tummy tuck

Tummy Tuck without Drains

Tummy Tuck without Drains Tummy tucks (abdominoplasty) have increased in popularity over the past two decades. And, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 130,000 are performed yearly. Certainly, today’s emphasis on fitness plays a role. One of biggest procedural breakthroughs is the elimination of tummy tuck without drains. No-drain tummy tucks translate to a speedier — and easier — recovery.

What are drains?

Surgical drains are soft plastic tubes used to remove fluids that can build up after a surgical procedure.

A section of the tube (drain) stays inside your body at the surgical site and comes out through a small incision. The fluids empty through the drain into a collection bulb.

In traditional abdominoplasty, one or two drains are used and must stay in place anywhere from three days to two weeks or more. If you have drains after a tummy tuck, they require care — you’ll need to empty the bulb and record the amount of drainage.

What then instead of drains?

In some instances, drains may still be necessary. But, for many people, a newer technique called Progressive Tension Sutures (PTS) can be used instead. This technique is similar to standard abdominoplasty, except it uses special stitches instead of drains. The stitches close off the space between the abdominal fat pad and the muscle and help prevent fluid from accumulating.

What are the benefits of PTS with a tummy tuck without drains?

Progressive Tension Sutures are proven to be highly effective. In one study of nearly 600 patients with these sutures, only one needed to have fluid removed after surgery. In comparison, typically 5 to 30% of patients with drains develop fluid collections that require care. So not only does PTS eliminate the need for drains, but it also does a better job than drains at keeping fluids from building up in the first place.

Progressive Tension Sutures tend to result in a more comfortable recovery and less scarring. This technique is commonly combined with long-lasting local anesthetic blocks. The blocks can reduce some initial surgical discomfort after abdominoplasty and make it easier for patients to be up and walking. The blocks can also lessen the need for narcotic medication, which means fewer potential side effects like nausea and constipation.

Emory Aesthetic Center for your abdominoplasty

If you’re considering a tummy tuck without drains, contact the Emory Aesthetic Center to schedule a complimentary consultation with one our expert cosmetic surgeons.

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Or call us at 404-778-6880 to schedule your complimentary personal consultation.

Mommy Makeover: When Is the Right Time?

A mommy makeover can reshape your body to help you look more like yourself again. But when is the right time to do it?The “mommy makeover” is on the rise. Women want to reclaim their bodies from the changes brought on by pregnancy and breastfeeding. But a common question is “when is the right time to do it?”

What Is a Mommy Makeover?

A mommy makeover is a procedure, or combination of procedures, that help reshape a woman’s form after pregnancy. Each woman’s needs and goals are unique, but mommy makeovers typically involve any combination of the following:

  • Tummy tuck
  • Liposuction of the tummy or other areas such as the back, thighs or arms
  • Breast procedure:
    • Breast augmentation with implants to add volume
    • Breast lift to address low-hanging (sagging) breasts
    • Combination of both breast lift and augmentation to lift breasts and add fullness

When Is the Time Right for a Mommy Makeover?

While you may be in a hurry to reclaim your pre-pregnancy body, there are several factors to consider before scheduling your procedure(s).

Is My Body Ready?

It’s important to give your body time to return to “normal” following pregnancy. It’s best to wait until the stretched tissue returns to its typical state and until you’ve lost your pregnancy weight. Not only is surgery safer when you’re at a good weight, but the results are also better.

What If I’m Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is a factor to consider, especially when a breast procedure is part of your plan. You shouldn’t have elective breast surgery until your baby is fully weaned and your milk has completely dried up. Most surgeons prefer to wait at least three months after you stop breastfeeding, regardless of the procedure you’re considering.

How Much Time Will I Need to Recover?

As a mom, you have lots of responsibilities — caring for your family being only one of them. So you’ll want to consider when you’ll have the time and support you need before scheduling your procedure(s). Most women need a few weeks to recover.

Can I Have Another Baby After I Get a Mommy Makeover?

Results of your mommy makeover will be compromised by a pregnancy. So, you shouldn’t consider getting procedures done if you’re planning to have another child.

That being said, life is complex. Sometimes circumstances change. Typically, you can safely have another baby after you have a mommy makeover. However, you may wish to have some additional surgical procedures done following the pregnancy to address the new changes to your body.

