Breast Augmentation

Tummy Tucks 101: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

tummy tuck 101Tummy tucks – also known as abdominoplasties – have grown significantly in popularity over the past 15 years, and they are now one of the most common procedures performed by plastic surgeons. Part of the reason why tummy tucks have grown in popularity over the years is our increased focus on health and fitness, but another big reason is that tummy tucks can provide dramatic results. There have been recent advances in the procedure that offer better pain control and a better recovery. Now may be a good time to take a fresh look at some of the most common questions that patients ask us about abdominoplasties.

“Do I need a full tummy tuck, or can I have a smaller scar – say with a “mini” tummy tuck or just liposuction?”

There is not just one type of tummy tuck – abdominal contouring can include a variety of approaches depending on one’s individual situation. It is often helpful to think of a tummy tuck in terms of where the problem is. Is there too much loose skin, is there too much fat, or have the muscles been stretched or separated by pregnancy? If your skin is relatively tight then you may be a good candidate for a reduced scar approach, such as liposuction (tiny scars), an endoscopic abdominoplasty (1-2 inch scar), or a mini-abdominoplasty (a scar about the length of a C-section). On the other hand, if there is a lot of loose skin that you will need tightened, that will require a longer scar. If there is too much fat, then liposuction can be combined with the removal of skin – a very common situation. If the muscles are separated, then some sort of tummy tuck with muscle repair is needed, however the incision can be short or long depending on the skin.

“Do I have to have a drain after a tummy tuck?”

Historically the answer to that question was “yes”; however, new techniques have eliminated the need for drains in many cases. We now can use special stitches – known as progressive tension sutures – to seal the tissue together so that there is no need for a drain. The progressive tension technique has another advantage as well; it often allows us to remove a bit more skin than we could otherwise. Although I currently can’t prove it, I also suspect that the sutures help make the scar from the tummy tuck better because they reduce the tension on the skin during healing. Patients love it when they don’t have to have drains.

“How much pain will I have after a tummy tuck?”

Historically tummy tucks were one of the more painful operations that plastic surgeons performed, especially when repair of the muscles was required. Over the past several years, the development of some new ways of controlling pain has helped this situation a lot. First came the development of pain pumps – these are devices that push a local anesthetic through a small tube and into the area of surgery. These were very helpful and many surgeons still use them, but it requires a tube coming out of the skin. More recently there has been the development of a long lasting local anesthetic which can give significant pain control for up to 3 days, and it doesn’t require a tube. Good pain control clearly makes the recovery more pleasant. It also means that less narcotic pain medicine is required; therefore, there is less chance of a reaction to the medication. In addition, it may make the surgery even safer by allowing patients to move around more easily and to be more active.

“How long is the recovery after a tummy tuck?”

Well, the answer depends on several factors and to what level of recovery you are thinking about. If you don’t need the muscles repaired, it is likely that your recovery is going to be easier and quicker. Most patients having a full tummy tuck (with muscle repair) find that they are generally able to drive a car within a week, depending on their pain level (remember you don’t want to drive when on narcotic pain medicine). Many patients can work remotely from home, and find that they are able to log on to their computers, answer emails, or even have a conference call after only a few days, although they won’t feel like going in to work for maybe 2-3 weeks post surgery. Light exercise (e.g. walking or gently peddling on a stationary bike) can start by this time as well. By 6-8 weeks, most patients would consider themselves fully or nearly fully recovered, although it is worth remembering that the nerves will continue to heal, the scar will continue to fade, and the swelling will continue to go down for several months.

“Will the results last?”

Yes! As long as your weight remains stable over time, abdominoplasties are typically a ‘once and done’ procedure, never needing to be repeated. Of course your skin will age a bit over the decades, but it usually never gets back to the looseness that you may have experienced before surgery.

“After pregnancy, my tummy needs help, but my breasts do, too. Can you work on both at the same time?”

Not only is the answer “yes”, but combining a tummy tuck with a breast lift or breast augmentation – popularly called a “mommy makeover” – is very common. Moms love their little ones, but it is great to get their bodies back, too!

Will a tummy tuck help my stretch marks?”

