Brazilian butt lift surgery task force set up after alarming death rate

A DANGEROUS butt procedure has a higher death rate than any other and Aussie women are being warned to think carefully before committing to it.

A NOTORIOUS surgical procedure, known as the Brazilian Butt Lift, is now considered so dangerous that a specialist Aussie task force has been set up to warn women of its risks.

Inspired by “bootylicious” celebrities and social media stars such as the Kardashians, Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce, the risky operation has raised alarms after a number of complications and number of deaths.

BBL is the colloquial term for buttock fat grafting, an elective cosmetic procedure which can cost up to $14,000 and involves removing fat from one part of the body via liposuction and transplanting it via injection into the butt for a fuller, perkier effect.

According to the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), the mortality rate for BBLs is estimated to be one in every 3000 operations — meaning it has a higher rate of death than any other cosmetic procedure.

THE BOOTYLICIOUS EFFECT

The BBL’s popularity has increased over the last few years, with the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery tracking a 26 percent jump from 2016 to 2017, making it the surgical procedure that saw the second most significant increase performed year over year.

However, its complications have thrust it into the medical spotlight and plastic surgeons across the world have expressed deep concerns over its increasing popularity.

ASAPS has now backed a new “patient safety task force” to investigate the risks and improve patient safety of the increasingly popular procedure in Australia.

“In short, the butt is becoming the new breast,” Dr Tim Papadopoulos, specialist plastic surgeon and past president of ASAPS said.

Kim Kardashian has always denied having a BBL procedure. Picture: Mega Agency
Kim Kardashian has always denied having a BBL procedure. Picture: Mega Agency Source: Mega
‘Bootylicious’ singer Beyonce is an inspiration for many young women. Picture: Mega Agency
‘Bootylicious’ singer Beyonce is an inspiration for many young women. Picture: Mega Agency Source: Mega

Five of the world’s leading plastic and cosmetic surgery-related organisations have banded together to form an “Inter-Society Buttock Fat Grafting Task Force” to research complications and deaths associated with BBL.

“Action must be taken now in order to prevent further tragedies from occurring,” Dr Papadopoulos said.

“The task force is concerned with the high mortality rate of this operation and is aggressively investigating ways to make this procedure safer.

“This new warning emphasises the continued risk that is being encountered with this procedure. Patient safety is the highest priority for plastic surgeons and this multi-society task force is an important and unprecedented collaboration.”

He said the procedure had resulted in an “alarming rate of mortality”.

“This rate of death is far greater than any other cosmetic surgery,” he said. “Having said that, there has been no reported case of a death from BBL in Australasia.”

He this may be due to the cultural and ethnic differences and perceptions of beauty regarding bums.

“Although social media has had a huge influence in promoting BBL, especially with celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez, the volumes of buttock fat transfer overseas don’t necessarily translate to what’s going on here in Australia,” Dr Papadopoulos said.

The surgery can cost up to $14,000. Picture: Supplied/ Cosmos Clinic website
The surgery can cost up to $14,000. Picture: Supplied/ Cosmos Clinic website Source: Supplied

“In the USA, the large African-American and Hispanic populations have generally dictated their beauty norms which promote larger backsides and smaller breasts.

“This is not the case in Australia where women generally prefer larger breasts and smaller backsides.”

WHAT THE TASK FORCE WILL DO

The task force will examine the causes behind complications and deaths to try to prevent them from occurring through a variety of doctor and patient safety education measures, including unprecedented research.

Once those results are finalised, a comprehensive set of guidelines for the procedure will be submitted for publication in major clinical journals.

“Interestingly, while this procedure has been done for decades, it wasn’t recognised as risky until recently,” Dr Papadopoulos said.

The alarm bells started to ring for some surgeons after a 2015 study which looked at 19 BBL-related deaths in Colombia and Mexico over a 15-year period.

A 2017 report also noted at least 25 fatalities in the United States in the preceding five years.

WHY IS THE BBL SO DANGEROUS?

Dr Papadopoulos says every BBL-related death is caused by bits of fat (or “emboli-globules”) which enter the blood stream and clog up the patient’s heart.

“The cause of death is emboli-globules of fat that inadvertently enter the gluteal veins and swiftly make their way up to the heart and lungs, causing patients to arrest and die usually in the operating room during the procedure or in the recovery room shortly after,” Dr Papadopoulos said.

Tim Papadopoulos said women should research the procedure carefully.
Tim Papadopoulos said women should research the procedure carefully. Source: News Corp Australia

“These emboli are unique to the buttock area, as fat injections in the breast, face and thighs don’t produce this same phenomenon.

“The gluteal veins’ distinctive anatomy makes them especially vulnerable because they’re very big and thin, and only one tributary away from the inferior vena cava, which is the major vein in the body running from the pelvis to the heart.

“If a surgeon nicks one of these gluteal veins or they tear because of traction from pooling of fat beneath the muscle, it’ll act like a siphon, sucking in fat around it, and ultimately sending fat up into the heart.”

WHAT TO DO IF YOU WANT A BBL

Dr Papadopoulos said any patients interested in the procedure should research and trust only FRACS-qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeons at accredited and licensed facilities or hospitals. “You should ask to see before-and-after photos and ask for patient references,” he said.

“You, too, should stay informed on the issue, and when consulting with doctors, don’t hesitate to question their approach.”

To find a suitable surgeon search through the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons Member Database.

– Ben Graham 

Article Source: news.com.au

7 things you should know about Rhinoplasty

1)  Cosmetic Plastic Surgeons can sculpt your nose and make it look better, but they have to work with what they are presented.  In other words, you need to reconcile desires with reality.  What do you want and what will my nose allow me to have?  It’s fine to provide your cosmetic plastic surgeon with photos of noses you like, but keep in mind that you may not always get what you want but actually what you need and what is in keeping with your framework.

2)  Perfect noses don’t exist after rhinoplasty.  It’s likely that you’ll still find flaws, possibly any bump on the nasal bridge or an uneven nostril.  Try to keep in mind that you’re going for improvement, not perfection.

3)  You may have “raccoon eyes” and look a bit like an Egyptian mummy for the first few days post-operatively.  If the nose needs to be broken, expect a splint over the bridge of your nose, possible packing in your nostrils and a pad taped under your nose to catch drainage.

4)  Don’t wear glasses/sunglasses for the first six weeks post-operatively, so that the nasal bridge can heal correctly.

5)  You may find this surprising but rhinoplasty is usually painless, especially if you stay on top of your medications.  You will, however, be tired and possibly nauseas.  Your breathing may have been improved if a deviated septum was fixed at the same me.  Sometimes, breathing may be made significantly worse after the procedure (this may result in a very nasal voice for a few weeks to months) but generally improves once the swelling subsides.

6)  What most people find amazing who have had a rhinoplasty is how many family members and friends won’t notice you’ve had anything done despite having your nose reshaped and many weeks recovering.

7)  Right after your new nose is revealed, you don’t look exactly like yourself and that can feel strange and you may feel a sense of disappointment.  You need to give things me to settle down: usually 70 % of the result is seen at 3 months and typically you have to wait 12 months for the final result.

Thanks for reading!

 

Dr Tim – Sydney Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon

www.cosmeticculture.com.au
www.drtim.com.au

Breast Lift and Augmentation: The facts you need to know!

The goals of breast lift with or without breast augmentation are to restore shape, volume, and nipple-areola position. However, simultaneous breast lift and augmentation present multiple problems, specifically because it becomes harder to control all of the variables affecting the outcome when combining the two procedures. No single method is best to treat all types of sagging (ptosis), and maintaining a good blood supply to the nipple-areola complex is of paramount importance, so a staged procedure may be necessary at times.

Why is combining a breast lift and breast augmentation the most difficult of all cosmetic breast surgery procedures? The surgery involves manoeuvres that can be counterproductive to each other since the skin is being removed and when closed back up again, pushes the breast in and upwards, whilst an implant stretches the skin in an out and in a downwards direction. These conflicting tensions can adversely affect the blood supply to the breast and skin which may affect wound healing, scar quality etc. Positioning of both the nipple and breast fold also becomes more challenging during simultaneous lift and augmentation. Secondly, no two breasts are the same, and each patient is seeking a different endpoint, sometimes with unrealistic expectations.

The first thing that I do when evaluating a patient for a breast lift is to ask them if they are happy with their present breast volume. You can simply do this by pinching the skin below the breast and pushing it up where it belongs. Most women are amazed at how little of breast volume they actually have. If that is the case, then volume enhancement, usually with an implant, is necessary along with a lift. If the volume is satisfactory, then a breast lift will suffice.

The second thing to do is grade the amount of breast sagging. This is done by using Regnault’s classification which looks at the position of the nipple as follows:

1)  Grade 1 (minor): nipple at breast fold
2)  Grade 2 (moderate): nipple is below the fold but above the lower breast contour
3)  Grade 3 (major): nipple is below the fold and below breast contour
4)  Pseudoptosis (“false sagging”): nipple lies above the fold, there is little breast volume, some of which lies below the fold

Other characteristics that one looks out for are:

1) Skin: elasticity and excess;
2)  Breast tissue:  firm and fibrous or soft and fatty; and
3)  Skin-breast tissue relationship: firm and adherent or loosely adherent and is the breast full or empty. Skin quality and the skin-breast tissue relationship are the key factors in determining the breast lift procedure and the quality and longevity of the final result.

As a general rule, if the skin elasticity is normal, the breast envelope is full, and the skin is adherent to the underlying breast tissue, then the scars would be limited, and vice versa. In other words, one progresses from limited scars such as periareolar scars (scars around the nipple-areola complex) to periareolar-vertical scars (scars that run down the front of the breast below the nipple-areola complex) to more extensive, full-length inverted-T or anchor scars.

For the patient with “pseudoptosis,” inserting a breast implant alone, usually tear-dropped shaped, is typically all that is needed. For Grade I sagging, an implant alone or a lift plus an implant may be required.

Depending on a number of factors, the lift may be performed via a crescent, periareolar, or vertical approach. A vertical approach is preferred if there is significant looseness below the nipple. However, the periareolar incision is generally used in just a few specific situations. Since this skin-only incision is unable to lift much weight, it is an option in women with small breasts who need only a small amount of nipple repositioning, usually < 2 cm.

