Judi Marden, the new director of communications for the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, doesn't think that Retin-A, a prescription drug for acne that recently was reported to reverse wrinkles and other signs of aging skin, is going to change the face of the plastic surgery industry.
"To be real honest, it's not going to affect us that much," Marden said.
"Retin-A and other drugs have been in existence for years now. While it does help superficially, it doesn't prevent aging skin."
According to Marden, people still will need plastic surgeons to do face-lifts because of a number of other factors -- including loss of skin elasticity, loss of moisture, and deepening wrinkles -- that contribute to an old and tired looking face.
Marden, 40, is the first director of communications for the academy, which has 3,000 members.
The AAFPRS was founded in 1964 and is the world's largest organization of surgeons who specialize in facial plastic surgery.
The group consists solely of those who perform surgery on the face, head and neck, as opposed to general plastic surgeons who operate on all parts of the body. Over the past three years, membership in the academy has increased 50 percent, reflecting the growth of specialized plastic surgery.
In her new position, Marden hopes to increase media and public awareness about the options available in facial plastic surgery.
For example, she said, it still is a popular belief that plastic surgery is for the affluent, but a 1986 study conducted by the academy found that nearly half of all facial plastic surgery patients earned less than $25,000 per year.
Another recent study found that most candidates for plastic surgery were not older people seeking the "fountain of youth." Instead, the findings showed that 53 percent of all patients who had plastic surgery were under 39 years old.
According to the academy, the most commonly performed procedures by facial plastic surgeons include nasal surgery, face-lifts, chin augmentation, eyelid lifts and ear repositioning.
In 1986, an estimated 900,000 people had facial and reconstructive surgery.
Marden also plans to combat what she called "an aggressive campaign" on the part of general plastic surgeons. "A lot of the lay public doesn't know about board certification for facial plastic surgeons," she said.
Members of the academy must be certified by a board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
"We represent a group that works on one region of the body. They spend a total of six years studying, two years in general surgery on the head and neck followed by four years on all aspects of the head, the muscles and the bones," Marden said.
Prior to coming to AAFPRS, Marden worked as associate director of communications for the Chemical Specialties Manufacturers Association.