That depends on where the stretch marks are located, but the answer is usually “yes”. A full tummy tuck removes most of the skin in the lower abdomen, and any stretch marks in this zone will be removed along with the loose skin. Stretch marks outside of that zone are not really going to be helped.

The board certified physicians at the Emory Aesthetic Center keep up with the latest developments in abdominoplasty. We are happy to work with you to help create a plan that is best for you.

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About Dr. Eaves

Felmont Eaves, MDDr. Eaves recently returned to Atlanta, Georgia, to head the Emory Aesthetic Center as Medical Director, having previously completed his plastic surgery residency as well as a fellowship in endoscopic and minimally invasive plastic surgery at Emory University, The Emory Clinic, and associated hospitals. Before joining the Emory Aesthetic Center, Dr. Eaves was a partner in Charlotte Plastic Surgery for more than fifteen years and served as group president from 2010-2012.

His professional and institutional committee memberships and offices include an impressive list of national, international and local plastic surgery organizations, societies, boards, task forces, advisory councils, coalitions and foundations, including having served as President of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) from 2010-2011 and Trustee (2011-Present).

Dr. Eaves’ primary areas of academic inquiry have been in minimally-invasive and endoscopic aesthetic surgery, patient safety, system and process improvement in plastic surgery, evidence-based medicine applied to plastic surgery and recontouring surgery after massive weight loss. He has received several patents for new medical devices he developed, and has made major clinical service contributions to his field. Dr. Eaves has published more than 100 articles, book chapters and book reviews on plastic surgery in peer reviewed publications, as well as manuals, videos, computer programs and other teaching aids and has coauthored the first textbook on the topic of endoscopic plastic surgery.

Ask the Doctor: Breast Augmentation Surgery & Recovery

Breast AugmentationOK ladies, if you’re reading this blog, most likely, you have been thinking about or at one point have thought about breast surgery. Maybe you’ve even seen a physician for consultation. And maybe the only thing stopping you from having your breast surgery is the concern about your recovery. Let me review what to expect after breast augmentation surgery to help you decide if it is the right time for you.

Breast augmentation surgery is a very popular procedure, and one of the reasons for that is the fast recovery time. The procedure takes about an hour to perform under general anesthesia. It is considered an outpatient procedure because it does not require you to stay overnight in the hospital. Immediately after surgery, you may have some nausea as the anesthesia wears off, but you are treated with medications to prevent this from becoming a major issue. You will not be discharged from the facility until you are feeling well enough to leave and your pain is under control.

These days breast augmentation can be done in a variety of ways, and each of these techniques can affect the necessary recovery. Augmentation can be done with either implants or fat retrieved by liposuction. Implants can be placed above the muscle (sub glandular) or below the muscle (sub pectoral). Having the implants placed below the muscle typically has the longest recovery time, though usually only by a few days. What works well for some of my patients is having surgery on a Thursday or a Friday, and then taking the following week off of work to recover.

As you consider your recovery, it is a good idea to take into account your job requirements or your daily routine. If you have a very physical job, more than a week may be needed for recovery. Similarly, if you are running around after small children, extra hands to help will be appreciated for a longer duration.

As far as returning to exercise, it is reasonable to take walks or ride a bike about a week after surgery. I would wait at least 2 weeks to begin any rigorous exercise routine. You will likely still be sore and won’t want to do it anyhow.

Finally, I caution you not to go out and buy new super pretty bras immediately after surgery. It will be tempting, trust me. After surgery, we provide a supportive bra for comfort. There will be weeks of swelling, and your final breast size will generally result 4-6weeks after surgery. Your physician can guide you during the recovery period as to when it would be a good time to invest in nice ones. What to do with all your gently worn bras that no longer fit? Consider donating them to a worthy cause. Visit www.breastoasis.org for information.

I hope this brief review helps in your decision to undergo breast augmentation surgery. If you have additional questions or would like to be evaluated by one of the board-certified cosmetic surgeons at the Emory Aesthetic Center, call us for a complimentary consultation to determine what would be best for you and your desires.

