Preparing for Your Plastic Surgery Appointment

For many people that walk through our door, it is the very first time they are seeing a plastic surgeon. A bit of nervousness is common. Louis Pasteur said, “Fortune favors the prepared mind,” and we believe that is true. The time you spend preparing for your first appointment will help calm the butterflies while it will also help ensure you get the very most out of your visit.

Hone in on your goals

The path that leads us toward plastic surgery is different for everyone. It can start with a vague notion of wanting to look and feel better, or a clear objective to change a specific aspect of your body. Either way, it is important to match what you have in your head with the reality of what plastic surgery can or cannot do.

We have found that the people who are the most satisfied with their surgical outcomes have very specific goals in mind: something like reducing their breast size by two cup sizes, instead of something like make me more beautiful. The goals should also be realistic. No matter how much surgery you have, you will probably never be able to look like your favorite celebrity.

A good place to start is by looking at some before and after photos of people who have had procedures done on the part of the body you are thinking about changing. Feel free to bring notes and pictures that show what you mean so that you and your surgeon can be sure that you are on the same page.

Consider your timeline

Does the change you want to make have something to do with an event coming up? Say, a wedding, a job interview, or a Hawaiian vacation? Knowing your timeline is important because different procedures have different recovery times. Unfortunately there is no way to force nature to hurry along when it comes to healing. Pain, swelling, and not being able to get incisions wet can all dampen a good time. If you have less than a month until a special event, you are better off considering a non-surgical procedure like botox, fillers, or skin resurfacing. Save that tummy tuck for when you will have the time to fully recover.

Take a health inventory

To get the very best results possible you should be in the best health you can be. This means eating well, exercising, and not smoking. You will also need to limit your intake of alcoholic beverages before and after any procedure. Make sure to get a handle on any bad habits before considering surgery. Certain medical conditions, like diabetes, which can impair healing, may also impact results, so work with your primary care doctor or any other specialists to get these under control.

Know your surgeon

Just because someone offers to perform a procedure, doesn’t mean you should let them do it. To start with, look at their credentials. They should have an MD after their name and be board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). They should have hospital privileges in your area, even if they will be performing an in-office procedure. It is also a good idea to find out if they have a professional membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Here are some good tips for choosing a plastic surgeon.

Nail down logistics

Nothing will put a kink in your plans like getting lost on the way to your appointment. Make sure you have considered even the simplest of logistics, like where the office is and how you are going to get there. You will also have some forms to fill out when you arrive so have your ID and insurance card handy. Bring the contact information for your primary care provider, pharmacy, and any important specialists you see. A list of current medications and health history will also be a big help to your surgeon.

If you have any concerns or questions about what you will need for your first plastic surgery appointment with us, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We look forward to partnering with you as you take that first step toward the change you are looking for.

After Tummy Tuck with Muscle Repair

Not all tummy tucks are alike. Some involve more extensive surgery than others, and for this reason, what to expect during recovery can vary from person to person. The aim of the tummy tuck is to slim and tighten the waist for a more shapely and youthful appearance, but the surgical route to get you there (and into some cute new clothes) can vary quite a bit.

Depending on the amount of excess skin and fat to be removed, incisions can be shorter or more extensive, including the repositioning of the belly button. But one of the biggest factors to impact recovery from a tummy tuck, also called an abdominoplasty, is whether or not a muscle repair is included.

Why the muscle sometimes needs a repair

If you have seen the abs on even one superhero you will know the muscle we are talking about. It is called the rectus abdominis and it runs vertically from your sternum to your pubic bone. It has a left and right side separated down the middle by a band of tissue called the linea alba.

The linea alba can become over stretched, usually during pregnancy but also due to extreme weight gain or a lifting injury. When this happens the two sides of the muscle move further apart, resulting in an outward bulging of the belly that doesn’t go away, even when weight (baby or otherwise) is gone. This condition is called diastasis recti.

Besides being a cosmetic issue for some people, this condition can affect posture and trunk strength. It can cause pain in the abdomen, hips, and back, as well as bowel and bladder issues, all of which can have a huge impact on quality of life.