Another thing to consider is that depending on the type of breast surgery you had, you may or may not be able to breastfeed.

Are You Ready to Consider a Mommy Makeover?

The board-certified plastic surgeonsat Emory Aesthetic Center  can help you determine the right timing and combination of procedures for your mommy makeover.

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Your Body Contouring Questions Answered: Getting Ready for Swimsuit Season

swimsuit-chat-260x200-emailAs we kick-off the summer months and have officially reached bathing suit season, it is natural that many of us take a look in the mirror and think about how we might change our body. In addition to keeping a healthy diet and exercising regularly, there are now more choices than ever in how we might achieve our goals. But with so many choices, both surgical and non-surgical options, choosing what body contouring procedure is best for you can be difficult.

During our live chat on Tuesday, March 22nd, hosted by Emory Aesthetic Center’s plastic surgeon, Dr. Felmont Eaves, we answered your questions around body contouring options to help shape your body for summer and tighten excess or loose skin. Dr. Eaves discussed both surgical and non-surgical procedures – including liposuction, tummy tucks, and thigh lifts.

Below are just a few highlights from the chat. A full list of questions and answers can be found on our chat transcript. You can also visit emoryaesthetic.org for a full list of services and treatments offered by the Emory Aesthetic Center.

Question: How do you get rid of a stomach belly fat?

Dr. Eaves: If diet and exercise don’t get you what you want, then there are three main ways to address belly fat, non-surgical fat reduction, liposuction, or abdominoplasty. Which one is best for a patient depends on their individual circumstances.

For instance, non-surgical treatments like Coolsculping® work best in patients with smaller amounts of fat and youthful, elastic skin. Liposuction works best in similar patients, however is more aggressive in terms of fat removal. The tummy tuck is the “king” of tummy contouring – it can tighten muscles, reduce fat, and tighten skin. Tummy tucks are more common in patients that have had pregnancies or who are a bit older and have developed some skin laxity.

Question: I have 2 weeks until I have to be in a bathing suit. What are some quick fixes that can be done with belly and thigh bulges?

Dr. Eaves: That doesn’t give much time! I’m afraid that neither surgery nor non-surgical fat removal would work and get you ready in such a short period of time.
One thought, however. We often think about concentrating on getting our bodies (or faces) ready for a big event. However to get your body where you want, it really takes a sustained, consistent approach. Crash diets and hours in the gym for short periods of time doesn’t really get you anywhere . . . a good, healthy, balanced and sustainable diet coupled with a reasonable exercise routine that you can stick with is the key. Of course surgery can help a lot, but the patient gets the very best results when they get their weight and health to a good place.

Question: Is there such a thing as a “mini” tummy tuck which does not have to go all the way across the abdomen?

Dr. Eaves: Not only is there the mini-tummy tuck, but some patients are candidates for tummy tucks with even shorter scars – the endoscopic tummy tuck. However before you get excited about these options, be aware than only a very small percentage of patients are candidates for these procedures. In order to be a candidate, you need to have good, elastic skin and relatively small amounts (or not) excess fat.

These procedures are ideally suited for patients who have experienced some spreading of the muscles of the abdomen from pregnancy, which we call a diastasis recti. If you have any significant amount of loose skin, or more significant fatty deposits, you are unlikely to get a good result with a limited scar approach. That being said, we now use techniques to help the scar appear better, such as special sutures that take the tension off of the skin. There sutures also eliminate the need to have surgical drains with a tummy tuck, which is a big plus.

Question: I need help with both my tummy and my breasts. Can I have both surgeries at the same time?

Dr. Eaves: Not only can you treat both the tummy and the breasts at the same time, but this is a very common procedure. For the tummy, most often this involves a tummy tuck due to the effects of the pregnancy. What we might do in the breasts depends on how the breasts recovered after pregnancy and maybe breast feeding. For instance, if the breast lost volume but didn’t become saggy (we call that “ptosis”), then a breast augmentation is a great option.

If you like the size of the breasts but they have become too droopy, then you would likely want a mastopexy, or breast lift, but without implants. It is also quite common to do both breast augmentation with implants and a lift. If you have a consultation with a plastic surgeon, he/she can help you sort through these options and see which is best for you.