About Dr. Anderson

Erica Anderson, MDErica Anderson, MD, is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and currently holds an appointment as Assistant Professor in the Division of Plastic Surgery at Emory University. Dr. Anderson completed her general surgery residency and plastic surgery residency at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and associated hospitals in Denver, CO. She completed a year of advanced training in Aesthetic Surgery at Grotting Plastic Surgery in Birmingham, Alabama.

Dr. Anderson returns to Emory University after being in private practice in Arlington, Virginia. While there, she maintained a busy aesthetic and reconstructive practice and also served as Medical Director for the Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center at Virginia Hospital Center.

Dr. Anderson’s academic and research interests are largely focused on clinical outcomes with regards to cosmetic surgery. Her areas of clinical interest are diverse including cosmetic surgery of the breast and body as well chest wall reconstruction and wound care.

Dr. Anderson is married with 3 children, Trent, Connor and Fiona, and 2 vizslas, Max and Mimi.

Get Ready for Summer! Join our Live Chat on Body Contouring

Body Contouring ChatWith the warmer weather fast approaching, it’s time to start trading in those hats and gloves for shorts and swimsuits. To help get your body ready for the summer, join Emory Aesthetic Center plastic surgeon, Dr. Felmont Eaves, on Tuesday, March 10, 2014 from Noon – 1PM as he discusses body contouring options that can help improve the shape of your body and tighten excess or loose skin. Dr. Eaves will walk you through both surgical and non-surgical options – including liposuction, tummy tucks, arm or thigh lifts and surgery after weight loss. If the normal effects of aging or childbearing have made you wonder if a cosmetic body contouring procedure is right for you, you won’t want to miss this chat.

Dr. Eaves will answer all of your questions to ensure you are confidently ready to take the next step such as:

  • What are the different types of body contouring options offered to me?
  • What types of results can I expect to see?
  • Are there non-surgical options to firming my body?
  • What can a body lift surgery do for my figure?
  • How long is the recovery time after a liposuction?
  • Does a tummy tuck or body lift leave scars?
  • What is the benefit of having my body contouring procedure performed at a place like Emory Aesthetic Center?

Sign Up

Chat Details:

Date: Tuesday, March, 10, 2015
Time: 12 noon – 1pm EST
Chat leaders: Dr. Felmont Eaves
Chat Topic: Body Contouring: Getting Ready for Summer

From Face to Breast to Body: Understanding Aesthetic Surgery

Understanding Aesthetic SurgeryThere is a deep and rich science related to the understanding of the origins, importance, and impact of physical appearance on our lives. Research tells us that as human beings our appearance not only plays a role in how we view ourselves, but it also plays a role in our interaction with the world. Therefore, it is not surprising that in addition to grooming, makeup, and exercise, cosmetic procedures and surgeries have become a popular option to millions of women and men every year.

Although we don’t consciously think of beauty in this way, science teaches us that there are four primary ways in which we care about our appearance. They are youthfulness, symmetry, gender, and normal development. If we think in these terms, it becomes easy to understand that aesthetic surgery of the face, breasts, or body is similar and follows similar patterns.

For instance, as we age our skin and soft tissues loose tone and elasticity. In the face we see it with loose skin, the development of wrinkles, and by tissue drooping. These same kinds of changes can also lead to drooping of the breasts, abdominal skin, and bottom. The most common way to reverse these changes is to “lift” loose tissues. “Lifting” can actually mean pulling up an area, but it can also mean tightening the area by removing some of the loose skin and tissue, so that what is left is pulled tighter. Lifting is a common technique that is used in the face (think brow lift, eyelid lift, or neck lift), breasts (breast lift), and body (think body lifts – tummy tucks, thigh lifts, buttock lifts). Pulled tighter, the lifted area looks more youthful to us.

Youthfulness also correlates with a more fit, athletic appearance, so it is not surprising that fatty deposits bother us, whether it is under the chin, in the “bra roll” area adjacent to the breasts, or on our tummies or thighs. When we can’t fix these areas in the gym, perhaps we can help them with a surgical procedure to remove the unwanted bulge. In a similar way, fat in the right places and the right amounts is a sign of youthful vigor. A full face, full breasts (in a female), and full buttocks are all healthy and are considered to be of youthful, if not too full. With aging and changes in weight, these areas can look either too full or too deflated, so taking away tissue (e.g. liposuction) or adding tissue (e.g. fat grafts) can be used to create more desirable proportions, regardless of the part of the body.