Why the muscle sometimes doesn’t need a repair

Not all tummy tucks include a muscle repair because not all bellies that can benefit from a tummy tuck have a diastasis recti. Even when the linea alba is stretched out, it can sometimes return to its normal size on its own. Furthermore, if a woman has had a cesarean section, a repair will likely have already been completed at that time.

How the muscle is repaired

Diastasis recti can be corrected by a general surgeon, but plastic surgeons routinely do this as part of their tummy tuck procedure. The surgery involves folding over the stretched tissue of the linea alba and suturing the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle together. Though you can’t see it from the outside of the body, this involves suturing up and down the whole length of the abdomen.

Why a muscle repair impacts tummy tuck recovery

The difference in recovery between a tummy tuck with muscle repair versus one without has to do with the fact that muscles contract. Unlike the skin and fatty tissue that cover the abdomen, the muscles underneath (and the rectus abdominis is a big one) are prime movers and stabilizers of the whole trunk. This means that they contract nearly any time you move your body. Even simple movements like lifting your arms when sitting upright or rolling over in bed can engage these muscles — and then there’s coughing and sneezing.

When the muscle is repaired it needs time to rest so that it can heal up. Over exerting yourself too early can compromise your results and will certainly be painful.

How a muscle repair impacts recovery

When a muscle repair is included with your tummy tuck, you will be required to be more careful and your recovery will take a bit longer — from three to four weeks longer.

Symptoms
After a muscle repair patients often experience feeling more full quickly when eating and the sensation of not being able to take as deep a breath as they used to. This is due to a decrease in the amount of room inside the abdominal cavity caused by tightening the muscles. The stomach has less room to expand and the diaphragm meets more resistance as it moves down to allow you to take a breath. Both of these issues, if they occur, typically resolve within four to six weeks.

Abdominal Binder
Shortly after surgery you will be given an abdominal binder to help support the repaired muscle and to reduce overall swelling. You will be given instructions on how to put it on and will be told to wear it regularly. You will probably need help putting it on and taking it off in the first few days.

Lifting restrictions
After surgery, your doctor will restrict you to lifting no more than about 10-15 pounds. You will be prohibited from lifting anything heavier for a full six to eight weeks after surgery. You will also not be allowed to do any core strengthening exercises, such as sit-ups, to avoid stressing and potentially tearing the repair.

Posture
It is typical of all patients after a tummy tuck to have slightly hunched over posture. This is normal and it is important not to force an upright position and put undue strain while your incision heals. This becomes even more important after a muscle repair. You may even be given a walker to get around the first week after surgery.

You still have to get out of bed
Even with a muscle repair, your surgeon will require that you begin moving about within a day of your surgery. This includes getting up to go to the bathroom and with some restrictions, taking a shower. This is important for your overall health and healing and the prevention of blood clots. Many patients opt to sleep in a recliner to make these movements easier. Have someone at home to help you, especially during the first couple of weeks.

Though the muscle repair does add some challenges to your recovery, the long term benefits can far outweigh them. A study published last fall (2019), showed postpartum women who underwent a rectus abdominis repair had significant improvements in trunk function, urinary incontinence, and overall quality of life.

If you are considering a tummy tuck and want to know more about muscle repair, Dr. Slack would be pleased to offer a consultation in his office near McKinney, TX. Please contact us now to schedule your appointment.

Hey Men, Look and Feel Better in 2020

Man applying skin cream in mirror - skincare for men is a good new year resolution

You may be thinking about resolutions for the New Year right about now. For both men and women, these often include plans to lose weight, exercise regularly, manage money more responsibly, or maybe even learn a new skill. But when it comes to skincare for men and other issues with appearance… well these resolutions tend to be taken on by women more  often. But we think our male readers can benefit just as much from a conscious effort to care for themselves in this way.

Develop a skincare routine. The most obvious step men should consider adding to their morning routine is the use of sunscreen. The sun is an Equal Opportunity Ager, and while we have ways to address the damage it does, nothing beats protection. Daily use of sunscreen requires a tiny investment of time and money but offers big results.

And even though men don’t have to remove makeup at night, there is still a layer of sweat and air pollution collecting on the face throughout the day. Cleansing the face and following up with a quality moisturizer before bed will help brighten the complexion and keep skin healthier.