In addition, it is considered advantageous in women with pointed, conical or tubular breasts, because it causes areolar flattening and eliminates the tubular nature. The main issue I have with performing a periareolar breast lift is its tendency to cause areolar flattening and leave the areola more prone to stretching.

In Grade 2 sagging, especially where the breasts are large and heavy, a vertical breast lift is often required because it will effectively lift the breast tissue to achieve increased projection. However, a periareolar incision may still be considered for women with light breasts. When performing a vertical breast lift, the procedure may be converted into a short inverted-T lift if a difficulty is encountered controlling the nipple-to-breast fold distance.

With Grade 3 sagging, the lift technique depends on the nipple-to-breast fold distance. If it is > 10 cm, most surgeons perform an inverted-T breast lift. Otherwise, vertical breast lift remains an option that will enable control of the nipple-to-breast fold distance, as the vertical scar tends to shorten in the post-operative period with scar contraction.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Tim – Sydney Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon

www.cosmeticculture.com.au
www.drtim.com.au

Why “Celebrity Imitation” with Cosmetic Surgery?

Why do people try to imitate celebrities’ actual faces and bodies? Why do people think that a celebrity’s physical appearance can be copied? Occasionally I would get a patient presenting to my office for consultation requesting Nicole Kidman’s nose or Kim Kardashian’s butt. Cosmetic surgery is not the same as Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads, with interchangeable noses, ears, lips etc.

Plastic surgeons must work with what you have (reality) and you must understand that what you want (desire) may not be achievable.

We as plastic surgeons are trained to perform delicate operations to enhance or improve people’s physical characteristics in an effort to acquire a more desirable feature. We are also taught to operate within the safest parameters possible because cosmetic surgery is elective surgery, which means it’s a want not a need. Therefore, it is vital for us to properly screen all prospective patients to be certain that they are safe candidates for this surgery. There are basic conditions that should be considered, contraindications to surgery which include physical abnormalities, medical problems that can complicate the surgery or put the patient at unnecessary risk, psychological abnormalities, unrealistic expectations, inappropriate motivations and inherent physical characteristics that hinder the achievement of the best possible result.

For people considering “celebrity imitation”, you should reconsider why you want to look like a particular celebrity.

Why is it that you are trying to become someone else? Why are you unhappy with you?  Furthermore, what if a celebrity’s image changes? As they say, “the media darling of this week is the rehab tabloid queen the next.”

Cosmetic surgery is a big change and so it’s important not to lose yourself as you start to look like someone else. I am reminded from a quote of Oscar Wilde, ”Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Question: Is it worth getting cosmetic surgery to look like a celebrity?  You can leave a comment below.

Facial Rejuvenation: The Five (5) S’s that causes facial skin damage

Often, I’m asked by my Facial Rejuvenation patients about how long their face lift may last. I’m reminded of the French surgeon Dr Vladimir Mitz, a pioneer in anatomy regarding facelift surgery, who told me once he had a crystal ball on his desk to answer such a question! At the time, I hadn’t appreciated how profound this idea was. It makes a lot of sense to me now. Why?

There are several factors to take into account when thinking about treating patients for facial rejuvenation. I call these “the 5 S’s” and they affect your skin and thus the face.  These are:

  1. Stress
  2. Sun
  3. Smoking
  4. Sleepless nights
  5. Sugars

Let’s just take stress’s terrible toll on the skin:

  1. Wrinkles: tensing and tightening facial muscles squeezes and pinches the overlying skin, creating wrinkles and lines.
  2. Acne: hormone receptors connected to the oil glands are triggered by stress hormones, so once they’re stimulated, the gland increases oil production, causing pimples and breakouts.
  3. Hair loss: normally, hair follicles are small and resting, or active and growing, but stress shocks the system, throwing the cycle into chaos and causing follicles to sleep longer rather than produce new hair. Once they wake up, the old hair falls out
  4. Grinding teeth: jaw tension will create lines and wrinkles as skin is pinched and collagen is broken down.
  5. Increased free radicals: stress causes blood vessels to clamp down, causing a shunting of blood away from the skin as blood focuses on internal organs.

Lack of blood leaves skin vulnerable to assault from the sun, cigarette smoke and other outside pollutants that create free radicals. As an example of what stress is capable of, we have all seen people who have lost their loved ones and 6-12 months down the track they’ve seemed to have aged 5-10 years; their skin is more wrinkled, dry and sallow looking. Imagine if you throw in the other factors like sun exposure and smoking and you can see how they can affect the longevity of a face lift. That’s why it’s like looking into a crystal ball. I say to patients that a face lift usually lasts 7-10 years if you are lucky and maintain it with regular microdermabrasion, skin peels and laser skin tightening.

Things that you can do for facial rejuvenation to improve the health of your skin is to:

  1. Use regular sunscreen to protect your skin from free radicals from the outside world.
  2. Use antioxidants either applied topically or consumed orally such as vitamins A, C, E, lycopene, CoQ10, idebenone, green tea and grape seed extract.
  3. Take Vitamin B to stimulate hair growth.
  4. Relax. Calming your central nervous system and mind to give stress hormones a chance to switch off is a good thing. Try meditation, some quiet time or exercise.
  5. Anti-wrinkle injections. These injections not only make you feel better when you look your best, but medically they help muscles relax. There is a biofeedback between muscles and the brain, so if muscles aren’t tense, the brain interprets the quietness as calm and lets its guard down.

Question:  What do you do for facial rejuvenation to prevent facial aging? You can leave a comment below.

Correction of inverted nipples: the facts that you need to know!

As many as 3% of Australian women have at least 1 inverted nipple but the subject of nipple inversion is seldom discussed amongst family, friends or the media. Clearly, nipples are an integral part of the breast, playing a role in appearance, in sexuality, and in motherhood. Therefore, many women who have inverted nipples, feel that it affects their self-esteem and body image.

Most cases of inverted nipples are just born that way (congenital). However, some nipples become inverted after breastfeeding when scar tissue builds in the milk ducts. Nipples that become inverted after birth are usually caused by one of three things: not enough skin at the base of the nipple, constricted milk ducts, or scarring of the milk ducts due to breastfeeding. There are 2 types of inverted nipples: shy and densely inverted.

  1. Shy inverted nipples– can be drawn out with physical stimulation, either sexually or for breastfeeding. Shy inverted nipples may only cause cosmetic and psychological problems.
  2. Densely inverted nipples– this is where the nipples never come out, even when aroused or in very cold water. Densely inverted nipples also have functional repercussions, such as the inability to breastfeed, infection or irritation of the nipple when natural secretions become trapped.While a procedure to correct inverted nipples can have a great impact on the patient’s psyche and correct irritation problems, the ability to breastfeed cannot be guaranteed, as some or all of the ducts may need to be divided in order to free the nipple so that it is drawn out completely. The particular technique I use to correct inverted nipples was taught to me by my colleague and friend Dr. Grant Stevens, a plastic surgeon in Los Angeles, who is a pioneer in new techniques for procedures in breast surgery. The technique is safe, effective, has a short downtime, and the results are long-lasting. Before the procedure begins, the nipple and areola are numbed with an ice cube or pack, and a local anaesthetic given using a tiny needle the size of a hair. This means the patient experiences little or no pain, despite the sensitivity of the area.

The surgery itself is broken into 3 stages:

Stage 1: an incision measuring 4 to 5 mm is made in the lower portion of the nipple. The fibres or ducts are then released that are pulling the nipple down. The nipple is drawn out with much care in order to preserve the ability to breastfeed.

Stage 2: involves a series of stitches around the nipple.  If the nipple is imagined like a clock, the stitches run from 12 to 6 o’clock, then again from 3 to 9 o’clock.  By bunching up the tissue around the nipple, these stitches create a new pedestal for the nipple to rest on. A dissolving “purse-string” stitch is made around the base of the nipple, weaving in and out of the skin, which tightens the base of the nipple.

Stage 3: a small plastic “stent” – like a tiny medicine cup – is placed over the newly extracted nipple. This stent actually holds the nipple in place and ensures that the nipple heals in an outward position. Not only does it help with the nipples’ projection, but it also protects the nipple in the healing stages. This stent is kept on for 1 to 3 days. The patient then returns for a follow-up visit to remove the stent and the process is complete.

Post-operatively, there is little care needed. While the stent is on, patients cannot get the area wet and sexual contact is discouraged for the first week after surgery. Occasionally, the patient may need an ointment to aid the healing, although this is rare. The wound heals very quickly – to the point where the scar is usually invisible by the time the patient returns to have the stent removed (the stitches dissolve within 10 to 14 days). Possible complications include the retraction of the nipple or a local infection.

Although the correction of inverted nipples is a procedure that can greatly assist both the self-esteem of the sufferer and the function of the breast, more and more women are coming to my practice seeking nipple surgery for repair, correction, and enhancement of other conditions too:

  1. Enlarged nipples can be corrected with simple outpatient surgery reducing the length or diameter of one or both nipples.
  2. Reducing enlarged areolas is a quick fix as the areola can impact the appearance of the breasts more than any other feature.
  3. “Puffy” areolas put a cone-like cap on the breasts that some people find unattractive. A simple surgery can flatten the areola and beautify the breasts.

So despite the fact that nipples are usually hidden, women still want them to look attractive. Many women suffer with nipple and areola abnormalities such as inverted nipples, enlarged nipples, and puffy, enlarged or discoloured areolas.  Many of these conditions can impact breast function, but they all impact the way women feel about their bodies. The nipple can be repaired during outpatient surgery or during breast enhancement surgery.

Question:  Do women feel inverted nipples is such a big issue to warrant surgery?  You can leave a comment below.

Can Breast Implants Raise a Low Nipple Areola Complex?

A youthful, cosmetically ideal breast has a nipple areola complex diameter of about 38-42mm.  Some breasts have large areolas from the time that they develop during puberty, and some enlarge later in life with pregnancy and breastfeeding. A large areola tends to make a breast look ’matronly’ even if it is not sagging. Nipple-areola complex diameter can definitely be reduced or enlarged, and this can be performed as a stand-alone procedure or as part of any breast enhancement procedure such as a lift, augmentation or reduction.