Symmetry is also very important to our concept of attractiveness. Most of us are aware that we may have one foot or hand that is bigger than the other, but other areas such as the face, breast, or body can also demonstrate asymmetry. If one side of our face is smaller than the other, we might seek to correct this with fillers to create more balance. Or if one brow is lower than the other, we might try to correct this with Botox® injections or a brow® lift. Breast asymmetry can be particularly concerning to women, and fortunately this can often be addressed when performing a breast cosmetic procedure. If a patient is interested in increasing the size of the breasts with breast augmentation, size asymmetry can be corrected by putting a larger implant on the side that was initially smaller. If a patient wants breast reduction or to reduce her breast size, the larger side can be reduced more. If the asymmetry is in the form of one breast lower than the other, the lower breast can be lifted more. In the same way, if one thigh is bigger than the other, more liposuction can be done on the larger side. At the extremes, very significant differences in breast size, position, or contour can relate to problems with normal development, so correction in these situations can be particularly rewarding to patients.

Gender is a further key aspect of how we assess our appearances. Men want to look and appear as attractive men, and women want to look and appear as attractive women. Gender differences naturally occur in all areas of our bodies. For instance, in the face men naturally have heavier and lower brows, while women naturally have finer, more delicate and higher brows. Women often address the brows by selective plucking to shape and refine, and a brow lift can restore normal brow height. These characteristics, however, also help guide us as surgeons to what we may want to avoid. In a man who wants to lift his brows to reverse the drooping of aging, we need to be careful not to elevate the brows too much as this creates an overly feminized appearance. In men, the development of a feminizing appearance to the breasts is particularly unsettling, and at the same time is quite common, especially with aging. This development – known as gynecomastia – can be successfully treated by liposuction in most cases. Your surgeon must remain aware of gender differences when contouring your body as well. Too straight of a waist in a female tends to look a bit masculine, while to much “curve” looks feminine on a man.

As you can see, aesthetics of the face, breast, and body follow many of the same patterns, and a lot of the same strategies are used from area to area. Let the Emory Aesthetic Center help you think through your particular concerns and develop a plan that is tailored specifically to your desires and needs.

About Dr. Eaves

Felmont Eaves, MDDr. Eaves recently returned to Atlanta, Georgia, to head the Emory Aesthetic Center as Medical Director, having previously completed his plastic surgery residency as well as a fellowship in endoscopic and minimally invasive plastic surgery at Emory University, The Emory Clinic, and associated hospitals. Before joining the Emory Aesthetic Center, Dr. Eaves was a partner in Charlotte Plastic Surgery for more than fifteen years and served as group president from 2010-2012.

His professional and institutional committee memberships and offices include an impressive list of national, international and local plastic surgery organizations, societies, boards, task forces, advisory councils, coalitions and foundations, including having served as President of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) from 2010-2011 and Trustee (2011-Present).

Dr. Eaves’ primary areas of academic inquiry have been in minimally-invasive and endoscopic aesthetic surgery, patient safety, system and process improvement in plastic surgery, evidence-based medicine applied to plastic surgery and recontouring surgery after massive weight loss. He has received several patents for new medical devices he developed, and has made major clinical service contributions to his field. Dr. Eaves has published more than 100 articles, book chapters and book reviews on plastic surgery in peer reviewed publications, as well as manuals, videos, computer programs and other teaching aids and has coauthored the first textbook on the topic of endoscopic plastic surgery.

Breast Implants with a Breast Lift: Do You Really Need Both?

