Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between cosmetic and reconstructive surgery?
Cosmetic surgery is performed to make someone look younger or different. But reconstructive surgery is performed for a medical condition to close a wound created by cancer resection or trauma.

Is plastic surgery covered by insurance?
Plastic surgery involving making a patient look younger or different is considered to be cosmetic and is not covered by insurance. Sometimes eyelifts, breast reductions and abdominoplasty procedures may be covered by insurance in extreme cases where patients have medical conditions as a result of the excess weight and sagging of the skin.

What is the recovery from plastic surgery?
The general recovery from plastic surgery depends on the invasiveness of the procedure. Skin treatments with fillers and botox result in minimal recovery periods, such as less than a day, though the recovery from restylane when injected into the lip can be longer. Operative plastic surgical procedures that involve opening the skin may result in longer recovery periods such as days to weeks. This recovery period varies tremendously from patient to patient. Breast augmentation, eye lifts, and facelifts can take two weeks for most of the recovery. Tummy tucks usually involve a longer recovery period depending on the extent of the procedure, which can be different for mini versus standard tummy tuck procedures.

Who is a candidate for plastic surgery?
Anyone can be a candidate for plastic surgery. Each patient has to be evaluated by their plastic surgery for the desired procedure to ultimately determine if they are a good candidate for that procedure with their plastic surgeon. Each patient and plastic surgeon is different.

Where is plastic surgery performed?
Plastic surgery procedures are done in an operating room where patients can receive an anesthetic to sedate them so they don’t remember or feel the procedure. If the patient has significant medical problems their surgery may have to be performed in a hospital so they can be admitted postoperatively to the hospital. Also procedures that involve significant postoperative pain should be done in a hospital operating room so the patient can be admitted to the hospital overnight for pain control.

How much pain is involved in plastic surgery?
The amount of pain that a patient experiences with plastic surgery is variable for each patient and depends on the operation. Some patients have a higher pain tolerance than others. Also, some procedures are more painful than others. Abdominoplasty procedures are more painful than others such as eye lifts and facelifts.

Is plastic surgery outpatient or inpatient?
Some plastic surgery procedures can be done on an outpatient basis if the procedure itself is less painful or the patient has a higher pain tolerance.

Can I finance my plastic surgery procedure?
Most plastic surgeons have finance plans available to their patients.

How does a physician become a plastic surgeon?
After completing medical school, the doctor has to complete five years of general surgery and then a plastic surgery fellowship/residency. Alternatively there are six-year plastic surgery programs available to graduating students now at some training programs. Plastic surgeons can qualify to take the written and oral exams required for board certification only if they complete a plastic surgery residency that has been accredited by the ACGME.

Does certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery ensure that a patient will get a perfect result?
Though you can decrease you risk for complications by selecting a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon there is no guarantee for a perfect result. Board Certification in Plastic Surgery requires successful completion of an accredited Plastic Surgery Residency and then passing a written and oral examination given by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Seeking out a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon offers you the most protection against surgical complications.

Can I receive a second nose reshaping if the first surgery does not produce the desired result?
Yes, revision nose surgery can be offered to most patients who have an unacceptable outcome with their first surgery. However, there is a higher risk for complications with revision nasal surgery from cartilage melting and thinning of the skin.

What aesthetic surgical procedures are performed to improve the aging face?
There are several different options for patients to rejuvenate the face. Less invasive options to correct wrinkles that result from facial expression and moving the facial muscles include botox injections to temporarily paralyze the muscles that create the wrinkling. If a patient has wrinkles at rest this can be improved with fillers using restylane or juvaderm. When patients have more extensive wrinkling in the eyes or face, lift procedures can be done where the excess skin is removed through incision placed in areas that are hidden.

Does a facelift leave scars?
A standard facelift procedure involves opening the skin then redraping the skin to remove the excess. The scars are placed in areas that are generally not obvious such as around the ear and into the scalp. The scars can widen if there is excess tension on the wound edges. Sometimes an additional incision is required to remove neck fat and tighten the neck muscles, but this can be concealed under the chin.