An attractive, well-positioned, and proportionate nipple areola complex is an important goal for many women looking to achieve a beautiful breast appearance. This small area of a woman’s anatomy can have a big impact on her satisfaction with her breasts. Women who are unhappy with the appearance of their nipple areola complexes, can have them corrected either alone or in combination with any breast enhancement procedure.

Breast augmentation with breast implants will not necessarily raise the nipple areola complex position in sagging breasts and in fact in some cases may make the areola larger. There are techniques to allow the implant to fall into the lower pole of the breast to create the illusion of lifting with more of the breast volume sitting lower on the chest. This is where using a tear drop (anatomical) breast implant can help as it creates a” bucket-handle” effect on the nipple areola complex.

The submuscular (below the muscle) breast implants are” innocent bystanders” to whatever happens to the breasts, as they are really chest wall implants that simply push the breasts forward. The submuscular breast implants are supported by the overlying pectoralis major muscles. In contrast, subglandular (above the muscle) breast implants are more likely to fall with pregnancy or weight loss, as they are supported only by the overlying breast tissues.

A periareolar (around the areola) or circumvertical (lollipop type) breast lifts are reasonable choices to reduce the nipple areola complex size and raise its position on the breast. These techniques reliably elevate the breast while keeping scars to a minimum. These breast lifts are desirable because of the nipple position (usually at or below the breast fold) and because of breast sagging. Neither nipple areola complex position nor breast sagging would be corrected with breast implants alone. “Blowing up the balloon” with larger breast implants will only create excessively large, still very saggy breasts. Reshaping the breast and elevating the nipple areola complex and breast back up onto the chest will play an important role in helping one achieve a cosmetically pleasing result.

Most plastic surgeons have a clear policy defining the financial responsibility of the surgeon and the patient in case of complications involving breast lifts, both short and long term. The policy should be made clear to each patient before surgery. It may differ from surgeon to surgeon with the majority of surgeons not charging their fee for reoperating on the patient but the patient having to pay the facility and anaesthesia costs.

Many women feel uncomfortable with their breasts their whole life because they had ’droopy’ or enlarged nipples or areolas that looked abnormal. A small surgical procedure to enhance the nipple areola complex can be extremely important for a woman’s self-esteem and self-image.

Question: Does it matter to you whether the nipple areola complex is proportionate to the remaining breast? You can leave a comment below.

Non-Surgical Nose Job – Does It Work?

A non-surgical rhinoplasty (nose job) involves injection of safe and effective filler materials (typically hyaluronic acids, tiny calcium granules or fat injections) to alter the shape of the nose.  Non-surgical rhinoplasty can only be used to alter the shape by adding structure to the nose and cannot remove any structure from the nose.  It is always an “additive” procedure because placing more volume in the nose makes it larger (remember very few primary rhinoplasties are performed to make the nose larger).

Indications

Patients suitable for non-surgical rhinoplasty include:
  1. Noses with small humps or bumps
  2. Asian or primary rhinoplasty patients requiring dorsal augmentation only
  3. Noses that have had prior surgery and are overly scooped (“ski slope noses”) or have small contour deformities/irregularities
  4. Saddle nose deformity (“Boxer’s nose”), which is caused by a collapse of nasal structures typically caused by fracture
  5. Polly beak (supratip) deformity
  6. Nose with a retracted columella (a sharp and deep angle between the upper lip and the nose)
  7. Noses with slight asymmetry
  8. Patients that are too young to operate on

Contra-indications

Non-surgical rhinoplasty typically cannot help with the following types of noses:
  1. Noses with large humps
  2. Large noses
  3. Noses with significant asymmetry
  4. Noses that need a reduction

The most common filler material used for non-surgical rhinoplasty are hyaluronic acid fillers as they can be injected and molded into shape, yet firm enough to maintain their shape after injection. They are very safe and well tolerated by the body. It is very important that the filler material is injected deeply, just above the bone or cartilage of the nose.

Non-surgical rhinoplasty is a quick and easy alternative for those who want to improve certain features of their nose as indicated above.  Non-surgical rhinoplasty takes less than 5-10 minutes to perform and has minimal discomfort and minimal recovery associated with it.  Results typically last up to one year.  The good thing about a non-surgical rhinoplasty is that it is not permanent and if you don’t like your nose enlarged, the fillers will be resorbed in a several month period and it will return to its original size.  Fat grating may offer a more permanent solution short of surgery.  Non-surgical rhinoplasty should ideally be performed by a surgeon who is also experienced in surgical rhinoplasty.

Thanks for reading!

Dr Tim – Sydney Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon

www.cosmeticculture.com.au
www.drtim.com.au

Beware! Women With Funnel Chested Having Breast Augmentation!

Funnel chest (pectus excavatum) is an abnormal development of the rib cage where the breastbone (sternum) caves in, resulting in a sunken chest wall deformity. Funnel chest is a deformity often present at birth (congenital) that can be mild or severe. The cause of funnel chest is not well understood. Yet, researchers believe that the deformity is caused by excessive growth of the connective tissue (cartilage) that joins the ribs to the breastbone (also known as the costochondral region), which causes an inward defect of the sternum.

While the vast majority of funnel chest cases are not associated with any other condition, some disorders may include the sunken chest feature include:

  1. Marfan syndrome: A connective tissue disorder, which causes skeletal defects typically recognised by long limbs and ‘spider-like’ fingers, chest abnormalities, curvature of the spine and certain facial features including a highly arched palate, and crowded teeth.
  2. Rickets: A deficiency disease occurring primarily in children, Rickets results from a lack of vitamin D or calcium and from insufficient exposure to sunlight, which disturbs normal bone growth.
  3. Scoliosis: A curvature of the spine.

Although the condition of funnel chest is relatively uncommon, it presents its own unique problems for women requesting breast augmentation. The commonest question asked is, “Which pocket is best to place the implants?”

In women with funnel chest deformity, I have tended to place the breast implants under the muscle because the breast and skin can be very thin over the midline of the chest and can make the implants more visible with a higher chance of rippling.

I also inform my funnel chest patients that the breast implants tend to slide towards the middle of the chest creating a very pronounced cleavage with nipples that tend to face inward (“cross-eyed” appearance). Because the patient with a funnel chest has a deeper midline, they will generate much more cleavage faster than patients with a flat chest wall. In worse case scenarios, the breast implants can slide towards the midline and “kiss each other” creating the “figure-of-8” or “bread loaf” deformity. Consequently, the experienced plastic surgeon will use a slightly smaller breast implant and will go under the muscle and make sure to leave enough tissue intact along the midline to prevent the implants from coming too close together.

As you can tell, this is a more difficult operation than regular breast augmentations. In my experience, the breast implants tend to improve the appearance of the “funnelling,” in that the indented area of the chest wall is less noticeable.

Question: Have any women with funnel chest experienced problems after breast augmentation? You can leave a comment below.

Breast Augmentation revisions: 3 facts you must know!

Designing a surgical plan that can deliver a satisfactory result for women seeking surgical revision after breast augmentation can be quite difficult.  It still requires the plastic surgeon to obtain a good history, perform a careful clinical examination and identify the woman’s concerns and goals.

Revisional surgery after breast augmentation is typically more complex, because of the diversity of presentations and the interval elapsed since their primary surgery.  Additional surgery may be required because of anatomical changes caused by the previous procedure or that have occurred over me.  This information must be explained to and understood by women who may be expecting an easy fix. Furthermore, plastic surgeons may face the challenge of communicating with a dissatisfied and angry patient and therefore, in-depth and honest discussions outlining the risks, benefits, and costs of the various options remain paramount for achieving success.

There are 3 key facts women seeking revisional surgery after breast augmentation need to consider:

1)  Your plastic surgeon needs to listen carefully to what you’re saying.  They must find out what’s motivating you in order to satisfy your goals.  If your problem, however, is imperceptible to them, or you’re seeking an outcome they consider unattainable, they may not be able to help you reach your goals.

2)  Use visuals to enhance your consultation.  Visuals are extremely useful in helping you to understand all your options.  Your plastic surgeon should draw schematic diagrams to explain the various techniques and present you with lots of pictures of previous patients, which should be catalogued by physical attributes, rather than by implant volume or bra size.

3)  Make sure all your options are given to you in detail.  Your plastic surgeon should take a systematic approach to counseling you about your surgical options, beginning by describing the simplest, least-expensive procedure and moving up in terms of complexity and cost. Outlining all of the information so that you understand the basis for your recommendations and the likely outcomes should help you reach an informed decision and choose an operation that will deliver a satisfactory result.

If you have cost in mind and are dissatisfied after your recent primary surgery, then try and rectify the situation by returning to your previous surgeon. If this is not an option because of poor surgeon-patient communication, then you should seek another surgeon.

Thanks for reading!

 

Dr Tim – Sydney Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon

www.cosmeticculture.com.au
www.drtim.com.au

 

Breast Augmentation vs. Breast Lift – Know it all!

Like many women, you may find yourself choosing between these two procedures or choosing both. Each has its own unique goals, and the procedures are often combined to achieve an even more attractive curvature.

Breast Augmentation Goals
The goal of breast augmentation surgery is to make your breasts bigger and/or fuller (more projected). Women differ so vastly in shape, size, and frame that a number of options have been developed that offer something for everyone. You can choose from:

  1. Silicone gel or saline implants
  2. Textured or smooth surfaced implants
  3. Implant placement behind the breast tissue or behind the pectoralis muscle
  4. Round or tear-drop (anatomical) implants
  5. Various sizes of implants
  6. Different sites for the incision (breast fold, armpit or nipple areola complex)

Breast Lift Goals
Breast lift surgery is designed to elevate sagging breasts and restore their youthful, perky stature. Gravity, pregnancy and weight gain have a way of stretching even smaller breasts over time. Weight loss may leave breasts less firm and a bit saggy. Breast lift surgery involves elevating the nipples and lightening the breast skin to restore breasts to an attractive shape.

Breast Lift with Breast Augmentation Goals
The lift removes the excess skin and reduces sagging (pushes things “up and in”). The implant fills the remaining breast skin, adding contour and fullness where minimal breast tissue is insufficient (pushes things “out and down”). As you can see, the forces are opposing, and for that reason, there is a 20 % revision rate for this procedure.

