Ask the Experts

Although most patients who are seeking cosmetic surgery have an idea of what procedure they may be most interested in having, they usually have numerous questions related to the procedure. For the benefit of our current and future cosmetic plastic surgery patients in Sarasota, FL, we have put together a list of the most frequently asked questions that patients have regarding each of the common procedure categories.

If you don’t see the answer you’re looking for, please feel free to submit your question by clicking the button below. One of our plastic surgeons or expert staff will personally answer your question. Finally, attending one of our free seminars is an excellent way to have all of your questions answered. Three of our *board certified plastic surgeons hold an extensive question and answer session at the end of each seminar.

What is plastic surgery?

Plastic surgery is a surgical specialty dedicated to reconstruction of facial and body defects due to birth disorders, trauma, burns and disease. The art and science of plastic surgery is also involved with the enhancement of the appearance of a person through such operations as facelift, rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, liposuction and more.

Answer provided by Braun H. Graham*.

How can I be sure that my surgeon has had adequate training?

Good credentials can’t guarantee a successful outcome; however they can significantly increase its likelihood. Patients are advised to find a doctor who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties to certify a surgeon in plastic surgery of the face and entire body. Certification by the ABPS is the gold standard for plastic surgeons because it signifies that the surgeon has had formal training in an accredited plastic surgery residency program. If your surgeon is ABPS-certified, you can be assured that you surgeon has completed at least 5 years of surgical residency training after medical school, including at least 2 years in plastic surgery, has passed comprehensive testing “boards” in cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. Everything from facelifts and liposuction to intricate wound repair. To verify a surgeon’s certification status, contact the American Board of Plastic Surgery at 215-587-9322 or visit the Board’s web site at www.abplsurg.org or the America Board of Medical Specialties at www.abms.org or by phoning 1-800-776-2378.

Answer provided by Scott J. Engel*.

Will I have scars?

Yes, all plastic surgery procedures cause scars. Our aim is to make the scars inconspicuous. Most scars are placed in areas which make them difficult to see or where they are easily hidden by hair or clothing. The direction and length of the scar is also carefully controlled to decrease visibility. In general, facial scars will not be visible to someone speaking to you at normal conversational distance.

Answer provided by David L. Mobley*.

Will I have swelling or bruising?

Yes, swelling and bruising are part of the body’s normal healing response to surgery. Most patients will be rid of the swelling and bruising by 2 weeks after surgery. Often makeup or clothing will cover the remaining bruising to allow you to return to work or social activities sooner.

Answer provided by David L. Mobley*.

How do I know if I am a good candidate for liposuction or should I lose weight first?

Liposuction is an excellent way to improve the contour of the body and get rid of unwanted bulges – especially along the hips, outer thighs, inner thighs, abdomen, flanks in men, upper back, arms and knees. Liposuction is a procedure that reduces areas which bulge so that they better match the surrounding contour of the body. It is not intended to help someone lose weight or help someone who is significantly overweight. If you see specific bulges you would like reduced and are not more than 40 pounds over your ideal body weight, you are probably a good candidate for liposuction.

Answer provided by David L. Mobley*.

When can I return to regular activity and exercise after my surgery?

Regular activity can usually be resumed within 3 weeks. This includes exercise, running and weightlifting. For breast augmentation, push-ups or bench presses should not be performed earlier than 6 weeks after surgery. Golfers should start with a few 9 hole rounds at 3 weeks before a full 18 hole round at 4 weeks. Doubles tennis players should be especially careful as the closeness of partners can lead to accidental impacts. In general, work your way back into activities over one to two weeks rather than starting where you left off.

Answer provided by David L. Mobley*.

How can I be sure my plastic surgery will be performed in the safest possible setting and by the most qualified surgeon?

When considering plastic surgery, it’s natural to focus more on the expected results than on the surgical process. However, to be fully informed, it’s important to learn about the safety of the procedure as well as the expected outcome. Although thousands of people have plastic surgery every year without complications, no surgical procedure is risk-free.

To maximize safety ensure that:

1. Your surgeon is adequately trained and is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

2. The facility where your surgery will be performed is licensed by the state as an Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC), which must conform to strict safety standards.

3. Your surgeon is informed of any drugs you are taking and your full medical history – especially if you have had any circulation disorders, heart or lung ailments or problems with blood clots.

4. The surgical facility will use skilled, licensed personnel to administer and monitor your anesthesia and your recovery immediately following the procedure.

Answer provided by David L. Mobley*.

I had breast augmentation 3 weeks ago and my breasts are healing differently. What is going on and what do I need to do?

It is not unusual for one breast to soften and the implant to settle faster than in the opposite breast. The breast with the tighter skin often will take more time to settle. I have seen this numerous times in my practice and in most cases the two breasts do even out. It is not unusual for an implant to take 1 or 2 months to settle. I instruct my patients to massage smooth implants, which helps the implant pocket remain open and facilitates settling of the implant.

You are still early in your recovery period and you may do just fine as the healing process progresses. Most of the time, the breasts will even out over the first two months in terms of softness and implant position. However, you should relay your concerns to your plastic surgeon. Ask him/her if things are progressing normally. You should get honest answers. If you feel this is not the case, then consider a second opinion. Always seek out a *board certified plastic surgeon who is experienced in these procedures.

Answer provided by David L. Mobley*.

I am a C cup and want to go up to a D cup. Is it possible to add a small implant to boost the breasts I already have? Or would I need to have a complete set of new breasts? I would like to have fat transfer but the results don’t look long lasting. I want my breasts to remain natural looking, I want them to look exactly the same as they do now just a cup size bigger.

Natural Is Possible…With An Implant or Fat.

When I hear my patients suggest fairly emphatically that they want an augmentation with the most “natural” result possible, I tend to favor breast augmentation with tear-drop or “anatomic” implants. Several models exist from the various manufacturers. Less upper breast fullness results with use of these implants for those that wish to avoid the “augmented” look. At Sarasota Plastic Surgery Center practice, we have the very high-tech Vectra 3D imager which can provide a representation of what your breasts may look like after augmentation with either a round, or anatomic/tear-drop implant.

You also mentioned fat grafting, which is certainly an appropriate alternative. Depending on the amount of donor site subcutaneous tissue/fat you have available, a very nice result can be achieved. Generally fat grafting is performed over a session or two (separated by about 4-6 mos) for increased volume in minimally droopy/ptotic, youthful breasts that you describe. Fat grafting is a lasting procedure, with the caveat that not all fat remains after transfer. I have a tendency to slightly overcorrect/overfill the area in anticipation of this fact. At least half of the grafted fat has been stated to remain after transfer.

Answer provided by Brian M. Derby, MD.