Decide on Breast LiftThroughout the years plastic surgeons have often had strong opinions about when to do a breast lift alone, when to just put in breast implants, and when to do both. In addition to this, over the past several years there have been new developments in breast augmentation surgery, including short scar breast lifts (or mastopexy), fat grafting, and new breast implant options. These have provided surgeons with even more tools to help patients obtain more youthful, uplifted breasts. If you look in the mirror and you don’t like what you see – perhaps the breasts have become droopy after children or weight loss, or they just seem to have deflated after breastfeeding – there are now more options than ever before. But how do you know what is right for you – breast implants, a breast lift, or both?

Every surgeon has a different way of guiding patients through these options, but the first, most critical step is to really understand what your goals are. Patients may come in for a consultation saying something like “I’m not sure what I want, really. I just know I don’t like the way my breasts look now. I want to look fuller up top, but I don’t want to be too big either, and I want to look natural.” This is very helpful; however, it doesn’t answer the question about a lift, an implant, or both. Separating a lift or implants in your mind can bring a lot of clarity. One way to do this is to simply hold your breast up (replicating a lift) so that the breast is no longer in a low hanging position. This is something your surgeon can do for you during your consultation, or you can even do at home in front of the mirror. This will help you get a sense of your actual breast volume without an implant. If you like the relative size when the breast is manually lifted up, then you may be a great candidate for a breast lift alone. On the other hand, if the breasts are held up and the size just doesn’t give you what you want, then you need to think about breast implants, either with or without a lift.

To figure out this part, you’ll want to rely heavily on the judgment of your surgeon, who will make some measurements of the breast and note the degree of ptosis, or droopiness. If there is very little ptosis, then an implant alone (without a lift) will probably serve you very well. If the ptosis is severe, then putting in an implant alone will not look right, as the breast will appear to “fall off” of the implant. Therefore, a breast lift would be needed in addition to the implant. Not infrequently, however, a patient may lie in a gray zone somewhere in between: in these cases an implant alone may suffice, however will give a more mature or slightly low hanging appearance. The decision then becomes one of personal preference. If you feel that getting the breast as “perky” as possible is important, then a lift in addition to the implant is in order. If you feel that a more mature look is desirable, then you can forgo the lift and the additional scars that are required.

Of course there are advantages and disadvantages of each of the options – a lift alone, a lift with implants, or implants alone. Implants alone typically have the shortest scar, but have only a limited effect in making the breast look more uplifted. When implants are placed there is also the risk that the implants may become mal-positioned, may become encapsulated (firm with scar), or may need to be replaced, all of which may require additional surgeries in the future. A lift alone typically produces longer scars; however, it doesn’t carry the implant-related risks for additional surgery. A combined implant-lift provides control over both breast size and shape, but it also produces both the longer scars and the risk of additional “maintenance” surgeries related to implants. The differences in recovery between these options are usually small, and most women feel they can return to work in about a week after any of these options.

The surgeons at the Emory Aesthetic Center are experts in helping you think through all your options. We use the most up-to-date techniques, implants, imaging systems, and adjunct therapies (like scar therapy) to help you achieve the results that you want. We’ll take the time to thoroughly explore your goals and get a deep understanding of your desires. At the same time, we will work hard to make sure you really understand what options will give you the best results in the long run.

About Dr. Eaves

Felmont Eaves, MDDr. Eaves recently returned to Atlanta, Georgia, to head the Emory Aesthetic Center as Medical Director, having previously completed his plastic surgery residency as well as a fellowship in endoscopic and minimally invasive plastic surgery at Emory University, The Emory Clinic, and associated hospitals. Before joining the Emory Aesthetic Center, Dr. Eaves was a partner in Charlotte Plastic Surgery for more than fifteen years and served as group president from 2010-2012.

His professional and institutional committee memberships and offices include an impressive list of national, international and local plastic surgery organizations, societies, boards, task forces, advisory councils, coalitions and foundations, including having served as President of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) from 2010-2011 and Trustee (2011-Present).

Dr. Eaves’ primary areas of academic inquiry have been in minimally-invasive and endoscopic aesthetic surgery, patient safety, system and process improvement in plastic surgery, evidence-based medicine applied to plastic surgery and recontouring surgery after massive weight loss. He has received several patents for new medical devices he developed, and has made major clinical service contributions to his field. Dr. Eaves has published more than 100 articles, book chapters and book reviews on plastic surgery in peer reviewed publications, as well as manuals, videos, computer programs and other teaching aids and has coauthored the first textbook on the topic of endoscopic plastic surgery.