Finally, be sure that you use a clean, high quality razor when you shave, and switch the blades out regularly to reduce irritation.

Consider doing something about previous skin damage. The years take their toll on us all, often resulting in fine lines, dark spots, uneven texture, and sagginess that leave the skin looking less than its best. Skincare for men may not do yield the results you are looking for. Venus Versa® is a pulsed light treatment that reverses the signs of aging due to sun exposure. Venus Viva® delivers energy to the deeper layers of skin to rebuild collagen and fibroblasts – the very structure of the skin – to help repair damage and rebuild healthy skin.

Address those lines and creases. Our facial expressions give us personality and help us convey our feelings and emotions – the hearty laugh and the furrowed brow are physical evidence of the joys and sorrows of a full life. But over the years, the use of facial muscles to create these expressions can leave behind lines and creases. This can result in an older appearance, or even an “always angry” expression.

Botox® injectables can address these issues, leaving smoother skin and a fresher appearance. Dr. Slack will work with you to create a plan for using Botox that addresses your specific concerns.

There are also a number of dermal fillers that can improve the appearance of deep folds and wrinkles. These simple injectables restore volume to these areas and reduce their appearance.

Think about your hairline. Most men experience hair loss as they age and often wish to restore the hairline of their younger days. With new technology, this is not only possible, but it offers natural-looking results with minimal downtime. Neograft® hair restoration uses Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), a process where individual hair follicles are harvested from thicker regions of hair growth and implanted in areas where hair has stopped growing. Because individual hair follicles are used, the new hairline can be meticulously crafted to look as natural as possible. Dr. Slack himself recently underwent the procedure, so look for a special article in early January outlining his experience.

As you make plans for the new year (and new decade!), we encourage you to think about improving the way you care for your skin and appearance. Even small tweaks to your daily routine of skincare for men can make a big difference in the way you look, provide health benefits, and even improve your self-image. Who knows – this resolution may help you achieve your other resolutions.

Whether you are considering adding a new moisturizer, giving Botox® a try, or taking the plunge with hair restoration, Dr. Slack would like to talk with you. As a board-certified plastic surgeon, he is skilled at creating a plan that will help you achieve your resolutions for your appearance.

 

Why Drinking Alcohol and Plastic Surgery Don’t Mix

Woman drinking during the holidays. Remember Alcohol and plastic surgery simply don't mix.

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and often that means drinking more than usual. In the month between Thanksgiving and the New Year holiday, Americans spend more than $12 billion on distilled spirits – that is one-quarter of the industry’s yearly profit. If this season, you are giving yourself the gift of plastic surgery, however, we recommend you skip the spike in your eggnog. Alcohol and surgery (before or after) can be a bad mix.

We’re not just talking about excessive drinking, either. Research has shown that even drinking moderate amounts of alcohol before surgery can impair the immune system and increase the risk of respiratory complications. Heavy drinkers are also more likely to suffer from complications of wound healing and infections. They are 30 percent more likely than non-drinkers to be admitted into the intensive care unit after surgery.

Alcohol affects a number of different body systems already taxed by surgery. Here are five of the most common types of complications:

Pain

Alcohol in your system can make it more difficult to get the dosing of anesthesia to an optimal level during surgery. This can result in pain and increased awareness during surgery. Alcohol consumption also decreases pain tolerance in general, making for a more difficult recovery.

Swelling

Swelling is a natural part of any kind of surgery. Alcohol has the effect of dilating blood vessels and can make your tissues even more prone to swelling. This is not only uncomfortable, it can result in poor fluid balance after surgery as well as poor wound closure.

Bleeding

Alcohol is a natural blood thinner. Its use can lead to increased bleeding during surgery as well as in the days and weeks following a procedure. Excessive bruising and increased swelling are also possible, both of which can cause more pain and delayed healing time.

Dehydration

Surgery can result in dehydration. Add alcohol, a diuretic, to that and the effect can be dangerous. Dehydration can affect wound healing and it can make your recovery far more uncomfortable than it has to be.

Wound Healing

Excessive Alcohol consumption is linked to poor wound healing. This is especially important when it comes to plastic surgery. While your surgeon will do all he can to minimize the appearance of scars, they are nonetheless a natural outcome of surgery. Infection or excessive swelling can result in larger more misshapen scars, greatly diminishing the beneficial effects of having plastic surgery in the first place.

