Posts Tagged ‘tummy tuck’

Body Contouring After Extreme Weight Loss

Body contouring can remove excess skin after significant weight loss. Emory Aesthetic Center can help you look and feel your best.Whether from changes in diet and exercise or as a result of a bariatric surgery procedure, loosing a large amount of weight is an incredibly challenging and rewarding accomplishment to be celebrated. But what if you still aren’t happy with the way you look? Often, after losing a substantial amount of weight, you’re left with excess skin that hides your results and can leave you feeling self-conscious.

Some concerns we hear from men and women alike are:

  • “My stomach skin hangs down.”
  • “My arms flop around and hang. I don’t feel comfortable in a short-sleeve shirt.”
  • “My inner thighs are so loose and saggy, I don’t like to wear shorts.”
  • “What happened to my bottom? It just melted away!”

Complaints about the chest area are also common. Women can feel as if their breasts have melted away and hang low. Men can be uncomfortable if their chest hangs almost like they have breasts.

But you’ve worked too hard throughout your weight loss journey to stop now. If any of these concerns ring true for you, it’s time to talk with a plastic surgeon about body contouring .

Body contouring procedures

Since weight loss tends to follow certain patterns, there are common problem areas for sagging skin including:

Stomach

Loose skin in the front of the abdominal (stomach) area can hang down like an apron. Sometimes the looseness is only in the front of the tummy area, but it can also extend to the sides and back. In severe cases, there can also be a second roll of skin in the mid-abdomen, above the larger fold.

A tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty) can tighten and smooth the abdomen by removing excess skin. It can also rejuvenate the pubic area. The scars for a tummy tuck are typically very low, where your undergarments or a bathing suit can hide them.

Arms

Loose, hanging skin, sometimes referred to by patients as “bat wings,” is another common complaint after weight loss. An arm lift (Brachioplasty) can tighten the skin between the shoulder and the elbow. And in extreme cases, it may need to extend past the elbow and into the forearm.

Breasts

Loss of volume in the breast area can lead to low-hanging tissue.

Women often think their breasts are too small after weight loss. A breast lift can restore size and shape so that breast implants  are not needed.

Men may need liposuction or a skin-removing procedure to tighten their chests.

Thighs

Outer thigh looseness can be treated along with the abdomen when a tummy tuck is extended to include lateral thigh or even buttock lifting — often referred to as a lower body lift.

The loose skin of the inner thigh is usually treated at a separate stage, and involves an incision that extends from the groin area toward the knee.

Back

An upper body lift can dramatically improve sagging in your back, including back rolls. The scar for an upper body lift extends from one side of the back to the other where a bra or bathing suit top can hide it. Or, it can run along the side of the trunk where your arms can hide it when they’re down at your sides.

Neck

A neck lift (or lower face and neck lift) can best address sagging in the neck area. Doctors can usually hide the scars around the back of your ear and under your chin.

Combining body contouring procedures

If you choose to treat several areas, a staged approach may be necessary for your safety and to get the best results. For example, you may choose to have a tummy tuck and arm lift in one stage. Then, after a few months, undergo a breast and thigh lift. An added advantage of a staged approach is that it provides the opportunity (at a later stage) to revise or “touch up” a previously treated area, if needed.

Emory Aesthetic Center

If you’ve experienced significant weight loss, the expert surgeons at the Emory Aesthetic Center can help you determine which procedures, or combination of procedures, can help you feel and look your best.

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The 5 Most Common Plastic Surgery Myths

A cosmetic surgeon debunks common plastic surgery myths heard from patients.Thanks to the internet, many patients are well educated about cosmetic surgery procedures when they schedule a consultation. But despite some good online resources, a few plastic surgery myths remain. Learn the truth from cosmetic surgeons at the Emory Aesthetic Center.

Plastic Surgery Myth #1: Liposuction or a tummy tuck will jump-start weight loss.

You may hope that having liposuction or a tummy tuck will help you commit to losing weight for good but it is not the place to start your weight loss journey.

Both do a great job of changing your shape and may help you lose a couple of pounds, but remember, the results are insignificant compared to what you can achieve through diet and exercise.
Here are a few other truths about these procedures and weight loss:

  1. You’ll get the best possible results when you’re at a healthy weight for surgery.
  2. You’ll have less risk of complications if you’re at a healthy weight for surgery.
  3. You’ll likely be less motivated to make healthy lifestyle changes right after your surgery. You’ll be focused on healing and feeling better about how you look.
  4. You’ll be happier with the results from your body contouring surgery over time if stay at a healthy weight.