Related Resources

Understanding Breast Augmentation Revision Surgery

Breast Augmentation Revision SurgeryStudies show that the vast majority of women are satisfied with the results of their breast augmentation surgery. Women report that the decision to enhance their breasts was a positive process and they would recommend it to others. There are times however, that patients may not achieve the results they were expecting. And more often, as bodies alter with weight loss, gain or pregnancy, the result changes such that a patient may want a revision. There are even cases when implants become hard and painful that women look for alternative solutions. Whatever the reason, physicians at the Emory Aesthetic Center can help you explore your options for breast augmentation revision surgery. Let’s consider some common scenarios to help guide your decision making process.

Scenario 1: You recently had a breast augmentation and you think the size is wrong. Is it too big or do you wish you had gone bigger? Either way, make sure you do not decide too quickly. Allow time for swelling to subside and implants to settle. Allow time for you to incorporate these changes into your body image. If at approximately 6months after surgery you still are unsatisfied, it is reasonable to consider an exchange of implants to better match your desired size. Implant exchange is relatively straightforward and recovery time is minimal, typically less than the recovery of the initial surgery.

Scenario 2: You have been happy with your saline implants but you have a friend with silicone gel implants that feel much more like natural breasts. An exchange from saline to gel can be done with relative ease, particularly if your overall size and shape remains acceptable to you. Recovery time in this case is also minimal.

Scenario 3: Your body has changed after pregnancy and the breasts do not look as they did when they were first enhanced. Sometimes in this case, decisions need to be made about the implants. If you are happy with overall volume, a breast lift – also known as a mastopexy – can be done leaving the implants in place to correct the droop but maintain the volume. If the size of the breasts is now too large, the implants can be removed and a breast lift performed. Alternatively, if you have lost volume in your breasts, implants can be exchanged for larger ones and a lift can also be done to correct the shape. Recovery from a mastopexy combined with changes to implants can be slightly longer than the cases mentioned above.

Scenario 4: There is a progressive hardening to the breasts that has become painful. You are likely experiencing capsular contracture. Though it is reasonable to be concerned about this process, it does not generally cause any significant health problems and it can be fixed. In these cases, the implants and the scar tissue are removed. When replacing the implant, the location is typically changed, i.e. from below the muscle to above or vice versa. Additional materials, such as biologic mesh (e.g. Strattice) can also be used in difficult cases to help prevent recurrence of the problem.

As you can see, there are many reasons for revisional breast augmentation surgery. The basic approach involves identifying the issue and then creating a surgical care plan that addresses the problem. The answer may be a simple solution of implant exchange with little recovery and downtime. Or the solution may be more complicated requiring a breast lift with conversion of the implants. Either way, the surgeons at the Emory Aesthetic Center can help guide your decision process and make breast augmentation revision surgery a success for you. Come in today for a consultation to determine what approach is best for you.

About Dr. Anderson

Erica Anderson, MDErica Anderson, MD, is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and currently holds an appointment as Assistant Professor in the Division of Plastic Surgery at Emory University. Dr. Anderson completed her general surgery residency and plastic surgery residency at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and associated hospitals in Denver, CO. She completed a year of advanced training in Aesthetic Surgery at Grotting Plastic Surgery in Birmingham, Alabama.

Dr. Anderson returns to Emory University after being in private practice in Arlington, Virginia. While there, she maintained a busy aesthetic and reconstructive practice and also served as Medical Director for the Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center at Virginia Hospital Center.

Dr. Anderson’s academic and research interests are largely focused on clinical outcomes with regards to cosmetic surgery. Her areas of clinical interest are diverse including cosmetic surgery of the breast and body as well chest wall reconstruction and wound care.

Dr. Anderson is married with 3 children, Trent, Connor and Fiona, and 2 vizslas, Max and Mimi.

Breast Lifts: How Are the Results Achieved?