Dr. Slack takes the medical risks associated with drinking alcohol very seriously. He, like many other surgeons, requires patients to quit or significantly limit alcohol in the weeks before and after surgery.

Quitting alcohol may be no problem for you, but if you are a heavy drinker you need to consider the risks of withdrawal if you quit suddenly. Withdrawal from alcohol can be dangerous and can further complicate surgery and recovery. That is why it is important to take a hard look at your drinking and take steps to quit in a safe manner, well before any planned procedures. Sometimes this means quitting under the supervision of a physician.

The holidays can be an especially difficult time to quit drinking. But remember that being healthy and safe is the best gift you can give yourself. So if you have plastic surgery coming up, let that thought help you resist the champagne and hot buttered rum.

The Mental Health Effects of Plastic Surgery

Man looking in mirror with blurry reflection - what are the mental health effects of plastic surgery?

Most people choose to have plastic surgery because they want to feel better – either physically or mentally. Some aspect of their appearance bothers them enough that it makes them self-conscious or uncomfortable. Plastic surgery may offer a way to resolve those issues.

Previously we talked about the physical health benefits that plastic surgery can provide. These include restoring balance, improving vision, and easing breathing issues. Many individuals also experience mental health benefits from pursuing a well considered plastic surgery procedure.

When someone is bothered by a specific aspect of their appearance, it can influence how they feel about themselves in general. This will vary widely from person to person, though. Some women think the changes in their body after childbearing contribute positively to their appearance, while other women miss certain aspects of their pre-child body. Some men embrace hair loss and grab a razor to help it along, while others choose to fill in their hairline and boost their confidence with hair implants.

Nobody is wrong in these scenarios – the key is acknowledging what it is that is bothering you and making an educated decision about how to address it. The boost in self-esteem that comes from taking steps toward self-improvement is powerful. This can make you feel more attractive and self-confident.

In fact, research in the journal Clinical Psychological Science compared people who had a plastic surgery procedure to those who were interested in one but didn’t have it. Those who chose to go forward with their procedures reported mental health improvements across a wide range of factors, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Social phobia
  • Goal attainment
  • Quality of life
  • Life satisfaction
  • Attractiveness
  • Well-being
  • Self-esteem

Some of these, like attractiveness or self-esteem, appear to have a direct connection to plastic surgery, but others reveal some surprising effects. Why would plastic surgery improve your goal attainment? Well, if you feel better about your appearance and your self-esteem is improved, you may be more willing to take the risks needed to achieve your goals. Regardless of the relationship, it’s safe to say that feeling good about one’s appearance has an effect beyond looking good in your favorite swimsuit (which is great, too!)

There are some caveats to these effects. Research published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery revealed some circumstances in which the psychological and psychosocial outcomes of plastic surgery were not positive. While most people in the study did report improved mental well-being, certain groups did not experience good psychosocial effects, even when their surgical results were as planned. Specifically, individuals with unrealistic expectations, previous unsatisfactory plastic surgeries, and a history of certain mental health disorders – including body dysmorphic disorder – did not gain the psychological benefits that others did.

Again, most people in this research did have positive results, but these exceptions emphasize the importance of having any cosmetic procedures performed by a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. These surgeons, like Dr. Slack, are trained not only to perform plastic surgery to the highest standards, but also to help patients understand the results they can expect from surgery. They are skilled in identifying those who are least likely to experience the positive mental health effects of plastic surgery and able to counsel them on how to move forward to achieve their goals.

When performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, plastic surgery most often has positive effects on both physical and mental health. If you wonder whether you can benefit from plastic surgery, go ahead and schedule a consultation with Dr. Slack. There is no obligation to move forward with plastic surgery, and he will offer honest counsel on the results plastic surgery can achieve for you.

Will Breast Density Limit My Plastic Surgery Options?

Getting good news about breast density and plastic surgery options

The last time you got your mammogram results, did you notice a little note about your breast density? If you are like 40 percent of women, it might have said something like, “Your breasts are heterogeneously dense, which may obscure small masses and may put you at greater risk of developing breast cancer in the future.” Though this may sound a bit scary, it’s actually a normal reading.

