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Do we “Look like we feel” or “Feel like we look”? city, state

The interaction between our facial expressions and our emotions is much more complex than it may seem. In fact, a significant and growing body of research has shown that this relationship is actually a two-way street – that, just as our brain processes a thought and responds by activating a neural circuit to produce a smile, the intentional act of smiling can produce an internal emotional state of happiness or contentment. Now, I know that sounds complicated, so try it out. Go stand in front of a mirror and see for yourself… you see!? Isn’t that amazing! As silly or obvious as the old adage may seem, “put a smile on your face” actually works. And now we have the advanced brain imaging scans and some recordings of neuronal activity to prove it! (By the way, if you find these ideas compelling, you should check out a really interesting book by the neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, called Looking for Spinoza.)

There is an important but very real caveat, however, to the exciting discoveries in the field of neuroscience and emotion research. Imagine, for example, having a feeling of joy but not being able to show it… or hearing a funny story with friends, and not being able to laugh with them. The absence of an integral part of the feedback loop of facial expression, emotional state, and social interaction can be devastating. This is why reconstructive surgery for facial paralysis is one of the most meaningful things that I do.

Not all patients can smile – and I don’t mean that in the figurative sense, I mean literally the muscles of the face do not work. Facial paralysis, whether it be from Bell’s Palsy, stroke or traumatic brain injury, cancer or a congenital defect, has a tremendous impact on the quality of life of patients affected. I was recently reminded of this when I saw an elderly patient for a consultation. An elegant older woman, as a side effect of a life-saving radiation treatment, she has unfortunately lost all function of her facial musculature on one side. With tears in her eyes, she asked me if I could help her to “look like me again.” And though reconstructive techniques are far from perfect, improving the symmetry and function of a patient’s face can be a truly life-altering event.

To learn more about facial nerve injury and other neurological disorders, including Bell’s Palsy, please visit the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) website (

Our Patient Reviews

San Francisco Center for Facial Plastic, Reconstructive & Laser Surgery

5 / 5.0

Based on 23 reviews

Christina G.

I had several nasal/sinus issues including a severely deviated septum and a dorsal hump, which I wasn't crazy about. Dr Ransom did both the medical and aesthetic parts of my surgery and he did a wonderful job! While I did have some swelling, I didn't experience much bruising at all. I loved that he left the natural look of my nose just making small corrections. My breathing has GREATLY improved. His office staff was super helpful in scheduling and making sure payment and everything was very clear. I am very, very, very pleased with my results!!

Tk I.

I had a terrible surf accident in Bali and needed to get 50 stitches to repair what the reef did to my face. I had emergency cosmetic surgery in Bali the day of the accident. Immediately when i got back to the states i was introduced to Dr Ransom through some mutual friends. I was searching for the best cosmetic surgeon in San Francisco to help in my recovery. He and his team have been amazing! he helped establish a plan for my post-op wound care/treatment and administered some initial laser treatments. Dr Ransom and his team are extremely knowledgeable and very patient / helpful. I am very grateful for their help and support. I am finally looking normal again!

Joey B.

I had three issues with my nose - which inhibited my breathing: 1- broken nose, 2 - narrow nostrils that collapsed when I inhaled through my nose, 3 - deviated septum. When I was living in New York, I went to see a doctor about my breathing issues, and he said my skin was too thin and there was likely nothing he could do to rectify the problem. Dr. Ransom was recommended by an ENT I saw through One Medical. As soon as he saw him, he said he could easily fix my nose, and remove the bump that had formed from the trauma. His confidence and strong sense of self immediately put me at ease, and I had little doubt that he could accomplish exactly what he promised. He showed me a modified picture of my nose , and really liked what he proposed. The end result very closely matched what he promised. Not only can I now breath much more easily through my nose, it looks much better. He managed to make it look like an improved version of itself, however I still look like me, and unless I tell anyone I had it done, it's not overly noticeable, which I prefer. I'm pretty vain and very critical, and I can say that Dr. Ransom is great, and comes highly recommended.

Edward T.

Doctor Evan Ransom took my surgery on relatively short order and did a wonderful job. He is very talented and has a nice friendly professional support staff. I can not thank him enough, he was calm, caring, professional and interested in the follow results of his work . He seemed to bring a certain artistry to the profession.

Lisa C.

Dr. Ransom is a talented physician. He is knowledgeable, professional and goes the extra mile to make you feel comfortable during your treatments. He has been blessed with an artistic eye which brings wonderful results. I highly recommend Dr. Ransom and would refer all of my friends and family members to choose him as their physician.

Cheryl H.

Dr Ransom is very kind, honest, and conscience doctor. I was referred by my best friend, she is also Doctor Ransom patient. She has so much good things said about Doctor Ransom. So I had a face lift done by Doctor Ransom on July 2015. He did a wonderful job on my face and I have a lot of compliments on my face. So if anyone want to get their face done. I would highly recommended Doctor Ransom to you. I give Doctor Ransom a five stars.

Jill P.

I have currently been getting botox regularly with Dr. Ransom and he does a fantastic job. My previous doctor's office moved to another location where it was no longer convenient. I didn't realize what I was missing until I went to Dr. Ransom. I felt really comfortable, but most important he did a terrific job blowing my previous doctor out of the park. (Sometimes it's good switch it up a bit to make sure you are getting the best treatment.) On top of that, Dee the office manager is an incredible asset to the office. She personalizes your visit and relationship with the office to an extent I have never experienced before. I even get follow up calls to see how I am doing after a treatment. I highly recommend Dr. Ransom for his great work, and his team's impeccable customer service.

Arielle C.

Dr. Ransom and Dee are the BEST! Whether it's aesthetic or reconstructive, I'd trust him over and over again with my face.