Breast LiftWe are all aware that the shape of the breast can change over time. This can be contributed to a number of things such as weight loss or gain, pregnancy, breastfeeding, aging, and the effects of gravity. There may be a loss of volume so that it is difficult to fill out your bra completely, a lack of firmness to the breast tissue, or a descent of your nipples so that they now point toward the floor. A breast lift can help improve the appearance your breasts. But how are these results achieved? Let me explain the procedure and the techniques available so you can decide if it is right for you.

A breast lift, also referred to as a mastopexy, raises the position of the breasts on the chest wall by reducing the skin envelope and re-coning the breast. The breast’s firmness and contour are therefore restored. Typically the areolae also become enlarged as an effect of changes to the breast; therefore, with a breast lift, the areolae can be reduced in size to better match the rejuvenated breast.

There are many different types of breast lift procedures, and it is important that the technique used addresses your concerns and fulfills your expectations. The techniques can most easily be described by the scar patterns produced.

A periareolar lift, also called a donut mastopexy, results in a scar isolated to the circumference of the areola. It is typically the procedure used when a minimal lift is needed or in cases where implants are utilized to add volume. You might be a candidate for this technique if you are correcting volume and/or a minimal droop of the breast.

A vertical lift, or lollipop mastopexy, is often referred to as a short scar technique as it results in a scar around the areola plus a vertical scar extending from the areola to the crease of the breast. This technique produces significant re-coning to the breast resulting in a firmer, perky shape. You are likely a candidate for this technique if you have a modest degree of drooping and are willing to accept an additional scar beyond the areolar circumference.

A Wise pattern technique results in an anchor pattern of scarring that extends around the areolar complex, vertical to the breast crease, and along the breast crease. It is significantly more scarring than the vertical technique and is reserved for long, pendulous breasts or breasts with little skin elasticity. This technique may be required in cases where significant weight loss has contributed to the breast shape.

Breasts can also have a degree of lifting by placing an implant. This is particularly true after breastfeeding where it is mostly a loss of volume that creates drooping. The breast can be restored with an implant alone resulting in a minimal scar either in the breast crease or partially around the areola.

As you can see there are a number of techniques available, and many of these methods can work and work well to achieve your goal. What is most important is to understand the technique that is best for you. During a consultation at the Emory Aesthetic Center, we will evaluate your current breast shape, volume, and skin elasticity. We will listen to your concerns and get a complete understanding of your goals and expectations. At the completion of your consultation, a surgical plan will be created specific to you.

If you are considering a breast lift, let the surgeons at the Emory Aesthetic Center help you define your goals and customize a plan using the best technique for you.

Related Resources

Fat Grafting: How Your Own Fat Can Be Transferred to Give You the Look and Shape You Want

Body GraftingBody fat…we love to hate it. We try so hard to make it go away. Too much fat in the wrong place leads to a flabby tummy, ‘love handles,’ full thighs, a fatty neck, and in men, feminine appearing breasts. However fat has another side…a positive side. Yes, I said it – a positive side. Fat, in the right amount, makes our face have a youthful fullness, helps give fullness to a woman’s breast, and produces a youthful, round bottom. With fat, just like real estate, it’s about location, location, location.

As our faces age, we can develop somewhat sunken temples, flat cheeks, thin lips, and more hollowed eyes, all related to a loss of soft tissue volume. Not only does this loss of volume affect contours, but it also contributes to making the skin look looser. As women age, they sometimes lose volume in the breast, which also can make the breasts appear droopy (ptosis). In the buttock area, sometimes we are born with flat bottoms, but sometimes bottoms flatten with aging or weight loss.

Over the past several years, cosmetic surgeons have developed better and better techniques for fat transfer. In a fat transfer, or “fat graft” procedure, fat is harvested from the body by means of liposuction. The fat is gently prepared for injection back into the body, and then is “grafted” into position using small cannulas or needles. The fat is placed in the appropriate position and tissue plane so that it gets plenty of oxygen and nutrients as it develops a new blood supply. The fat that survives the transfer process and grows a new blood supply will survive long term to provide the soft fill needed to correct volume deficiencies. The part of the fat that doesn’t survive is simply reabsorbed.

