable. Every individual has a particularly distinct set of facial skeletal and muscular features that must be considered in assessing the achievable results of any cosmetic procedure, and it’s imperative for a patient to understand that any cosmetic procedure needs to be carefully considered with his/her surgeon to ensure ideally natural-looking results.
It’s also important that a prospective cosmetic patient find a surgeon who is willing to say “No.” Candidates for facial cosmetic procedures should understand that there might be any number of issues they face that might not necessarily be best resolved through the medical procedures a surgeon can provide. For example, I’ve often had patients who have insisted that they want a facelift when I believe that they could go many years without surgery. In addition, there are patients whose medical histories preclude them from invasive procedures. Consequently, I might recommend a viable non-surgical option such as an injectable filler or facial resurfacing via a laser or chemical peel.
Ultimately, The impact of cosmetic surgery and cosmetic enhancements on a patient can be truly life changing. Overall, it helps improve a patient’s self-confidence and self esteem and gives one a better quality of life. Sometimes it may take a prospective patient a long time to come in to see a physician for something that is not necessarily medically required, so I try to put all of my patients at ease. My goal is to help them meet their expectations by improving their self-image that, in turn, can be a catalyst to improving other areas of their lives. Quite simply, when one looks better, they feel better about themselves.
Q: The healthcare and cosmetic surgery industry has expanded and continues to grow in the Northwest Indiana corridor, how has your practice advanced with such growth? What is it attributable to?
A: I’ve recently relocated my main office to a much larger and more comfortable suite in Highland, Indiana. My new office is nearly twice as large as my old space to provide my patients with an overall more comfortable and relaxing experience. In fact, the new office has an exclusive Facial Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Rejuvenation Suite with many first-class amenities and more available options for laser skin resurfacing. In addition, due to patient requests, I’ve also added two new satellite offices in Munster and Merrillville.
My practice has been able to sustain and grow in great part due to the wonderful support of my patients and the generous support of my referring physicians. I’m grateful that existing patients will refer friends or family who have ear, nose, throat or cosmetic surgery needs to me. For individuals to direct other people they know to my office with their confidence that I will provide exceptional care for their patient, family member, or friend is very moving. It motivates me to strive to do my best at every opportunity to care for a patient.