What Makes the Difference?
What makes the biggest difference in outcomes is that the most successful plastic surgeons use the following techniques and protocols:

  1. Minimal blood loss, bruising and swelling by using electrocautery for dissection of the pocket, as well as, gentle manipulation of the tissues
  2. Smaller incisions
  3. No sutures for removal
  4. Specialised instruments for accurate placement of an implant
  5. Adequate pain relief postoperatively
  6. No drains or wraps to manage
  7. Avoidance of blood thinning agents perioperatively (cease multi-vitamins, aspirin, NSAIDs etc.)

 

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Tim – Sydney Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon

www.cosmeticculture.com.au
www.drtim.com.au

Tummy Tuck: 3 essential things you must know!

  1. Before a tummy tuck

When you continually gain and lose weight, the excess tissue composed of skin and fat in the lower part of the tummy becomes a real problem for some people. This excess tissue along with the underlying lax muscles can be dealt with by a surgical procedure known as a tummy tuck, otherwise known as an abdominoplasty. Removing the “muffin top” (the tissues between the belly button and pubis), then re-draping the skin from above the belly button to meet the skin on the pubis and repositioning the belly button, are the basis of all tummy tucks.

One of the keys to a tummy tuck is finding out how much excess skin and fat, as well as, muscle laxity you have in your tummy, is to bend over at the waist and “let it all hang out.” The next step is to pinch these tissues and tighten the tummy muscles, which will give you an idea of how much of the tissues need to be removed.x

Also, you will notice that most of the tissue bulk is in the midline and fades out at the sides. If you imagine this excess tissue as an ellipse on the lower tummy, it will give you an indication of how long the scar will be from one side of the hip to the other. I tell all my patients that the resulting scar can be concealed, that it will generally fade with time, but will always be there.

 

  1. Tummy tuck operation

Just prior to beginning the tummy tuck, I mark the tummy while the patient is standing up. I mark the midline from the xiphoid (“breast bone”) to the pubis. This enables me to realign the midline after removing the excess tissues and to place the belly button in the midline. A second line indicates the position of the lower-tummy incision. This usually lies quite low in the tummy since the most common garment worn by women today is jeans. Finally, areas for liposuction are marked in the upper tummy, the hips and lower flanks (liposuction thins the tissues and allows them to re-drape better).

Our anaesthetists use a laryngeal-mask airway (a breathing tube that sits at the back of the throat) and do not paralyse the patient, allowing them to breathe independently during the entire operation. I begin the tummy tuck operation with liposuction to the tummy, hips and lower flanks.  Then, I incise the skin around the belly button which is still attached to the underlying muscle wall. After making the lower tummy incision, I widely undermine the tissue up to the level of the belly button. I continue the dissection above the belly button to the level of the xiphoid process (lower part of the sternum), making a central tunnel (about the size of a hands width). I then “lace-up” the separated muscles of the midline from above and below the belly button.

Next, the patient is bent at the waist to 45 degrees, and the excess tissues removed so that the two skin edges may be closed without tension. Two drains are brought out below the pubic hairline to capture any excess fluid that may build-up in the tissues. These usually are taken out between day 3 to 5 when the drainage is less than 30 ml’s or so. Lastly, I bring out the belly button at the midline, usually 12 to 15 cm above the lower tummy incision and place a tummy binder on the patient at this time and adjust it to allow for moderate compression.

The patient is kept in a bent position at the waist and knees as they are transferred to the recovery bed.

 

  1. After tummy tuck surgery

After a tummy tuck, the patient will continue to wear TED (compression) stockings and automated calf compressors for 24-48 hours and be commenced on blood thinning agents the following day to lessen the chance of deep vein thrombosis (clots in the legs) or pulmonary embolism (when these clots break away from the legs and migrate through the venous system to the lungs causing a “lung attack”).

The patient is instructed to sleep with several pillows behind her back and a pillow beneath their knees.

They are encouraged to walk to the bathroom the following day, have showers and to undergo regular chest physiotherapy. Patients are advised to wear the tummy binder continuously for the first 4 weeks after surgery, except when they wash themselves or the binder. After this period, I allow them to wear it only at night if they wish, but many choose to wear it longer. I also advise patients that it takes 4 weeks to get back to normal activities of daily living and 6 weeks to resume aerobics exercises.

 

Question: What questions do you have about tummy tuck surgery? You can leave a comment below.

Breast Augmentation Part 4 of 4: The Surgical Facility

Your safety is of paramount importance when undergoing breast augmentation. Always have your surgery in an accredited hospital or day surgery facility. If you are young and healthy, then a day surgery facility is fine. If you are older and have health problems, then a hospital would be a better place to have the procedure performed because of the availability and back-up of an intensive care unit and other highly specialised healthcare professionals.

Accredited means that the surgical facility has passed a set of rigorous examinations to assure that the equipment and procedures meet standards for optimal safety. The hospital or day surgery facility should be fully accredited by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS) or a set of ISO standards that provide the highest standards of service. Patient health, safety, and comfort should be the surgical facilities main concerns and they should continually monitor and evaluate their performance to achieve these outcomes. Another requirement of accreditation is to assure that personnel is trained, experienced, and skilled healthcare professionals and procedures and equipment are in place to deal with any emergency from a power outage to cardiac arrest.

Sometimes it’s reassuring to visit the accredited facility yourself. If you’re not comfortable with a surgical facility, don’t have the breast augmentation surgery there. What you want to see is modern and comfortable surroundings, as well as caring and warm personnel. The operating room should appear state-of-the-art, spotlessly clean, and equipped with the most up-to-date equipment. The recovery area should be immediately adjacent to the operating rooms. Some surgical facilities provide overnight accommodations with one-on-one nursing care especially for patients who need overnight care for more extensive procedures.

The following checklist should help you “tie things up” when organising your breast augmentation:

1)  Check the date of surgery and pay scheduling deposit if required

2)  Review surgeon’s financial policies and policies for refunds

3)  Sign informed consent and operative consent forms for breast augmentation

4)  Schedule laboratory tests and mammography/ultrasound if required

5)  Review medications to avoid and ones to take before surgery

6)  Review post-operative instructions the night before surgery

7)  On the day of surgery wear comfortable clothes, get someone to drive you home and be with you overnight, wear no make-up, and leave your jewellery and valuables at home

Question: What things do you consider important in the surgical facility when having a breast augmentation? You can leave a comment below

Breast Augmentation Part 3 of 4: The Plastic Surgeon

I am amazed at how many patients spend more time shopping for a TV or washing machine than they spend selecting a plastic surgeon. Selecting your surgeon should be the single most important thing that you can do to assure an optimal result.

You should have a checklist of essential things to look for in a plastic surgeon:

1)  Certified by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the only college recognised by the Australian Medical Council that can train surgeons in Australia

2)  Be a Member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS)

3)  Has hospital privileges to do breast augmentation at an accredited hospital or day surgery facility

4)  Subspecialises in cosmetic surgery

5)  Super specialises in breast augmentation

6)  Recommended by a knowledgeable friend or doctor

7)  Has a curriculum vitae that documents scientific presentations and publications

There are also a few less reliable points that I would like to address when choosing a plastic surgeon. Advertisements and media coverage is paid for by the plastic surgeon and does not necessarily reflect how knowledgeable, competent or experienced they are. Your local doctor may not be in the know of who is best to do breast augmentation and may not have an interest in cosmetic surgery to find out either. Some just refer to surgeons who are their friends from medical school, are in the local area and thus convenient, or who may be paid for by the surgeon to refer you. Never listen to recommendations from anyone who is an “armchair expert” or who has no in-depth knowledge of breast augmentation.

At the end of the day, look at the plastic surgeon’s results to see how good they are. Be very careful with “glamour shots” that can deceive because of lighting, patient positioning and camera angle. They may even be “photo-shopped” or airbrushed. Some plastic surgeons may have models as patients that they have operated on their face but not their breasts (which was performed by another surgeon) and use them for advertising breast augmentation.

There are a further number of “red flags” that you should take notice of. These are:

1)  Completed training in a specialty other than plastic surgery

2)  Certified in an unrelated college

3)  Not a member of ASPS and ASAPS

4)  No hospital privileges

5)  If you are given false or misleading information – claims that are too good to be true.

6)  Unwilling to provide you answers to questions regarding credentials or their curriculum vitae

7)  When the office staff are not courteous, knowledgeable, or don’t spend enough time with you, and don’t tell you what you need to know. Beware of staff who give you all fluff, but no substance, and don’t offer to send you any information. Always insist that the price is broken down into the following categories: surgeon fees, anaesthetist fees, costs of implants, operating room fees, hospital stay fees, laboratory fees, mammogram or ultrasound fees, any other fees. Ask how long the prices on the quote last for. Remember, there is no such thing as bargain surgery. Have you ever seen top-quality surgery for a bargain price? How is the bargain surgeon able to offer such a good price?

When visiting the plastic surgeon’s rooms, look around and take notice of the little things. It should be a quiet, comfortable and modern, an atmosphere that reflects the good taste of the plastic surgeon. The organisation, function, and flow of the plastic surgeon’s office is a reflection of the surgeon’s personality and habits. Think about it. If the office looks messy and unclean, doesn’t that reflect badly on the surgeon who accepts this scenario?

Most of the time, you will recognise a good plastic surgeon without the surgeon having to tell you. If they have integrity, are caring and thorough, then this will definitely contribute to what you will get in the operating room and after.

Question:  What factors do you consider important when choosing a plastic surgeon to perform a breast augmentation? You can leave a comment below.

Breast Augmentation Part 2 of 4: The Procedure

The things you need to know to make better choices regarding Breast Augmentation are the following:

 

1)  Match your desires with reality

The surgeon can only work with the issues you bring him. If you want the best result, you have to balance what you want with what your breast tissue will allow you to have and what it can support over time. Also, no woman has two breasts that are the same, and no surgeon can create two breasts exactly the same. Cup size is extremely variable and inconsistent from one brand of bra to another. Women tend to buy a bra that they can fill (or that pushes their breast tissue where they want it to go to create a specific appearance), not necessarily a bra that fits.