Normal breast density exists on a spectrum from not dense at all to extremely dense. Knowing this information is important; it helps women and their doctors decide which breast screening methods are best, and how often they should get them. According to the American Cancer Society, whether a woman has dense breasts or not, regular screenings (mammograms in particular) are still the best way to find cancer early.

Because of the relationship between breast density and cancer risk, it is now the law in many states that breast density information be conveyed to each woman who has a mammogram. You may have seen talk of this newer legislation on the news.

What this means is that more women than ever before know that breast density matters, and many can tell you just how dense their own breasts are. Knowing this has also left some women wondering if their breast density will affect their options when it comes to cosmetic breast surgery.

To help answer this question, it will help if we first explain what doctors mean when they talk about breast density.

Breast density is a radiologic (mammogram) finding that has nothing to do with how breasts look or feel from the outside. The classification of density has to do with the ratio of fat (not a dense tissue) to everything else that makes up the breast, including glandular and fibrous tissue. On a mammogram, the fat shows up dark and the other stuff shows up white. The more white seen on a mammogram, the more dense the breast classification. The breast density classifications that may be assigned are – from least dense to most dense – the following:

  1. Fatty
  2. Scattered Fibroglandular
  3. Heterogeneously Dense
  4. Extremely Dense

Only about 10 percent of women are categorized as having extremely dense breast tissue. You can learn more about these breast density types, and see images too, at the American Cancer Society.

Here at North Texas Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Dr. Slack performs a wide range of cosmetic breast procedures including breast implants, liposuction, breast lifts, and breast reductions. In some cases, he may perform a combination of one or more of these procedures, depending on the goals of the patient. Here is how breast density may come into play with each of these procedures:

Augmentation

Breast implants are placed underneath the breast tissue not within in. This means that the breast tissue itself, no matter how dense, sits on top of the implant and therefore has little bearing on whether a breast implant is possible.

Liposuction

Liposuction alone is sometimes an option for women who are looking for a mild reduction in breast size. It is possible that a woman with extremely dense breasts, which means they have a lower ratio of fat to other tissue, may have a limit as to how much fat can be successfully removed using this method.

Breast Reduction or Lift

A breast reduction or lift sometimes includes liposuction, and the limitation just mentioned may come in to play to some degree. However, because these procedures also include an open surgical component, the goal of the reduction usually isn’t limited by breast density.

Here is the big takeaway: None of these procedures are off limits to a woman simply because she has higher breast density.

There are many factors that will limit a person’s plastic surgery options, including poor health, weight instability, and a bad smoking habit, but breast density usually isn’t one of them. That said, every person who walks into our clinic has their own unique anatomical identity, and that includes breast density. Dr. Slack takes all of this (and more) into consideration when advising each patient and planning their surgery.

If you have more questions about breast density and which breast procedures might be right for you, call our office today and schedule a consultation with Dr. Slack.

Men, Masculinity, and Plastic Surgery

Though many more women still seek out plastic surgery than men, according to recent statistics, that gap is closing. In 2018, 1.3 million cosmetic procedures were performed on men. That is up by nearly 30 percent since 2000.

Men seek out these procedures for many of the same reasons women do: to increase attractiveness, to stave off the effects of aging, and to increase self-esteem. Increasing the appearance of masculinity is also a goal some men pursue through facial plastic surgery. 

“Of biggest concern to men and one that often times affects their masculinity and feeling of vitality is hair loss,” says Dr. Charles Slack. “I am seeing more men for this as I have started using the Neograft system for hair restoration. In my practice I would say that botox is the most common treatment for men followed by fillers and then eyelid surgery.”

A new study, published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, showed perceptions of attractiveness, likeability, social skills, and trustworthiness all increased after surgery. Interestingly, this study showed facial surgery had little effect on the appearance of masculinity, however. The authors point out that this is contrary to similar studies that have shown significant increases in the appearance of femininity in women who have had facial plastic surgery.

The JAMA study was conducted using the before and after photos of 24 men who underwent a number of facial procedures at Georgetown University Medical Center. The procedures included one or more of the following:

One hundred and forty five people reviewed the men’s photos and rated them on attractiveness, masculinity, and a variety of personality traits, including aggressiveness, extroversion, like-ability, risk-seeking, sociability, and trustworthiness.