How is excessive wrinkling and bagginess of the eyelids corrected?
Excess eyelid skin wrinkling and bagginess can be corrected with an eyelift procedure. In performing an eyelift procedure the excess skin is removed to correct the wrinkling or hooding and sometimes extra fat has to be removed as well to improve the bagginess. Additionally, if the upper lash line rests over the iris and pupil it can be elevated with levator muscle aponeurosis tightening. With age the transverse vector of the eye can droop, and this can be corrected with a lateral canthopexy procedure.

Am I a good candidate for liposuction?
Younger patients with more elastic skin are the best for removal of excess fat with liposuction because when the deeper lying fat is removed the skin has a better capacity for tightening to avoid contour abnormalities of the skin.

Do the results of liposuction last?
Some of the excess fat can be removed with a liposuction procedure. Postoperatively patients are prone to swelling from the passing of the suction tube through the tissues so patients are encouraged to wear compression garments for four to six weeks to minimize this swelling. Thus, the final result isn’t obvious until the resolution of this swelling. However, if patients resume prior eating habits that resulted in the original accumulation of fat, the problem can recur. Patients have to maintain a strict diet after surgery to avoid weight and fat regain.

How is excessive wrinkling and bagginess of the eyelids corrected?
Excess eyelid skin wrinkling and bagginess can be corrected with an eyelift procedure. In performing an eyelift procedure the excess skin is removed to correct the wrinkling or hooding and sometimes extra fat has to be removed as well to improve the bagginess. Additionally, if the upper lash line rests over the iris and pupil it can be elevated with levator muscle aponeurosis tightening. With age the transverse vector of the eye can droop, and this can be corrected with a lateral canthopexy procedure.

What kind of anesthesia is used?
Liposuction can be used under sedation of a general anesthetic.

Will I be able to breast feed after breast enlargement surgery?
Some patients will be able to breast feed after breast enlargement surgery. Those that cannot breast feed may have not been able to breast feed even if they did not have the breast enlargement. Some plastic surgeons discourage breast feeding after breast enlargement surgery because of the engorgement caused with feeding enlarges the breast further applying more stress to the skin, which can increase the patients risk for sagging and drooping of the breast especially noticeable after discontinuing breast feeding as the breast loses volume. Pregnancy can contribute to this sagging effect on the breast from the engorgement and weight gain associated with the pregnancy.

Will I look natural after my breast surgery?
The choice of implant type, implant size and location can contribute to the look of the breasts after surgery. Larger implants look less natural. The decision for placement of the implant in the sub glandular placement or sub pectoral placement is individualized based on the patients breast tissue volume, subcutaneous fat and size or type of the implant. Silicone breast implants tend to be softer.

When can I go back to work after breast augmentation surgery?
The decision of when the patient can return to work is individualized depending on the job requirements and the location of the implant placement. Subpectoral implant placement is more painful and requires longer recover. Larger implants hurt more as well. Also some patients have a higher tolerance to pain than others.

When can I begin to exercise after breast augmentation surgery?
We usually encourage patients to avoid exercises that strain the pectoralis muscle if the implants have been placed in the subpectoral pocket. Otherwise patients who have had their implants in the subglandular plain can return to exercise and other activities at 2-6 weeks.

Is there a right age for cosmetic surgery?
Depending on the procedure there may be an optimal age for different plastic surgery procedures. In general we tend not to perform plastic surgery on minors. We avoid abdominoplasty procedures on patients that plan to have more children. It is optimal to perform liposuction on younger patients that have skin that can snap back after fat removal. Several plastic surgeons discourage facelifts in patients who are too young. Some patients that have had extreme sun damage and skin excess as is seen in very advanced age can have a less dramatic result with a facelift. Plastic surgeons try to avoid operating on patients with medical conditions, which can expand in number with aging, that place them at higher risk for complications.

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