Last of all, the bigger the breast you request (i.e. the bigger the breast augmentation), the worse it will look over time. You can’t pick out a breast from a book or magazine and expect the same result unless the woman in the picture looked exactly like you before surgery.

 

2)  Know about the implants

Breast implants are not perfect, don’t last forever, and require some maintenance. If you can’t accept these facts, don’t have a breast augmentation. If you do, then you need to think about:

a) Implant pocket location

Implants can be placed in front of, or behind the muscle. There are less capsular contracture rates when the implant is placed behind the muscle and you can obtain better or more accurate mammograms too. Also, in thin women, behind the muscle is preferable because adequate tissue coverage is most important. Think when you lie in bed, if you are covered by a bed sheet only, one can see the contours of your body a lot better than if you were to be covered by a doona cover, where they are less distinct. Having said that, an implant placed in front of the muscle, will always more predictably control breast shape. How do you decide whether to go in front or behind the muscle? If you pinch the breast tissue in the upper pole and it’s < 2 cm, your best option would be to go beneath the muscle, otherwise, you run risks of seeing the edges of the implant.

One aspect that often gets overlooked is the way the pocket is created. Blunt dissection techniques are fast and efficient but create more tissue trauma, tear tissues, create more bleeding, and result in longer recovery times. Electrocautery dissection techniques use an electric current to seal blood vessels and are thus, less traumatic and have shorter recovery times.

b) Implant Shape

Shapes of implants can either be round or teardrop (anatomical). There is a trend today of women wanting more upper pole fullness and therefore opting for round implants. Given that the breast is constantly evolving and that over time there is a loss of upper pole fullness as the breast tissue “melts away”, breast augmentation with round implants may be a good option for maintaining upper pole fullness in the long term. The other added advantage is that if it rotates, it doesn’t affect the shape of the breast. In contrast, a teardrop implant which is fuller at the bottom and tapers at the top will give an odd shape to the breast if it does rotate. However, breast augmentation with teardrop implants may be better in women who have oddly shaped chests (either long or wide for example) because you can tailor the dimensions of the implant more specifically to fit the breast “foot print” on the chest. Tear drop implants may also be beneficial in women with mild sagging breasts who do not want scars on their breast from elevating the nipple. Tear drop implants have a “bucket-handle” effect on the nipple, elevating them to a higher position on the breast.

c) Implant surface (or shell)

The surface of the implant is made of a silicone rubber and can be textured or smooth. Textured implants have a lower risk of capsular contracture than smooth implants.

d) Implant “stuffing”

The stuffing or filler of the implant can be silicone or saline. Saline is salt-water and is harmless if the implant ruptures. Its biggest disadvantage is rippling and that it takes up the ambient temperature, meaning if you went to the beach for a swim, when you got out, your implants would feel cold. Silicone gel filler, on the other hand, is more natural, more predictable and it is safe. There are grades of silicone gel that range from “jelly” consistency to that of “gummy bears”.

e) Implant size

Remember, the larger the implant, the more tradeoffs and risks you’ll encounter, especially long term.

f) Incision location

The scar can be placed in three areas. The breast fold incision offers the best degree of control for the wide range of breast types and is the commonest type used by far. The periareolar incision (around the nipple-areola) usually heals well because it’s located in the thinner skin but is limited and can’t be used if the areola is not large enough for access. The biggest problem is the increased exposure of the implant to bacteria if any of the breast ducts were to be cut. The armpit (axillary) incision places no scar on the breast but takes longer to perform and harder to control the position of the breast fold.

 

3)  Get well acquainted with the tradeoffs, problems, and risks

Tradeoffs always depend on the details of each specific case, the characteristics of your tissues, and the experience of your surgeon with different options. Every breast augmentation operation carries inherent risks and medical complications are not totally preventable by you or your surgeon. Remember, don’t have a breast augmentation unless you thoroughly understand and accept the potential risks and tradeoffs of the procedure.

 

4)  Know about the recovery

The more tissue trauma caused by your surgery, the longer and more difficult your recovery. That is why it takes longer to recover from a pocket created behind the muscle. Excessively large implants can produce excessive stretch marks that cause more discomfort and temporary or permanent sensory loss. Most women return back to normal duties within four weeks and athletic activities in six weeks.

Question:  Do you think that the benefits far outweigh the trade-offs for breast augmentation? You can leave a comment below.

Breast Augmentation Part 1 of 4: The Patient

There are generally three groups of women who frequently consider Breast Augmentation:

  1. Nature “missed a beat” during breast development: This usually occurs during puberty where the breasts may not develop at all or only develop slightly, resulting in a “bowling pin” type of a look. Apart from making one feel inadequate because there is a disconnect between the narrower chest to the wider hips, it also makes it difficult buying clothes that fit. Some people revert to using fillers and enhancers, but these techniques never seem to compensate, are temporary measures, and they never feel like a natural part of you in the same way as breast augmentation. Breasts can also develop unevenly during puberty, causing both difficulty in buying and wearing clothes, as well as, making one feel abnormal or like a “freak”.
  2. Nature “took a toll” during pregnancy and breastfeeding: During these times, the breast enlarges and deflates repeatedly. This cycle stretches the breast skin especially in the lower pole, resulting in stretch marks. After breastfeeding, the breast tissue itself may “melt away” (especially in the upper pole), sometimes to a size less than before pregnancy. However, the skin never shrinks back to its original size, therefore, the breasts will appear saggy (think of the skin like an overstretched elastic band which frays at the edges). This is where a breast augmentation and/or a breast lift (mastopexy) can be of great benefit to restore the shape, size, and contour of the breasts to the pre-pregnancy state.
  3. Nature “didn’t match desires” of women who want to enhance the shape and appearance of their breasts: Some women want to be the best version of themselves. Others have underdeveloped breasts or have uneven breasts that makes buying clothes difficult. While other women want to “marry” or improve the balance between their chest with their hips. Breast augmentation to enhance the chest further or balance the hips can make an enormous difference to ones’ body shape and self-esteem.

Women who fall into any one of the above groups have every right to want to optimise any aspect of their breast appearance. If this involves breast augmentation, then she needs to also think about:

These factors will be individually discussed in subsequent blog posts. Remember that no choice is perfect and that every choice has trade-offs (you need to know them) as well as benefits. Therefore, choose carefully.

 

Question: What are your reasons for wanting to have Breast Augmentation? You can leave a comment below.

How Do You Repair Torn Earlobes?

The earlobes are the lowest part of the ears made of skin and a small amount of fatty tissue in between. There are large variations in size, form, and shape. The earlobes serve women (and men) as popular locations for placing jewellery. Often, the earlobes are pierced to fit various forms of ear ornaments ranging from studs to earrings which can occasionally set them up for trouble.

Excessive weight or trauma can easily overcome the strength of the earlobe tissues leading to a tear, which if complete, results in a split ear. Some people with rather thin earlobes who favour wearing heavy earrings, experience a gradual elongation of the ear-piercing tract such that it becomes slit-like and often too large. Another problem is that the earlobes can be torn by accidental trauma. This split may be unattractive and renders the earlobe unusable for most jewellery. Sometimes, clip-on earrings can still be fitted and are used to camouflage the earlobe tear.

The repair of torn earlobes is relatively simple. The procedure is routinely performed in the office under local anaesthesia with an optional sedative. After planning and marking, a small amount of lignocaine numbing solution is deposited. I favour a three-layer repair done under loupe magnification. But it is very important to remove the damaged ear-piercing tract or to trim the edges of the split if the earlobe has been torn through completely.

Then the three-layer closure consists of closing the outer layer of skin, the fatty tissue between the two layers of the skin and finally the skin in the back of the earlobe. Typically, the surgeon must take great pains to avoid any notching at the bottom of the earlobe. The fine sutures on the skin are usually removed within 7 days. Small amounts of antibiotic ointment are applied at home for a few days ensuring cleanliness. The healed earlobe has usually a barely visible pencil-fine straight or zigzag scar line.

People often ask if the ears can be pierced again. They can but typically you should wait three months after the earlobe has been repaired. Preferably piercing should not be done within the scar, as this can stretch and inevitably result in another clot.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Tim – Sydney Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon

www.cosmeticculture.com.au
www.drtim.com.au

Wabi-Sabi In Cosmetic Surgery – Imperfect, Impermanent, and Incomplete.

Celebrities, models, and socialites have highlighted some severe complications (including death) from undergoing cosmetic surgery in their pursuit of perfection. This is very concerning and makes me reflect on what beauty is all about. I am reminded at this point of Wabi-Sabi, the Japanese philosophy that embraces the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.

It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It would be interesting to see how much of this ancient Japanese philosophy could be embraced in the world of cosmetic surgery and what a difference it could make.

Wabi-Sabi represents the exact opposite of the Western ideal of great beauty as something symmetrical, extraordinary and enduring. Wabi-Sabi is about the minor and the hidden, the tentative and the ephemeral: things so subtle and evanescent they are invisible to unrefined eyes.

Simplicity is at the core of things Wabi-Sabi. Wabi-Sabi embraces the “less is more” ideal talked about today, yet often ignored. Cosmetic surgery needs a lot of Wabi-Sabi.

Thanks for reading!

Dr.  Tim  –  Sydney  Cosmetic  Plastic  Surgeon

www.cosmeticculture.com.au
www.drtim.com.au

Tummy Tuck Gives You a Waist You’ve Been Longing For!

Flabby bellies are notoriously difficult to control through diet and exercise.  Liposuction may be beneficial for someone who has extra fat around the abdomen, but anyone who also has lost muscle tone and developed extra sagging skin will require a tummy tuck, otherwise known as an abdominoplasty, to achieve a flatter waistline.

A tummy tuck addresses all three major problem areas at once. In one operation we remove:

1)  excess fat,

2)  saggy skin, and

3)  tighten abdominal muscles that may have become distended with pregnancy or age.

Men and women can develop abdominal wall weaknesses as they age that can be repaired during a tummy tuck.

During pregnancy, women lose their waistline as a result of the spreading of the surrounding tummy muscles. This spreading is referred to as ‘diastasis recti’ and is not an actual hernia but does cause a bulge from the pubic area to just above the belly button. Men may also experience this spreading following weight gain or in the presence of abdominal hernias.