The ratings of each of these traits tended to differ with the type of facial surgery performed. For example, facelift and upper eyelid lift were associated with increased like-ability and trustworthiness. The only procedure associated with an increase in masculinity was a neck lift, which was also associated with perceived extroversion.

Oddly enough, chin implants, a procedure commonly sought to increase the appearance of masculinity, was the only procedure that had no effect on any of the factors: personality, attractiveness, or masculinity.

“It is really interesting that different anatomic areas of the face have varying degrees of contribution to overall personality perception,” says the study’s senior author Michael J. Reilly, MD in this press release. “And it is also noteworthy that the study did not find a significant change in masculinity. […] This suggests that the current menu of cosmetic procedures for men are likely not as gender-enhancing as they are for women.”

Regardless of this study’s findings, masculinizing plastic surgery is on the rise. According to statistics by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2018, nearly 10,000 men got chin implants, that is up five percent since the year 2000. They also underwent about 4,000 cheek implants, a procedure that can give a broader more masculine shape to the face. These were up 133 percent since 2000.

It should be noted, however, that these numbers are small when compared to the total number of cosmetic procedures performed among men in 2018: 1.3 million. Of those, one million were actually non-surgical or minimally-invasive treatments like botox, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, and fillers. The same trend is seen in women: of the 14.7 million cosmetic procedures performed on women in 2018, the majority (13.3 million) went in for non-surgical procedures.

These statistics tell us that while the gender playing field is still far from equal, when it comes to cosmetic procedures, the aims of men and women may not differ that much. And according to this latest research, increasing masculinity may not be as viable goal as once thought for men undergoing facial surgery.

All that said, no matter the reason you are seeking cosmetic surgery, it is a decision that should not be made lightly. Despite what national statistics or one research study tell us, all procedures affect each individual uniquely. If you are considering any cosmetic procedure, make sure you consult with an experienced board certified plastic surgeon. If you are in Collin County, Texas, call our office and make an appointment to see Dr. Charles Slack.

Are There Health Benefits From Plastic Surgery?

A middle age couple walking on the beach shows how plastic surgery health benefits can help you stay active.It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that plastic surgery is a simple vanity project, but for many people who choose to have plastic surgery, that’s just not true. There are a wide variety of potential health benefits that plastic surgery can offer – and these are often benefits that lifestyle changes like diet and exercise can’t provide.

Plastic Surgery Can Restore Balance

For many people, one of the biggest benefits of plastic surgery has to do with their posture and distribution of body weight. For example, women who have had damage to the abdominal wall because of multiple pregnancies can benefit from a tummy tuck. By repairing separated abdominal muscles (diastasis), and removing excess skin from the abdomen, the patient is better able to strengthen her core muscles leading to improved posture and ability to carry out daily tasks. It can even improve lower back pain.

A breast reduction, like a tummy tuck, can have benefits on posture and eliminate back and neck pain. In fact, enough women gain immediate relief from pain after the surgery that health insurance may pay for the surgery.

Other body contouring can help rebalance the physique in a way that improves posture and allows more ease in pursuing physical activity, thus leading to improved physical fitness and muscle tone. This can be customized to the patient depending on their needs and can include not only surgeries we have already mentioned like a tummy tuck or breast reduction, but procedures like thigh and arm lifts as well.

Plastic Surgery Can Ease Breathing

“I had a deviated septum.” It’s the joke used in every sitcom when a character tries to explain that their reason for having a nose job wasn’t purely cosmetic. But the truth is that a deviated septum is a real thing that can cause real problems. The septum is the cartilage that normally runs down the middle of the nose. But for some people, it is shifted to one side. They may have been born with it this way, or it may have happened because of trauma to the nose. When the septum is shifted, it can cause difficulty breathing through the nose, drainage issues, snoring, and other problems.

Plastic surgery can fix this. The procedure to do so is called septoplasty, and it is often performed in combination with a nose job, or rhinoplasty, to improve the outward appearance of the nose.

