The change in self-awareness

“Perception drift” or the phenomenon of the new “zero line” – the danger of losing your natural view of yourself.

Many of us know the feeling of not being one hundred percent satisfied with ourselves. Be it a kilo or two too much on the scales, a few wrinkles on the face, but also simply the feeling of not looking as fresh as it was a few years ago.

Or maybe it’s something that has bothered you for a long time, such as a breast that is too big or too small, a bump on your nose, too thin or unattractive lips, or just a disproportionate distribution of the cushions on your own Body. Society has given us ideals of beauty for centuries.

For example, in the 1920s, after the First World War, it was the so-called “flappers”, thin, boyish women with flattened breasts and short haircuts, who were considered the absolute ideal of beauty.

In the 30s to 50s it was the so-called “hourglass” figure with large breasts and a soft, large bottom that made men’s hearts beat faster, Marylin Monroe and Doris Day showed were prime examples – the kilos got a new meaning.
After that, the most diverse ideals of beauty alternated every few years.
From sporty and sexy, to boyishly skinny, to chubby and feminine, the most varied of ideals shaped our society and above all the ideal image of women.

But what connects all eras is a fact that has remained to this day, namely that every woman simply wants to be beautiful for herself.
Every woman wants to see herself in the mirror and be able to say about herself: I am beautiful.

Feeling the magic of your own beauty and being content with yourself depends on several circumstances. On the one hand there are the years that your precious body carries through life, on the other hand changes that a woman goes through in the course of her life. The environment, living conditions, nutrition, care and much more play a very important role. Nowadays we have many possibilities to give nature and our own beauty a little push so that it helps us to regain a freshness and naturalness that may have been lost. And this is exactly where a balancing act begins, a journey that a patient will take with their doctor. From the moment the patient visits him with his concern, a doctor is responsible for showing the patient ways in which he can support the patient and regain their natural freshness and beauty, but also an important advisor for the patient in order to help them in good time and say “Stop” if a procedure is not possible. Patients come to a doctor with their problem and concern in the hope that they will go home feeling better and feeling more confident. But it’s not that easy. The challenge for every plastic surgeon is to live up to the wishes and hopes of the patient, but not to leave the realm of the naturally beautiful and, above all, the feasible.

My wife Dr. Katrin Bartsch and I have made this our goal after thousands of treatments and operations and we would like to have happy and naturally beautiful patients who trust us and are always happy to come to us because they feel well advised and in good hands here. But what is the phenomenon of the “new zero line”, the PERCEPTION DRIFT?

Take a woman in her 40s as an example.
She comes to a trusted doctor and shows him a photo when she was 20. She’d like to look like that again. It is now up to the treating doctor to explain to his patient that no doctor in the world can make people 20 years younger. The body changes, the skin, the tissue, the expression.

Life shapes people in these years and as a doctor you should never promise that you could turn back all these years to look like you did 20 years ago. You have to explain to the patient that a doctor has many, but only limited options and that he does not treat beyond natural limits just because a patient so wishes. The so-called PERCEPTION DRIFT happens slowly.

A patient comes and wants a treatment, for example with botox and fillers. The doctor places the fillers where they have a rejuvenating and refreshing effect and also injects the botox in the right places to make the skin look fresher. It often happens that the patient comes back after a few weeks and says it looks great, maybe you could still inject something in one place or another. Sometimes that happens when I, as a doctor, find it useful.

But basically people get used to the new appearance. After a few weeks, the patient thinks that she really looks a lot better and that if she receives more treatments that it will make her a lot happier. The brain has reached the new “zero line”. The eye gets used to the new, fresher and more beautiful appearance and the patient now wants to look even fresher and more beautiful. However, it is now the doctor’s responsibility to say “STOP”. Patients come with photos that are a few weeks old and think that the injections have already subsided. However, as a doctor, you should then show them the photo when they have not yet had any treatments.

But when does “enough is enough” apply?

It is enough if the doctor himself can see a better appearance of the skin and a fresher appearance, but especially if he sees that the patient is happy and satisfied.

Many doctors exceed these limits because they can earn a lot of money with it, only then does what is called PERCEPTION DRIFT happen. Patients look over-treated and “oversprayed”. The face no longer has natural proportions and this is not only noticed by the doctor, but also by all other people in everyday life as well as in the patient’s job. The new “zero line” is always set higher because the patient loses her natural view of herself.

As a doctor, I see myself as a “guardian” for my patients, I want to know their personality and protect them from crossing this zero line. We have made it our primary goal in our ordination to fulfill the wishes of the patients as well as possible, so that the patients are happy and satisfied after the treatments.

Our goal is to preserve the natural beauty and the inner, fresh magic, to revive it and to tell the patients again and again that they are most beautiful when they look fresher than before but still look after the treatments like her self.

Testimonial of a patient

I came to Dr. Bartsch to the ordination because my deep wrinkles bothered me and because my upper lip was too thin. Pregnancy, a bad breakup and life as a single parent added the rest.
Dr. Bartsch suggested some treatments to me, which were then also supported with botox and fillers. I came to him with the aim of simply looking fresher again and reducing wrinkles.

But what happened next I could hardly believe myself. The skin treatments, fillers and botox made my skin look like it did 10 years ago, it was rosy, I had volume on my face again, my wrinkles disappeared 90 percent and I was just happy. But after about 5 weeks I was back in the ordination because I was convinced that everything would slowly disappear again. I had the feeling that the freshness and fullness were there, but that you could still inject a little more here and there. In some places, Dr. Bartsch followed up something and said it would be ok for him because it was still in the realm of the natural.

I was very pleased. But if it hadn’t happened to me, I wouldn’t believe it now. After about 3 weeks I was back in the ordination and asked if he could inject a little more here and there. That was when Dr. Bartsch sat down and said: You are beautiful. Look, I’ll show you the photo when you came to us before all treatments.

He opened the photo on the screen and held a mirror in front of my face. At that moment I realized what had happened. I had forgotten how I looked six months ago, how happy I was now and what wonderful things happened to my skin. In fact, I was a little embarrassed, but I was Dr. Bartsch just infinitely grateful. Thankful for saying STOP, for telling me, “You are beautiful as you are now”.

I also found myself beautiful, but as it was already described in the report, I had an inner urge to make the beautiful EVEN more beautiful. But only through the honesty of Dr. Bartsch, I was saved from turning into a “botox face”, as we know it from Hollywood.

I should be grateful to Bartsch for a lifetime for making me so happy and for giving me such good advice, but above all for knowing that I will always be in good hands with him and not to lose my natural beauty through the treatments.