The modern tummy tuck is not only a removal of skin but also an operation on fat, and muscle. Incisions for a tummy tuck are made below the bathing suit line from hipbone to hipbone and are generally tailored to the patient’s wishes. Some female patients prefer to wear french cut bathing suits. In that case, the incision comes up a little higher on the side extension. For those patients who prefer a traditional cut swimsuit, the incision is made right at the hip line. In all cases, the incision and resulting scar are fashioned to meet the patient’s wishes and afford them complete camouflage in a bikini or other bathing suit.

Next, an incision is made around the belly button. While the belly button is left intact on the underlying muscle, the tissues beneath are elevated from the lower tummy to the rib cage area and redundant skin and fat are removed, exposing the abdominal wall. At that point, the abdominal wall is lightened by suturing together (or “lacing-up”) the abdominal muscles and repairing any damage that occurred during pregnancy or weight gain. At no time are these muscles actually cut.  It is the lightening of the muscles that really reduces the waistline (and is the main reason for the post-operative pain in tummy tucks). We then perform liposuction on the abdominal wall, waist, hips and “love handles” in an effort to create a smooth, pleasing contour across the entire waistline.

Finally, the tummy skin above the belly button is stretched down to the meet the incision at the pubic hairline. A small incision is made for the belly button, which will reach back through the abdominal wall as usual. The shape and nature of the belly button don’t change unless a patient specifically requests it. Any hernias of the belly button can be corrected. For example, ‘outies’ can be made ‘innies’ or it can be made a bit smaller if the patient so desires. Patients are usually instructed to wear a ”girdle” or medical compression garment over the entire tummy area to provide support and comfort while healing. It takes generally two to three weeks to make a complete recovery, and most of our tummy tuck patients are back to work within three to four weeks.

Question: What steps do you take to try and get rid of that bothersome flabby tummy? You can leave a comment below.

Why a Body Lift Can Help You After a Massive Weight Loss

If you desire a firmer, more youthful-looking body contour, then a surgical body lift may help achieve your goals. It improves the shape and tone of the underlying tissue that supports fat and skin. In addition, the procedure(s) can improve a dimpled, irregular skin surface, commonly known as cellulite.

Body lift surgery essentially sculpts the body by excision of excess skin and fat and reconstruction of what remains into some reactive contours. Body lifts can be performed in two different ways, to treat either the upper or the lower body:

  • Lower body lift: The lower body lift is the most common type of body lift in my practice. It typically includes a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), thigh lift, and buttocks lift performed at the same time. The incision is concealed around the hipline so that it’s not visible when wearing underwear or a bikini.
  • Upper body lift: For patients with severe skin laxity of the upper torso, an upper body lift may be the appropriate treatment. This typically includes a bra line back lift and upper abdominoplasty. The procedure is individualised for the particular patient.

Candidates for body lifts typically have lost large amounts of weight. They should be healthy and well-nourished without vitamin or mineral deficiencies. They should not smoke, as smoking increases the risk of complications.

Body lift is performed under general anaesthesia, with the patient positioned on their stomach, and the surgeon removes a large, belt-like segment of skin above the buttocks, up to the lower back. When the wound is closed, the thighs and buttocks are lifted. The patient is turned over and the surgeon continues to work on the front of the thighs and abdomen. Indeed, when a surgeon performs a circumferential removal of skin and fat of the lower abdomen, and when combined with undermining of the thighs, it will lead to a lift of the buttocks and thighs. A body lift can be done in two stages, with a three-month gap between procedures, or as a single stage surgery.

Patients usually take at least two weeks off from work following a body lift. I encourage patients to ambulate shortly after surgery. They may resume full exercise approximately 6 weeks following surgery. The results of a body lift are visible almost immediately. However, it may take as much as one to two years, or more, for the final results of the body lift procedures to fully develop. Since weight loss patients have poor skin elasticity, the closure must be as tight as possible. However, over-resection of the skin followed by overly tight closure of the tissues can lead to wound rupture or to broadly depressed scars resulting from suture pull through, breakage or premature dissolution. At the same time, insufficient removal of skin and low-tension closure leaves sagging tissues, skin rolls and/or wrinkles. A body lift should be seen as a critical step in overcoming obesity, with the potential of ceasing or reducing medications used for diabetes and high blood pressure. Patients need to take steps following surgery to maintain a healthy lifestyle, ensuring that their new shape will be long term.

Question: Do you feel that a body lift can improve self-esteem following massive weight loss? You can leave a comment below.

What Is a Mummy Makeover?

Many of today’s mums don’t feel they should sacrifice the way they look just because they’ve had children. After multiple pregnancies and breastfeeding, many women find it impossible for diet and exercise alone to restore their figures. These women usually want their tummies and breasts back the way they looked before pregnancy.

These so-called “Mummy Makeovers” are usually performed on women in their 30s or early 40s. There are multiple variations of the Mummy Makeover, of course, and I individualise the plan for each patient depending on their needs. Many women will not need or desire all of these procedures. Each patient determines what her personal Mummy Makeover will involve after we discuss her concerns and options in a thorough consultation.

A Mummy Makeover may be performed in one or more stages. Age, health, needs, and desires are all considered carefully when I formulate a plan for each patient. The majority of my patients choose to do more than one procedure at a time. I’ve had a great deal of experience performing these combined surgeries over the past decade. We take many steps to assure both minimal pain and maximum safety during our procedures:

  1. TUMMY TUCK: The tummy tends to experience the greatest change following pregnancy with stretch marks, loose skin and lower tummy fat being the most common complaints. The tummy muscles may also be stretched to the point that they remain separated in the midline, accentuating the patient’s lower tummy bulge. To treat these problems, I perform a tummy tuck where I remove the excess skin and fat from the tummy and tighten the muscles. Whenever we do a tummy tuck as part of the Mummy Makeover, we perform liposuction and pay special on to the belly button to help create a nice looking midriff.
  2. LIPOSUCTION: After having children, fat tends to redistribute to new areas on the body where it may be unwanted. This is frequently true even if women are successful at losing their baby weight. Most often, bulges of fat accumulated around the waist and on the thighs. On these areas, I frequently perform liposuction as part of a Mummy Makeover.
  3. BREAST SURGERY: The breasts go through dramatic changes with pregnancy and breastfeeding. Patient concerns about their breasts vary greatly, but the most common breast procedures I perform as part of a Mummy Makeover include:

Many of our patients for the Mummy Makeover travel from places outside of Sydney. Our staff can help with the planning of these sorts of trips through our CosmeticCulture Makeover Vacation Program, which makes travel for cosmetic surgery quite easy. More information is available on our website www.cosmeticculture.com.au, including descriptions of tummy tuck and breast augmentation or breast lifts as well as liposuction. You can also email us for more information at info@drtim.com.au or call us at 13000DRTIM.

Question:  Which parts of your post-childbirth body would you like to change with a Mummy Makeover? You can leave a comment below.

Look Younger for 2019!

 

These are my top 10 hints for looking good next year:

  1. Eat well. Preferably, eat smaller meals as the day goes by and eat frequently. Make it a habit not to eat after 9 pm.
  2. Exercise regularly. Remember: ”healthy body, healthy mind!”
  3. Keep your weight stable and within normal limits. Being overweight can predispose you to certain cancers and diabetes, not to mention, heart attacks, strokes and leg ulcers.
  4. Get your general practitioner to do a physical examination and if necessary, run some basic blood tests.
  5. Avoid the 4”S”: sun, stress, smoking and sleepless nights. These can hasten your aging!
  6. Think skin rejuvenation i.e.; microdermabrasion, peels and laser skin tightening. These will give your skin a definite glow!
  7. Start getting anti-wrinkle injections to iron-out those wrinkles that make you a more youthful appearance!
  8. Use fillers to pump-up that lost volume in the cheeks etc. As we age, the fat melts away in certain pockets in the face as does the underlying bony platform. The end result is excess skin that combines with gravity to make it sag. This effect can be countered by using either synthetic fillers or fat injections.
  9. Think minimal scar surgery to rejuvenate the face e.g. a neck lift or remove those bags under the eyes.
  10. Think about a surgical rejuvenation of the upper eyelids and brows by giving them a lift. The eyes and brows are often the first signs of aging in a woman and they usually start to sag in their early 40s.  Remember, ”the eyes are the windows of your soul” and may tell us a lot about your self-esteem and body image.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Tim – Sydney Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon

www.cosmeticculture.com.au
www.drtim.com.au

Teenage Cosmetic Surgery: Why So Much Pressure?

 

There has been a storm brewing for some me now regarding teenage cosmetic surgery.  A concoction made up of quick fixes,  a society obsessed with beauty, and the commercialisation and overexposure of cosmetic surgery. This has all lent themselves to the growth of cosmetic surgery for  Generation  X and younger.  This has been further compounded by the increasing number of medical specialists entering the cosmetic arena.

My worry is that this Generation X and their successors wanting teenage cosmetic surgery may become an abused marketplace.  It would appear that they have it a little easier, in the sense that, they have parents or relatives who have had cosmetic surgery and are approving of it, in an economy that has been both buoyant and robust for some time now.  This takes away from the fact, that teenage cosmetic surgery needs much more scrutiny because it can play on people’s insecurities and promises of an instantly better life.

Most plastic surgeons I believe are responsible individuals with a conscience who try and counsel teenagers, usually in front of their parents, of the risks, benefits, and outcomes of procedures, as well as whether they are appropriate or not. They try very hard to show that TV programs like Extreme Makeover,  Dr.  90210  and  The Swan trivialise and glamourise cosmetic surgery and that glossy magazines like Teen Vogue or Teen Cosmo display airbrushed photos of models and celebrities that are in reality unachievable.

Now teenagers who want to have cosmetic surgery usually have different motivations and goals than adults.  They too have cosmetic surgery to improve physical characteristics they feel are awkward or flawed,  that if left uncorrected, may affect them well into adulthood.  Teens tend to have cosmetic surgery to fit in with peers, to look similar.  Adults tend to have cosmetic surgery to stand out from others.  Teenagers frequently gain self-esteem and confidence when their physical problems are corrected.  In fact, successful teenage cosmetic surgery may reverse the social withdrawal that generally accompanies teenagers who feel different.  Not every teenager seeking cosmetic surgery is well suited for an operation.  Teenagers must demonstrate emotional maturity and an understanding of the limitations of cosmetic surgery.