Plastic Surgery Myth #2: You must have breast implants to get a breast lift.

Many women who believe their breasts have become “droopy” can benefit from breast implants; but implants aren’t always necessary.

So how do you know which procedure is right for you? In front of a mirror, lift up your breasts or consider how they look in a bra:

  1. If you like the size overall, you may need a lift (mastopexy), but not an implant.
  2. If your breasts aren’t drooping, but you’d like to change their size or shape, you may need an implant, but not a lift.
  3. If you feel your breasts are just too small to match the rest of your body and you consider them droopy, then you may need both a lift and an implant.

Plastic Surgery Myth #3: Plastic surgery is only for women.

More men have cosmetic surgery these days. In fact, statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) show that plastic surgery procedures in men have increased by 325 percent since 1997.

Some common procedures in men are:

Plastic Surgery Myth #4: Liposuction will reduce cellulite and tighten skin.

Liposuction can provide excellent improvement in body contours, but it won’t improve significant cellulite or tighten loose skin. The best candidates for liposuction are at a healthy weight and have good skin quality.

If your skin is loose due to aging, weight fluctuations, or pregnancy, liposuction isn’t the best option for you. Procedures that both reduce fat and tighten skin include:

Plastic Surgery Myth #5: General anesthesia is too risky; local anesthesia is better.

One of the greatest accomplishments in medicine is the safety and consistency of modern anesthesia.

Depending on the extent of your surgery, general anesthesia is sometimes the safest and most comfortable option. It allows us to use different blends of medications, such as inhaled gases and IV medicines, to keep you comfortable and your vital signs normal.

At the Emory Aesthetic Center, our team of board-certified anesthesiologists and certified registered nurse anesthetists will talk with you about your options and recommend the anesthesia care that’s best for you.

Do you want to learn more?

Emory Aesthetic Center has a skilled team of board-certified cosmetic surgeons who offer extensive experience in a variety of procedures.

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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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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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Boosting Your Buttocks: What You Need To Know

bottom250x250Up until a few years ago, requests for surgery to change one’s buttocks were few and far between, and in fact, a decade or so ago it was more common to have a request to reduce the buttocks than to enlarge or lift them. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, in 2014 (the most recent year in which statistics are currently available), buttock augmentation procedures increased by an impressive 86.1% year over year.

It is interesting to speculate on why this shift is occurring. There is no doubt that having better surgical techniques and improved results over time has played a factor. There has also been the growing influence from South and Central America where the desired aesthetic has always focused on buttock shape. And even the influence of certain celebrities has had an effect . . . think Kim Kardashian or Jennifer Lopez.

The vast majority of patients that come into our office seeking buttock augmentation are asking about the “Brazilian Butt Lift”. This is a term that is a source of amusement to my Brazilian plastic surgeon colleagues as it is not a term they use. For us in the U.S., this term has become synonymous with buttock enhancement using one’s own fat to create a fuller, more rounded shape to the buttock, and doesn’t require synthetic implants. Unlike Brazil, in the U.S. we don’t have implants specifically available for buttock enhancement as an alternative to fat grafts, as none of the implants have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This can be a source of frustration for some patients who have too little fat to provide adequate volume of grafts, as there are currently few additional options.

To be a good candidate for buttock enhancement a patient needs to be of a healthy weight, typically with a body mass index, or BMI, of 32 or less. You must have enough fat on other areas of the body to “harvest” the fat through liposuction. This provides a great benefit for buttock enhancement – not only do you get improvement in the buttocks, but other areas like the tummy, thighs, and love handles can be improved at the same time. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis, so you’ll go home the same day, but you will need to have a responsible adult with you for the first 24-48 hours. Many normal activities (such as driving) are typically comfortable after 7-10 days, and most patients are able to start light exercise within 3-4 weeks, sometimes sooner. The scars are generally very small – about a quarter of an inch – for typical liposuction plus fat grafting. Not infrequently, patients may combine fat grafting to the buttocks with a tummy tuck, in which case the tummy tuck incision would obviously be longer.

While the majority of patients coming to see us are interested in boosting their buttocks, there are special circumstances when we might suggest other options. For instance, if a patient has lost a large amount of weight through lifestyle changes or bariatric surgery, then he or she might be a good candidate for a buttock lift which not only adds volume to the flattened buttocks, but which directly lifts the tissues by excising skin above the buttocks, a procedure which is often combined with a tummy tuck and thigh lift.