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or call us at 404-778-6880 to schedule a consultation

If you have additional questions for Dr. Eaves, please feel free to leave a comment in our comments area below.

Get Ready for Swimsuit Season! Join our Live Chat on Body Contouring

swimsuit-chat-260x200-emailSpring is here, therefore, swim suit season is just around the corner. To help get your body ready for the warmer weather, join Emory Aesthetic Center plastic surgeon, Dr. Felmont Eaves, on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. EST as he discusses body contouring solutions to help improve your shape and tighten excess or loose skin. Dr. Eaves will answer all of your questions and walk you through both non-surgical and surgical body contouring options – including CoolSculpting®, liposuction and tummy tucks.

If you have been wondering if a cosmetic body contouring procedure is right for you, you won’t want to miss this chat.

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About Dr. Eaves

eaves-iii-felmontDr. 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.

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When is the Best Time to Get a Tummy Tuck?

eac-250x250A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure that removes the unwanted excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen improving the abdominal contour. It can be limited and only involve the front of the abdomen, or it can be extended to also address excess fat and/or skin in the back. Abdominoplasty typically involves reestablishing the native abdominal anatomy, i.e. restoring the muscles that have been affected by childbirth or weight gain. The procedure can be done with or without liposuction depending on your overall appearance and goals.

So now the question…when is it the best time to have a tummy tuck procedure?

When I meet with patients who want to improve their abdominal contour, it is generally due to life changes that have affected their midriff. These changes can be due to the birth of a child/children, the loss of significant weight, or just the process of aging in general. Depending on the specific change, my recommendation is to wait until that change has plateaued. Meaning, if the abdominal excess is related to childbirth, I recommend that your family is complete prior to having a tummy tuck done. If it is related to weight loss, I recommend that your weight be a number you can maintain long term.

Additional questions typically follow. “Can I get pregnant after a tummy tuck? I don’t know if our family is complete.” That’s OK if you are uncertain. You can successfully carry a baby after a tummy tuck. The pregnancy may affect the result and a revision could be necessary in the long run.

“What if I gain the weight back?” If you gain some weight back, the abdomen will appear fuller again but likely the skin excess will not be present so I would encourage you to again lose the weight before any revisions are considered.

Recovery is another component to consider if you are ready to schedule your tummy tuck. I recommend at least 1 week off of work to get through the most painful part. The first few days can be hard and having to go back to work will add unnecessary stress. Try to schedule the surgery during a less busy time in your job, and when you have accrued enough leave time.

If you are ready for a change, and it’s the right time for you based on the information provided in this blog, let the Emory Aesthetic Center help you realize your vision of you. Come in for a complimentary consultation with one of our board certified cosmetic surgeons.

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or call us at 404-778-6880 to schedule a consultation

About Dr. Anderson

anderson-ericaErica 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.

Defying Gravity: Surgical and Non-surgical Treatments to Prevent Aging

crunchesPatients ask me all the time…”How do I fight off the effects of gravity, and do I need surgery to do that?” The good news is that we now have more tools than ever before to defy the effects of aging. In order to get the best results, it is essential to know what each tool can do, but perhaps even more importantly, what it cannot do. By picking the right tool for each area of your body – whether surgical or non-surgical – you will have a better chance to get the result you are seeking.

As we age, the loss of elasticity of our skin results in the appearance of sagging. Brows can look low, eyelids can sag, and jowls invade once beautiful jawlines. Laxity in the neck can result in drooping that is especially noticeable when looking down or in pictures taken from the side. Sagging of the breasts, technically known as breast ptosis, may result not only from aging and the effects of gravity, but from the after-effects of pregnancy and breast feeding. Pregnancy can have a profound affect on the tummy area and can lead to loose skin as well as separation of the muscles which leads to an appearance of rounding. Weight fluctuations can also have a profound effect. If you gain and loose weight frequently, and especially if you loose a large amount of weight, the laxity and sagging will be much greater, particularly contributing to laxity in the tummy and thighs.