I would caution teenagers and parents to keep in mind that cosmetic surgery is real surgery, with great benefits, but also carries some risks. Teenagers should have realistic expectations about cosmetic surgery and what it can do for them. In addition, certain milestones in growth and physical maturity must be achieved before undergoing cosmetic surgery. The most rewarding outcomes are expected when the following exist:

  1. The teenager initiates the request.
    The young person must appreciate both the benefits and limitations of cosmetic surgery, avoiding unrealistic expectations about life changes that will occur as a result of the procedure.
  2. The teenager has realistic goals.
    While parental support isn’t lessened at all, the teenager’s own desire for cosmetic surgery must be clearly expressed and repeated over a period of time.
  3.  The teenager has sufficient maturity.
    Teenagers must be able to tolerate the discomfort and temporary disfigurement of a surgical procedure.  Cosmetic surgery is not recommended for teens who are prone to mood swings or erratic behavior, who are abusing drugs and/ or alcohol, or who are being treated for clinical depression or other mental illness.

Some of the commonest teenage cosmetic surgery procedures include:

  1. Rhinoplasty (nose reshaping)

Cosmetic surgery may be performed on the nose to straighten the bridge, remove an unsightly hump, reshape the point or open breathing passages. Ordinarily, this is not performed until the nose reaches its adult size –  about age 15 or 16 in girls and a year later in boys. The procedure accounted for nearly 50 percent of all cosmetic surgical procedures performed on this age group.

2.Otoplasty (ear surgery)

Surgical correction of protruding ears, in which the ears are pinned back, may be performed any time after the age of five. Otoplasty made up 11 percent of all cosmetic surgical procedures performed on this age group.

3. Correction of Breast Asymmetry

When one breast grows to a much larger size than the other, an operation may correct the difference by reducing the larger breast, augmenting the smaller, or both. Many teenagers who want breast augmentation tend to have one breast that is larger than the other – sometimes a full cup size or more in difference. This condition is called breast asymmetry. Using a breast implant in the smaller breast allows the patient to have breasts of the same size. Although waiting may prolong the physical awkwardness, it is advisable to delay surgery until breast growth ceases in order to achieve the best result.

4. Breast Augmentation

Breast implants can be used for breast augmentation in women 18-years or older and for breast reconstruction.

Many teenagers who want breast augmentation to have one breast that is larger than the other -sometimes a full cup size or more in difference. This condition is called breast asymmetry. Using a breast implant in the smaller breast allows the patient to have breasts of the same size. Although waiting may prolong the physical awkwardness, it is advisable to delay surgery until breast growth ceases in order to achieve the best result.

5. Breast Reduction

Surgical reduction of very large breasts can overcome both physical and psychological burdens for a teenage girl.

In fact, many teenagers suffer ongoing back pain due to overly large breasts. Although waiting may prolong the psychological awkwardness, it is advisable to delay surgery until breast growth ceases in order to achieve the best result.

6. Acne and Acne Scar Treatment

Acne eruptions may be controlled by the proper use of modern prescription drugs. In addition to supervising the use of these medications, plastic surgeons may improve acne scars by smoothing or “refinishing” the skin with a laser or with a fine sanding technique called microdermabrasion. Other treatments for acne related skin problems include laser skin resurfacing, dermabrasion, and chemical peels.

7. Male Breast Reduction (Gynaecomastia)

Teenage boys with large breasts, known as gynecomastia, are often eager to undergo plastic surgery. Surgical correction can be accomplished in a variety of ways including liposuction and/or surgical excision of the breast tissue.

As a plastic surgeon, I am an advocate for the right teenage cosmetic surgery, at the right time, and for the right reason. Things like correction of prominent ears, breast reduction in adolescent boys or breast reconstruction in young girls with an underdeveloped breast can truly advance the person’s quality of life. It is our responsibility as plastic surgeons to guide teenagers (and their parents) in the right direction and to educate them that cosmetic surgery is not a panacea for the everyday pressures that teenagers’ face. Cosmetic surgery can make you more attractive but not necessarily happier!

Question: What do you think is the commonest reason teenagers want cosmetic surgery? You can leave a comment below.

Dangers of Excessive Weight Loss

Many women that I see for body contouring usually have tried exercise and dieting to some extent or other prior to resorting to liposuction or surgery. A minority of women have taken drastic measures like excessive gymming or starvation diets to try and fit into single digit or low teen dress sizes. This can, however, cause irreparable health problems like the following:

  • no menstrual cycle or abnormal menstruation in women.
  • prevent women from becoming pregnant.
  • cause premature delivery, the birth of low-weight babies who are also undernourished.
  • loss of libido due to suppression of Follicle  Stimulating  Hormone (FSH) and other secondary sex hormones in the brain.
  • suppress the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis which is responsible for the release of sex hormones
  • anorexia or poor nutrition can lead to osteoporosis.

My advice is that no weight loss or fitness program should be undertaken without the direct supervision of your doctor.  Whether you should lose weight, how much you should lose and how you should lose it are decisions that should be made by a medical professional, who may need to refer you to a nutritionist or endocrinologist for further work-up and counseling.  If you want to lose weight and keep it off, your doctor must be part of the equation.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Tim  –  Sydney Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon

www.cosmeticculture.com.au
www.drtim.com.au

Cosmetic Surgery Tourism: Is It Worth It?

Cosmetic surgery tourism is a price-driven phenomenon that has experienced increased growth over the past decade. Numerous companies offering all-inclusive vacation packages that include cosmetic surgery are popping up all over the world and can be easily located via the Internet. The offers generally include private hospital services and tout ”highly trained” and ”credentialed” medical staff. Since elective cosmetic surgery procedures are not covered by insurance, the price is the major selling point of cosmetic surgery tourism, with entire vacation/surgical packages costing less than individual procedures in Australia.

Although there are many skilled and qualified plastic surgeons practicing all over the world, cautions is warranted as it may be difficult to assess the training and credentials of surgeons outside of  Australia.  Patients may take unnecessary risks, when choosing cosmetic surgery vacations, by unknowingly selecting unqualified surgeons and having procedures performed in non-accredited surgical facilities.  Patients should consider the potential complications, unsatisfactory results, and risks to general health that may occur.

I very occasionally see patients who have had cosmetic surgery tourism done abroad that have gone horribly wrong.

This is commonly due to either bad surgical technique, sloppy post-operative care, or misinformation that leads to a  less than satisfactory outcome for both patient and surgeon involved.  I  can understand that the lure of cheap cosmetic surgery and a holiday in some exotic destination thrown in for less than the price of comparable surgery at home is often too much of a temptation to resist.  Sadly, most people spend more time anguishing over the purchase of the latest and greatest gizmo than their plastic surgeon.  Before you next consider cosmetic surgery abroad, always remember to check:

  1. The plastic surgeon is well trained and reputable and that you feel comfortable with them.
  2. Make sure that you can communicate fluently in their native language or vice versa.  Also, don’t forget that you need a good anaesthetist to keep you safely asleep during the procedure.
  3. Make sure that the operation you are having is the right one for you.  Often with cosmetic surgery tourism, planning and decision making is necessarily rushed.  You cannot have ‘second thoughts’ and when surgery is planned, too often without seeing the operating surgeon or seeing them just before the surgery for the first time, there is no time to contemplate on the decision made or any informed consent.
  4. Determine that the operation is being performed in a safe environment and any prostheses used (eg. breast implants) are of the highest quality. Cosmetic surgery trips are often marketed as vacations  – but vacation activities should be avoided after cosmetic surgery eg; sunbathing, drinking alcohol,  swimming, jet skiing, taking extensive tours by bus or foot.  These can all compromise wound healing and increase infection rates and other problems.
  1. Lastly, you need to establish that there is appropriate after-care in place.  Whilst most things that go wrong usually happen within 48  hours, there are many things that can occur weeks to months down the track.  Revisional surgery may be required when you’re back home and in these instances can be more difficult because of the uncertainties in surgical techniques used.  Remember,  “forewarned  is  to  be  forearmed.”

Question: What are some of the reasons you would entertain having cosmetic surgery tourism?  You can leave a comment below.

Supplements and Cosmetic Surgery

Herbal supplements and vitamins are known to have a significant and measurable effect on promoting wound healing, reducing bruising,  enhancing immunity, and reducing oxidation caused by both surgery and anaesthetic drugs. However, these supplements are still drugs that could cause dangerous side effects during cosmetic surgery. About 50% of cosmetic surgery patients take supplements (usually more than one), but often do not tell their surgeons because they assume they are safe.  Some  of  the  most  popular  herbal  supplements  taken  are  chondroitin,  echinacea, and  glucosamine:

  • Chondroitin is often used to treat osteoarthritis.  People using chondroitin may suffer from bleeding complications during surgery, particularly when used in combination with doctor-prescribed blood-thinning medications (like warfarin).
  • Echinacea is often used for the prevention and treatment of viral, bacterial and fungal infections, as well as chronic wounds, ulcers, and arthritis.  However, it can trigger immunosuppression, causing poor wound healing and infection.
  • Glucosamine, often offered in conjunction with chondroitin, contains chemical elements that mimic human insulin, and may artificially cause low blood sugars during surgery.

Other common supplements taken by patients that may cause thinning of the blood are the “4  Gs”  (gingko biloba, garlicginseng, and ginger), fish oils and Vitamin E.