If you think that enhancing the buttocks might be for you, come see one of the board certified physicians at the Emory Aesthetic Center for a complimentary consultation. We’ll take a close look at your medical history and the amount of tissue that is available for harvesting to see if you are a good candidate for surgery. We’ll explain the process in detail, and what you as an individual might expect to achieve with the procedure.

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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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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.

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.

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.

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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.

Non-Surgical and Surgical Body Contouring: Setting Realistic Expectations

Body Contouring Expectations

As 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.  How can you know which is best, and how can you make sure that your expectations are realistic?

 At the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), held this year in Montreal, Canada, plastic surgeons from around the world discussed exactly these kinds of questions. This year, I participated in back-to-back panels on body contouring, and thought that the folks here in Atlanta would be very interested in hearing what the experts are saying about the various body contouring procedures and the kind of results that can be expected.

The first panel, which I chaired, was on non-surgical body contouring, and how it compares with liposuction. Anesthesia is not required for these non-surgical procedures and usually one can return to full activities virtually the same day. Such procedures include cryolipolysis, radiofrequency, and different types of external ultrasound. These technologies all work differently but are designed to accomplish the same thing – remove unwanted fat without surgery. Cryolipolysis, better known as CoolSculpting®, does this by freezing the fatty tissues; radiofrequency treatments heat the tissue under the skin; and ultrasound uses sound waves to break up fat cells.

After the panel discussed issues for an hour, several “take home” messages were clear to the doctors. First, non-invasive body contouring procedures do work and are well tolerated by patients, but the results can be significantly less dramatic than those from liposuction. Second, to get the desired results, most patients need repeat treatments of the same area. And third, not everybody is a good candidate for non-surgical fat reduction. The best patients for non-surgical body contouring are at an overall good body weight, have firmer, elastic skin and have a limited number of areas to treat. Patients who will do better with liposuction or a tummy tuck include those who are older or have less skin elasticity, women post pregnancy who may need a tummy tuck, or those with larger, more diffuse fat collections.

The second panel was on abdominoplasty, otherwise known as tummy tucks.  Despite the new non-surgical technologies that are emerging, the number of tummy tucks done each year in the United States continues to grow. There are several reasons for this continued growth in the number. First of all, tummy tucks really work, and the results can be among the most dramatic of the body contouring procedures. Second, there have been significant improvements in the way abdominoplasties are performed. These include better ways to control pain after surgery (for example with pain pumps and long lasting local anesthetics), the eliminated need for drains in many patients, and better control of scarring. Third, as many are working hard to control their weight and keep their body in shape, they realize that neither non-surgical treatments nor liposuction will tighten their loose skin, something that is at the core of abdominoplasties.

So as you look in the mirror, how do YOU make sure that you choose a body contouring method that is best for you, and what should you expect? The most important thing is to have a consult with a physician who can offer you the entire spectrum of options – non-surgical, liposuction, or tummy tuck. Listen to what they say. In some cases, patients will have loose skin of the abdomen and weak muscles after pregnancy, and in these cases, nothing short of a tummy tuck will give significant results. In other cases with isolated, small fat pockets, non-invasive CoolSculpting® may be an excellent option. And still in other cases where there are many body areas a patient may want to treat, liposuction may be more effective and cost less in the long run than non-surgical treatments. Ask the doctor about how your skin will change after the procedure, what your recovery will be like, how many treatments will be necessary, and how the treatment options compare. Working with a cosmetic surgeon who has experience with all the options is the very best way to set expectations that are realistic for you.

There is a great old saying that “if the only tool you have is a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail”. In the world of body contouring, nothing could be more true. Many centers that offer non-surgical treatments can’t offer you liposuction or a tummy tuck, so guess what? They’ll offer you what they have. Even worse, in many cases you might not even be evaluated by a physician who is trained in all the different techniques, so they can’t help guide you to compare realistic expectations between the options. And for those who are not good candidates for non-surgical technologies, this can be a prescription for disappointment.

At the Emory Aesthetic Center, we not only offer the full spectrum of body contouring options – from CoolSculpting® to liposuction to abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) – but we also require that all patients interested in body contouring have a consultation with one of our board certified physicians to discuss exactly these issues. We want you to love the results of your treatment, and we will work with you to help you find the best body contouring option for you and to set realistic expectations.

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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.