Non-surgical treatments have a critical role in preventing aging and the effects of gravity, but when actual sagging occurs, surgery is typically the best and often only solution to get the changes you want. Currently non-surgical treatments have little capacity to tighten loose skin, particularly in the body region. But non-surgical treatments can do a wonderful job addressing wrinkles due to muscle hyperactivity (Botox®), of softening the appearance of deeper creases in the face (dermal fillers), of reducing isolated areas of fat accumulation (CoolSculpting®), and improving the texture and appearance of the skin(skin care, lasers, chemical peels).

In the face, if you really want to tighten sagging jowls, lift a droopy brow or eyelids, or to address loose skin in the neck, surgery is definitely the way to go. A brow lift can reposition the brows and help create a more open, bright look to the eyes. An eyelid lift can smooth the skin of the upper eyelid or soften the appearance of “bags” of the lower eyelid. A facelift can improve the cheek contours and reduce jowls, creating a more youthful, smooth jaw line, and a neck lift can tighten and smooth the neck. While surgery is the dominant solution for defying gravity in the facial area, there are situations where non-invasive procedures can play a role. For example, if a patient has very early jowling and isn’t yet ready for a face lift, placing fillers along the edge of the jowl and along the jawline can camouflage the appearance, although it will not “lift” it away. If a patient has lost volume of the upper cheek area, injecting the area with fillers can replace volume and give the appearance of lifting the midface.

In the facial area it is extremely common to combine surgical and non-surgical approaches to optimize your results. For instance, while a face and neck lift will help you defy the effects of gravity, the surgery will not change the overall appearance of your skin. A skin care program can work wonders to enhance the results of your surgery by smoothing rough spots, evening the color of your skin and reducing dark spots, shrinking pore size, and creating a healthy glow to your skin.

In the breast and body areas, non-surgical approaches have little to offer in terms of actual lifting of tissues in order to defy gravity. This is because current technologies do not sufficiently tighten skin to create dramatic improvements, nor can they effectively tighten the soft tissues under the skin. If you really want to tighten sagging tissue back to its youthful position, surgery is required. In the breast, this means undergoing a breast lift (mastopexy) either with or without implants. In the tummy area, this means an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) with or without liposuction. In recent years, buttock lifts and thigh lifts have become increasingly common.

While there are plenty of non-surgical technologies being marketed that tout skin tightening, they have not been proven to work. In fact, some of our patients have said they tried these treatments, especially in the body areas, and most felt that they had either no result or that the results were so minimal that it was not worth the investment.

If you are interested in counteracting the effects of gravity, come and consult with one of the board-certified physicians at the Emory Aesthetic Center. We can go over options specific to your individual needs, and help you understand which surgical or non-surgical treatments are best for you.

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or call us at 404-778-6880 to schedule a consultation

About Dr. Eaves

eaves-iii-felmontDr. 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.

Your Weight and Plastic Surgery: Why It Matters

exercising-2womenSometimes patients will go into a plastic surgeon’s office excited about a decision to finally move forward with breast or body contouring surgery, but then afterwards emerge having found out they are not currently a candidate because of excess body fat. This scenario is not only disappointing, but it can be an emotionally deflating and potentially embarrassing experience for patients. As plastic surgeons we sympathize over the emotional pain that such patients feel, and we want to help them realize their goals. However there are several specific reasons that your plastic surgeon might recommend weight loss prior to undergoing a procedure and our motivations are only to provide you with the safest care and the best results.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), currently 69% of the U.S. population over 20 years of age is overweight. Of this percentage, 35% is obese. So how does the CDC calculate this statistic? First, the CDC defines “normal” weight, “overweight” and “obese” using a formula that calculates Body Mass Index (BMI). This is based on your height and weight. A “normal” BMI is 20-25, “overweight” is defined as a BMI of 25-30, and a BMI over 30 is technically considered “obese”. The BMI calculation is not perfect – for instance it does not take into account muscle mass versus fat mass – yet it is a pretty good basic measurement nonetheless. And it is important to us as plastic surgeons because BMI is a good predictor of the risks of surgery and the likelihood of a good result.

Many medical studies have shown that increased BMI is a predictor of potential complications that can occur from plastic surgery. A higher BMI is associated with an increased risk for wound complications, such as dehiscense (the wound opens up), infection, or tissue necrosis (tissues do not survive due to poor blood supply). The increases are typically small for patients who are overweight – a BMI 25-30, but they start increasing quickly as the BMI enters into the obese range. In general, it is a fair statement that the higher the BMI, the higher the risks of surgery. These complications can be significant, so as plastic surgeons we consider these risks with great thought.