Plastic Surgery Can Improve Vision

As we age, the muscles around the eyes loosen, and the eyelids begin to droop. For some people the upper lid can droop so much it interferes with vision.

A surgery called blepharoplasty can correct this issue. Many people whose vision is not affected choose blepharoplasty because they do not like the look of their eyelids. But if vision is affected, blepharoplasty may be covered by health insurance.

Cosmetic Reasons are Perfectly Good Reasons, Too

For some reason, there can be a stigma attached to plastic surgery, hence the “deviated septum” jokes mentioned earlier. But it’s a perfectly reasonable choice to have plastic surgery if some aspect of your appearance bothers you. In fact, doing so may actually yield mental health benefits, and we’ll talk about that in part two of this article.

But it’s okay to say, “I’ve always been uncomfortable with fill-in-the-blank, and I’m going to take action to change it.” A board-certified plastic surgeon can discuss the options available to address your concerns. In the end it’s your body, and you deserve to feel good about it. And if you gain some health in the process, so much the better.

Dr. Slack is a board-certified plastic surgeon serving the residents of Allen, McKinney, Plano, and surrounding areas. He would love to chat with you about your goals and how he can help you achieve them.

Liposuction and Your Weight: Clearing up Common Misconceptions

Woman taking body measurements around the hips.

In 2018, more than a quarter million liposuction procedures were performed in the United States. That makes it the second most common type of plastic surgery, after breast enhancement. Combine this with the fact that more than two-thirds of all Americans are classified as overweight or obese, and it’s easy to imagine that liposuction is a tool for weight loss.

It is true that the goal of liposuction is fat removal, and whenever any part of the body is removed, there is a small amount of weight lost. But liposuction is used for shaping or contouring the body, not for weight loss. In fact, the ideal candidate for liposuction is near or at their ideal weight.

According to Dr. Slack, “A good candidate for liposuction has one or more deposits of fat that are out of proportion with the rest of the body and can’t be eliminated with diet and exercise.” This includes “love handles” or stubborn areas of fat on the thighs, hips, belly, arms, chin, neck, and cheeks (face and buttocks).

Liposuction is best done in areas with good skin elasticity, and it does not address loose or sagging skin. For this reason, liposuction is often used in conjunction with other body contouring procedures like breast reductions, tummy tucks, arm and thigh lifts, and mommy makeovers.

During a liposuction procedure, a thin, hollow needle, called a cannula, is inserted through a small incision in the skin. For larger areas, several incisions may be made. The inserted cannula is connected to a vacuum pump which sucks out deposits of fat underneath the skin. Liposuction cannot be used to remove visceral fat, that is fat around the organs in the abdomen, common in people who are overweight or obese.

There is also a limit on how much fat can be removed at one time. “Large volumes of liposuction can cause significant fluid shifts inside the body. In certain circumstances this can be dangerous,” says Dr. Slack. “The American Society of Plastic surgeons recommends anyone having liposuction over 5 liters stay overnight in a hospital or ambulatory care center for observation and fluid management.”

With liposuction, fat cells are permanently removed, but that does not mean you can’t still gain weight. The more weight gained, the less effective the liposuction results.

According to the American Association of Plastic Surgeons:

“If the patient gains a small amount of weight after their procedure, say 5 pounds, fat cells throughout the body will get a little bigger. While this slight weight gain can diminish results, the overall improved body shape provided by a liposuction procedure will still be visible as treated body areas have less fat cells (and thus experience a lower enlargement rate) compared to surrounding areas.”

If someone gains more than about 10 percent of their body weight after liposuction, in addition to the remaining fat cells in the body getting even bigger, new fat cells can develop. This can happen even in the area that was treated. However, because there are still fewer fat cells there, the body contouring effect of the liposuction may still be visible. In other words, you may still have the body shape you desire, even if you are heavier.

Issues of body weight are complex, entangled with issues of health and body image, and they are not always easy to solve. There are tools that can help like building self-esteem, diet, exercise, and even bariatric surgery, but liposuction shouldn’t be considered one of them. If you are thinking about having liposuction, make sure you see a plastic surgeon who understands this.

If you want to learn more about liposuction and whether you are a good candidate, contact our office today and set up a consultation with Dr. Charles Slack. He can help clear up any misconceptions you may have.