The most common areas for fat transfer are the face, breast and buttocks, although sometimes fat is placed into aging hands. In the face, fat transfer can be done alone or it can be combined with excisional procedures such a facelift, blepharoplasty (eye-lid tuck), or brow lift. Fat is most commonly used to fill out a flattened cheek, deep nasolabial lines (run from nose toward corner of mouth), the groove underneath the eyes, or sunken temples. In the face, only small amounts are generally needed to get the right result. On the other hand, buttock augmentation with fat grafts, often referred to as the “Brazilian Butt Lift,” requires larger volumes, and in some instances, may require more than one surgical stage to get the full, desired result. One area where fat has proven particularly helpful is in the correction of contour irregularities that sometimes occur after previous liposuction procedures. In these instances, moving the fat around to fill in the depressions is a powerful improvement tool.

Recovery after a fat graft procedure is generally rapid, although this depends on if any other procedures were performed at the same time. For instance, facial fat grafts in combination with a full face-neck lift will take longer to settle than facial fat grafts alone. Typically after an isolated fat graft procedure you might experience a week or two of swelling, perhaps a little bruising (but often not), and the injected areas may feel firm for a few days. Since incisions are very small, after the swelling and bruising subside you can usually be up and working out in relatively short time. Complications like infection can occur but this is very rare with fat grafting procedures. Another potential complication is “loss” of the fat graft. In this instance, the transferred fat simply doesn’t seem to grow its new blood supply and hence melts away over several weeks. A good rule of thumb is that whatever volume that you have present at three months after surgery is the volume that you’re going to keep.

Of course everybody is different, and every BODY is different. Let the physicians at the Emory Aesthetic Center talk with you about your goals, your unique situation, and create a plan to fit your specific needs.

Related Resources

Butt Lifts, Butt Augmentation, & Brazilian Butt Lifts – What are the Differences?
Butt Lift & Butt Augmentation
Fat Transfer/Grafting
Body Lifts Chat with Dr. Anderson
Takeaways from Dr. Anderson’s Body Lifts Chat

Gummy Bear Breast Implants: How are they different?

Gummy Bear Breast ImplantsPatients are calling the Emory Aesthetic Center asking, “Do you offer the ‘gummy bear’ breast implants?” The simple answer is yes, but let’s review what makes this breast implant different and how you know if it is a good choice for you.

“Gummy bear implants” is simply another name for silicone gel breast implants. Although there was a period of controversy concerning silicone gel implants in the early 1990’s, the gel implants currently available today have been extensively studied and shown to be safe. Silicone breast implants, in fact, are now the most studied medical device in all of medical history.

The FDA approved silicone gel implants have a cohesive gel technology. “Cohesive” means that the gel sticks to itself, so even if the implant were to break, the gel typically stays put, in many ways, resembling the consistency of a gummy bear. These gel implants come in two basic covering patterns and two basic shape styles.

The covering pattern for these breast implants comes in both a smooth and a textured cover. While smooth surfaced implants work very well, the textured surface was designed to reduce the chance of capsular scar contracture that may form around the implant and cause it to feel hard. In addition, texturization holds the implant in a particular position within the breast pocket.

The two basic shapes styles of these implants are round and “shaped” (or anatomical). Depending on a woman’s native breast volume, shape, and desires, a round implant may be the best choice in many cases. Round implants can have a smooth or textured surface. In other women, however, a shaped device may represent an excellent choice. There are many different variations, sizes, and heights to the shaped implants so that the choice can be customized for you. In order to maintain their shape, the anatomical designs have a higher degree of cohesiveness than the round devices, and these highly-cohesive, or form-stable, implants are often referred to as “gummy bear” implants in lay terms.

In order to stay in the desired position and orientation, shaped implants are always textured. In addition, they may have an added advantage of less wrinkling in certain patients, though they may feel firmer due to the fill material and volume. They are slightly more expensive as well.

If you are considering breast implant surgery, let the physicians at the Emory Aesthetic Center answer all your questions about implants and the technology behind the devices to help determine which ones are right for you.