In addition, the results that you can get are likely to be much better if your weight is in a better range. Let’s consider a couple of examples. Say, for instance, that a patient wants breast reduction surgery, but they are very heavy. Even when the breasts become smaller and more uplifted, it is extremely difficult for us to deal with the fullness lateral to the breasts (the “bra roll”), which significantly compromises the aesthetic result. In addition, it is much harder to get a beautiful transition between the breast and the abdomen due to the excess weight. On the other hand, let’s consider the patient that is overweight and wants a tummy tuck or liposuction. In this instance, the surgeon will not be able to remove all the excess fat in these areas, as it is technically challenging and can look odd as it is out of proportion to the surrounding fatty deposits. Even a lot of liposuction cannot fully solve this problem. Body contouring surgery is great for shaping your body, but it is not a method or substitute for weight loss or weight control.

What is the “cutoff” BMI number for plastic surgery? That is a difficult question, and there are some exceptions based on individual surgical procedures, body fat distribution, muscle mass and other factors. Many plastic surgeons consider a BMI above 30 or 32 to be in the range where surgery should be delayed until weight loss is achieved. If you are interested in calculating your own BMI, there are several free online tools, including the one from the Emory Bariatric Center.

As plastic surgeons I believe that we have an ethical responsibility to guide our patients related to their weight and desire for surgery. When surgery is unfavorable due to weight, there is the opportunity to partner toward a weight loss goal. Struggling with excess weight is a problem that so many of us deal with, and it is good to know that someone is on your side and understands. We can provide some advice, but even more importantly we can help guide you toward weight loss experts that help with diet modification and even newer procedures – such as the recently approved intragastric balloon – to assist with weight loss. Let the board certified plastic surgeons of the Emory Aesthetic Center, along with the Emory Bariatric Center, help you achieve the weight and body that you want. Imagine the joy of finally getting your weight under control, and then having the surgery you want to get the most effective results.

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About Dr. Eaves

eaves-iii-felmontDr. 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.

Enhancing Your Shape with Liposuction

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 1.29.17 PMYear after year, liposuction remains the most common cosmetic surgical procedure in the United States and around the world (although breast augmentation often competes for the top spot). Cosmetic surgeons who perform liposuction are not surprised, as liposuction is one of the most powerful tools in their toolbox to help patients. Many patients, however, may not always be aware that liposuction can work to shape your body in several ways . . . not just as an isolated technique to remove fat.

Liposuction really came into its own during the 1980s. The principal of liposuction is simple – fluid is injected into the fatty layers to help remove the tissue and reduce bleeding, then a blunt hollow tube (a ‘cannula’) is inserted through tiny incisions to suck out the fat. Surgeons move the cannula into different layers and patterns to reduce the thickness of the fat layer and create a smooth surface.

Over the years, several adjunctive technologies have been developed to help with liposuction. These include ultrasonic assisted liposuction (UAL, sound waves help break up the fat), laser assisted liposuction (LAL, the laser energy helps disrupt the fat), power assisted liposuction (PAL, a vibrating tip helps break up firm tissues), and water assisted liposuction (pulses of water help break up the fat). Although the companies that produce these machines will always claim theirs is the best, all of these technologies – including standard traditional liposuction (SAL) without an energy source – work very well. The surgeon’s familiarity with the technology is far more important than which machine they use. As a patient, you should pick the surgeon, and let them use the technology that they feel will work best, rather than be pulled in by fancy company advertising or an interest in a particular technology.

So how can liposuction enhance your shape? Liposuction can remove fatty deposits of the stomach, the flanks (‘love handles’), the thighs, the back, the arms, and under the chin. Patients often treat many areas at one time, and that is a safe and logical strategy, as long as the amount of aspirate (the liquefied fat and liquid that is sucked out) does not exceed recommended amounts. Your surgeon will use the fat removal to, in essence, sculpt your new look. By removing fat in certain areas and leaving the normal fat in others, your contours and curves are optimized.

However in addition to just removing fat, liposuction is important in two other ways. When patients have loose skin, liposuction can be combined with skin removal to create dramatic improvements. A tummy tuck is a great example of how liposuction and excision can be combined . . . by removing the loose skin the tummy skin become tight and smooth, but by adding liposuction the fatty layers can be reduced and shaped as well. It is a great combination.

As a final mechanism, liposuction can function in reshaping your body by providing fat that can be put into other areas where you would like more volume. Over the past 5-10 years, this has been an exciting development in body contouring surgery, as cosmetic surgeons have gotten better and better at using fat to enhance shape. Harvesting fat in one area through liposuction, and then injecting it into another area (‘fat grafting’) can be very powerful. The transplanted fat can enhance volume in areas like the buttocks, the breasts, or the face (think fuller cheeks or softening the deeper grooves around the mouth).

It is important to remember that liposuction is not a weight loss solution – if you need to loose weight, you will get your best results if you do so prior to having liposuction. It is also important to realize that liposuction cannot tighten loose skin. If someone has loose skin in an area where fatty deposits are to be removed, then a combination of liposuction with resection of the loose skin (think tummy tuck with liposuction) is much more likely to give a good result. Liposuction works best in patients who are at a good body weight, have smooth, elastic skin, and where the fatty deposits they want to treat aren’t too big and are well defined.

If you are thinking about how to reshape your body, come in and see one of our board certified cosmetic surgeons at the Emory Aesthetic Center. We can look at your body, help you think through and refine your goals, and figure out how liposuction – or other minimally invasive or surgical procedure – can help you achieve the body shape that you want.

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Mommy Makeover: Frequently Asked Questions

Mommy Makeover FAQBeing a mother of 3, I know the joys that motherhood brings, but deflated breasts, a protruding abdomen and unsightly fat deposits are not among them. If you are considering a mommy makeover to restore your pre-pregnancy body, let me answer some of my patients’ most frequently asked questions to help you make your decision.

What is a Mommy Makeover?

Typically a mommy makeover is body contouring surgery where both the breasts and abdominal areas are addressed in a single operative procedure. It is designed to restore your body (or enhance, depending on your goals) to its pre-pregnancy state.

Your breasts may be deflated and droopy as a result of breastfeeding. They can be corrected with either a breast lift, a breast augmentation or a combination of the two procedures. The abdominal muscles separated to make room for your growing child but may not have recovered fully, therefore leaving you with a gap and laxity of the abdominal wall. This deformity is called diastasis recti and can be corrected with a version of a tummy tuck. You may also simply have pockets of fat in areas that you have not previously had and no amount of crunches or carb–free living has eliminated it. Liposuction can be done in these areas to restore your feminine silhouette.

Am I a candidate for a Mommy Makeover?

Ideal candidates for mommy makeover surgery are women whose breast and abdomen are changed as a result of pregnancy and childbirth, and desire restorative surgery to bring their body back to its pre-pregnancy state.

Can I have a Mommy Makeover if I have not had children?

You can still be a candidate for the combination approach to the breasts and abdomen even if you have not had a child. When a healthy diet and exercise have achieved all that it can and what you see in the mirror is not what you want anymore, a mommy makeover can help you realize your goals.

How long does the procedure take?

Depending on the operative plan created for you, the procedure can take between 3 to 6 hours to complete. Immediately after surgery, you will feel groggy and not want to do too much. The following day, you will already be feeling better and can transition to home with a helpful family caregiver. It is advised that someone stay with you for the first 48 hours after surgery particularly if your children will be at home with you.

How long do I need help taking care of my family after a Mommy Makeover?

Depending on which procedures you are a candidate for, recovery can take anywhere between 2 to 6 weeks. Most patients are able to return to work within 2 to 3 weeks, but returning to exercise and all normal activities may take up to 6 weeks. If you are at home with your children, having an extra set of hands will be helpful for at least the first week. You will be able to pick up your child, although we recommend doing so from a seated position. You will be encouraged to take daily walks, and pushing a stroller is fine.

Should I wait until my family is complete before proceeding with a mommy makeover?

Although it is possible to carry a pregnancy after abdominal contouring surgery, we recommend that you choose to do this when you are done having children. Your results will last longer if they are not stressed by pregnancy and breast engorgement.

If you are considering a restorative procedure after pregnancy, childbirth and breast feeding, let the board certified cosmetic surgeons of the Emory Aesthetic Center help you define your goals and customize a plan to achieve them.

404-778-7261
emoryaesthetic.org

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.

Realistic Liposuction Results: What Can I Expect?

Liposuction ResultsUnderstanding what any treatment can do . . . and even more importantly, what it can’t do . . . is critical for you to know when considering the best cosmetic procedure to address your individual needs. This is particularly true for liposuction, as the tremendous popularity of the procedure has spawned some misconceptions and unrealistic expectations. In the right patient liposuction is a wonderful procedure with small scars, quick recovery, and dramatic results. However, in the wrong patient liposuction can lead to disappointment, and if pushed beyond appropriate limits, can even lead to deformity requiring surgical repair.

One of the most common misconceptions about liposuction is that it can help you loose weight. Liposuction, in general, is not an effective weight loss tool. In order to keep the procedure safe, there are long-standing recommendations to limit the amount of liposuction done on an outpatient basis. Very large amounts of liposuction can be associated with the development of loose skin in the treated areas.

Another misconception about liposuction is that it can tighten loose skin, especially if it is “laser liposuction” or “ultrasonic liposuction”. For sure the skin will retract some after any liposuction technique due to the skin’s inherent elasticity, however meaningful tightening typically doesn’t occur, despite marketing claims. Although rare, I’ve had to help a couple of patients in which their surgeon pushed an energy-based liposuction (laser or ultrasound) too far in hopes of tightening the skin. Doing this can lead to an irregular appearance to the skin, lumps, and even burns and visible scarring. The long and the short of it is, if you have significantly loose skin and want it to be smoother and tighter, liposuction by itself is probably not the procedure for you.

Cellulite – that frustrating, pitting appearance of the thighs or buttocks – is another area that patients sometimes expect liposuction to help but it really doesn’t. Currently there aren’t great treatments for cellulite that give consistent and dramatic results (again, despite the marketing!). Sometimes patients have pits that are associated with loose skin but don’t have real cellulite, and in these cases a body lift – not liposuction alone – can help these areas. Here’s a test you can do at home — lift up on the skin above the pitting area. If the pits smooth out dramatically, then the pits are probably related to loose skin in the area and you might be a candidate for a lifting procedure. If you lift and the pits just stare back at you, then a lift is probably not for you.

We’ve just reviewed the things that liposuction doesn’t do, but the great news is that liposuction of the right amount and in the right patient is safe, effective, and gives predictable results. The patients that do the very best with liposuction are at a good weight but have certain stubborn areas that just won’t go away with diet or exercise. The best candidates also have tighter, more elastic skin. Often, but not always, that means that younger patients are better candidates for liposuction.

However if you have some loose skin, don’t despair. Liposuction can still be a powerful tool to contour your body when combined with an excisional procedure. For example, let’s say you have some fatty collections in the love handle area and in the front of the tummy but you have loose skin in the lower part of the tummy. In this case you may be a great candidate for liposuction combined with an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). Liposuction can smooth and contour the flanks and can thin the upper abdomen while excision of the fat and loose skin of the lower tummy will tighten everything up.

Another area where it is good to set expectations relates to recovery. Patients always want to know how they’ll feel after liposuction, how long it takes for the pain to fade, and how long until the swelling is gone and they see their final result. In general, liposuction is less painful and with a quicker recovery than excisional procedures, like a tummy tuck. Patients are often able to return to work after only a few days, and although they have some soreness for a couple of weeks, they are able to function well. Usually patients can resume light exercise within 2 weeks. There will be swelling, although often even swollen areas look better than before surgery. The majority of the swelling is gone by 3-4 weeks, although subtle amounts of swelling can take 3-6 months to resolve. You may also develop some bruising, and if so, this typically fades away within a couple of weeks.

Liposuction is the most common aesthetic surgical procedure performed in the United States, and with good reason: liposuction works and it works well. It works best in patients who are good candidates and who are not trying to have liposuction do more than it is capable of delivering. The board certified physicians of the Emory Aesthetic Center are happy to consult with you about what are reasonable expectations of liposuction in your individual circumstance, and help develop a treatment plan specific to you.

404-778-6880
emoryaesthetic.org

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.