Cosmetic surgery should be viewed with the same care and concern as heart or brain surgery. Everything we do is important for our patients, so every precaution and safety should be taken to minimise complications from surgery and anaesthesia. Remember, we need your help and cooperation at all times.  Advise us of every drug you take, prescribed and non-prescribed and cease taking any blood thinning agents 2 weeks prior to surgery unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Tim  –  Sydney  Cosmetic  Plastic  Surgeon

www.cosmeticculture.com.au
www.drtim.com.au

Laser Hair Removal Mythconceptions

There is no such thing as a single “best” laser for hair removal on all patients.  The best laser for laser hair removal for each person really depends on his or her skin colour. Thus, multiple lasers exist for hair removal. Different laser types, which emit distinct wavelengths of light, are better for treating different skin types. There are a number of manufacturers that make these laser types:

  • Alexandrite lasers. These emit laser light at 755 nm. These lasers work best on lighter skin. In my opinion,  it has been the most impressive laser for hair removal for light to olive skin types.
  • Diode Lasers.  These emit light at a wavelength of 810  nm.  Lighter skin types do well with this type of laser, as do some darker skin types.
  • Nd: YAG lasers.  These emit a 1064 nm wavelength.  This laser is best for darker skin types, as the higher wavelength reaches deeper into the skin.  This helps to avoid superficial skin melanin,  which pigments our skin.
  • IPL or  Intense  Pulsed  Light. It has been used for hair removal.  Lasers emit light at one wavelength (like laser pointers in PowerPoint presentations).  IPL machines produce a range of wavelengths  (like the cone of light from a torch one sees in cartoons) and are not lasers.  So,  there  is  no  such  thing  as  an  “IPL  laser”  or  “IPL laser  hair  removal”-  it’s  a  marketing  ploy  for  businesses  that  have  IPL  machines  and  not  hair  removal  lasers (the  only  exception  to  the  rule  are  the  few  machines  out  there  that  have  both  lasers  and  IPL  machines  in them).  Several studies have shown that  IPL is not as effective as dedicated hair removal lasers, and carry a higher risk of burns, blisters, and changes in pigment.

In my experience,  the Alexandrite laser is the most effective laser for removing hair on the lighter skin, whereas the Nd: YAG is the safest and best laser for more darkly pigmented skin.  Remember,  every laser  has  a  “target.”  For hair removal lasers, the goal is to selectively target the pigment (in other words colour) which in this case is called melanin found in hair follicles.  Melanin is the reason why we have black or brown hair or shades in between.  The hair follicles are living cells which make hair below the surface of the skin.  When the melanin is selectively heated, this destroys the hair follicle cells.  The lighter the hair, the less melanin the hair follicles will have in them.  As a result, hair that is blonde, white or grey does not improve with laser hair removal.  In my practice,  I have actually seen some patients notice a decrease in lighter hairs,  but it ’s the exception and not the rule.

Melanin is also present in skin and is the cause for dark skin and suntans.  It is the same target that the hair removal laser is trying to reach in hair follicles.  Hair removal lasers may target the melanin in the skin as well as in the hair follicles which sometimes results in burns,  blisters, and change in skin pigmentation.  As a result,  lower settings and longer laser pulse times must be used for darker skin to avoid damage.  As a consequence, more overall treatment sessions will usually be necessary.

Remember, laser hair removal is a medical procedure and you should always consult with a doctor who has extensive experience in lasers and laser hair removal.  This will maximize your chances of a great result.

Thanks for reading!

Dr.  Tim  –  Sydney  Cosmetic  Plastic  Surgeon

www.cosmeticculture.com.au
www.drtim.com.au

Avoiding Difficult Patients

As a cosmetic plastic surgeon,  I try and avoid the potential wrath of a disgruntled cosmetic surgery patient.  I do this by trying to predict who will not be a “good”  post-operative patient.  The key is the initial interview which is used as an effective screening process to pick out the patient with inappropriate motivation,  unrealistic expectations or those obsessed with imagined physical defects.  I then simply do not operate on these patients who  “fail” the screening.  Certain  patient  types  to  interview  carefully  before making  the  final  decision  on  whether  to  operate  or  not  include:

  • Patients whom my staff or I don’t ”gel with”for some reason. Initial “gut instincts” may be correct.
  • Perfectionists: Those seeking a flawless result, cannot accept minor asymmetries or slight imperfections after surgery.  They have the potential to be unrealistic patients.
  • Dissatisfied patients: Some of these were dissatisfied with previous cosmetic surgery by another surgeon. She or he wants me to  “fix it”.  They often put you on a lofty pedestal ready for when they fall when things don’t work out so well.
  • VIPs: Someone highly visible to the public, such as actors,  TV personalities, and politicians, have bigger stakes.

Research shows that a small percentage of cosmetic surgery patients are at risk of experiencing psychological problems, such as depression, after undergoing elective surgery.  Some of these patients sue, harass and even threaten the doctor who performed their surgery.  It ’s important then for every patient to get it straight with their surgeon as to whether they have a policy about who pays for revisions when necessary and to make sure the policy ’s provisions are clear before surgery.

Thanks for reading!

Dr.  Tim  –  Sydney  Cosmetic  Plastic  Surgeon

www.cosmeticculture.com.au
www.drtim.com.au

Anti-Wrinkle Injections: The Facts

Anti-wrinkle injections are currently the most common medical cosmetic treatment.  There have been  17 million injections that have been safely administered for cosmetic purposes alone since 2002.  It is currently approved for treatment of glabella wrinkles, which are the frown lines between the eyebrows.  Any other treatments are considered “off-label” (a common and legal practice in which a drug is used for a purpose other than the officially approved one).

Here  are  some  other  interesting  facts  you  should  be  aware  of:

  • Clostridium Botulinum (the bacteria that causes food poisoning) was first identified at the University of Gent, Belgium, in  1895.
  • Anti-wrinkle injections consist of Botulinum toxin type A, which was isolated in the purified form by Dr. Herman Sommer at the University of California in the  1920s.
  • Botulinum toxin type A stops the release of certain chemicals at the junction between a nerve and a  muscle, so the message for the muscle to  ”work” is blocked and therefore relaxes.  Its anti-wrinkle properties were discovered in the 1980s  by  Dr.  Jean  Carruthers  (an ophthalmologist) and her husband  Arthur  (a  dermatologist) when patients being treated for crossed eyes and facial spasms told their doctors that their lines and wrinkles had vanished since starting the injections.
  • Anti-wrinkle injections are approved in more than 75 countries for 20 different neurological indications and approved for cosmetic use in more than 40  countries.
  • In the  20-year history of using the drug for cosmetic treatments, there is no anecdotal evidence of any long-term problems because any muscle weakness from the injections is reversible because Botulinum toxin type A ’s action is temporary.
  • Botulinum toxin type A has been used in other conditions such as migraines, excessive sweating,  incontinence, hemorrhoids and has even been used on patients with gallstones.
  • The cosmetic formula on uses a much lower dose of the toxin than the one used to treat major muscle spasms.
  • Anti-wrinkle injections are not a panacea for every facial wrinkle.  Those caused by other mechanisms such as hereditary,  smoking, sun exposure, and the effects of gravity,  do not respond adequately.  Nor are anti-wrinkle injections particularly effective for wrinkles around the mouth.  Other treatments (such as Retin-A, chemical peels, collagen or fat injections, laser therapy, or facelifts) may help for people who wish to minimize these types of wrinkles.

A  U.S. consumer advocacy group called Public Citizen has recently asked the Food and Drug  Administration  (FDA) to reconsider the safety of anti-wrinkle treatments.  However, my main issue with them is that they have grouped together adverse events from both the medical and cosmetic uses of the drug.  They pointed to  180 cases of serious complications like pneumonia and difficulty breathing or swallowing, which included 16  deaths  (collected from  9 full years of data).  Earlier in 2005,  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed  1,437  adverse reports:  406 after medical use of the toxin  (217 of them were serious effects)  and  1,031 after cosmetic use  (36 of them serious).  The proportion of serious reports was  33-fold higher for patients treated for medical problems than for those receiving cosmetic treatments and the worst disasters have occurred when unqualified practitioners administered the drug.  The FDA has also confirmed that there has never been a reported death where a causal link to the cosmetic use of anti-wrinkle injection was established.

Don’t forget that many cancer medications are derived from substances that in other contexts would be considered dangerous.  And many other drugs that are licensed for a  particular condition are used  “off label” to treat other problems.  Remember, all drugs have unwanted side-effects, so that with more people using anti-wrinkle injections, the list of unwanted effects may be growing.

Earlier this year,  the Food and Drug  Administration  (FDA) which reviews the continuing safety of anti-wrinkle injections, notified the public about reports of their serious side-effects.  Most of these,  however, resulted from medical, not cosmetic uses of the toxin.  Medical treatments typically require much larger doses, and many of the patients have other health problems that increase their risk.  For e.g. to treat the furrows between the brows,  a typical dose consists of 20-35  i.u.’s  (intramuscular units) compared to over  200 for neuromuscular disorders.  The reactions included respiratory failure (which sometimes was fatal) in a range of doses and use, many of them “off-label” e.g. limb spasticity associated with cerebral palsy in children.

So,  my  advice  to  patients  and  clients  seeking  anti-wrinkle  injections  would  be:

  • Choose your doctor or nurse injector carefully.  They should be both experienced and competent and make you feel safe and at ease.
  • Injectables should be performed in an approved medical office or medical spa.
  • Ques on the authenticity of the injectable.  Ask to be shown the brand packaging.
  • Pay close attention to the potential complications which should be thoroughly discussed during the informed consent process.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Tim  –  Sydney  Cosmetic  Plastic  Surgeon

www.cosmeticculture.com.au
www.drtim.com.au

Breast Implants & Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL)- No Cause For Alarm

Breast Implant & ALCL

Only recently described, breast implant–associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) usually presents as an effusion-associated fibrous capsule surrounding the implant and less frequently as a mass. Little is known about the natural history and long-term outcomes of such disease. It is estimated that between 5 and 10 million women have breast implants. Due to the rarity of a diagnosis of ALCL (3 in 100 million per year in the USA diagnosed with ALCL in the breast) a worldwide collaboration is required to provide robust data to investigate this possible link.

ALCL is a lymphoma and not cancer of the breast tissue. When breast implants are placed in the body, they are inserted behind the breast tissue or under the chest muscle. Over time, a fibrous scar called a capsule develops around the implant, separating it from the rest of the breast. In women with breast implants, the ALCL was generally found adjacent to the implant itself and contained within the fibrous capsule. ALCL is a lymphoma which is a type of cancer involving cells of the immune system. It is not cancer of the breast tissue.

The most recent clinical studies state that it is not possible to confirm with any certainty whether breast implants have any relation to an increased likelihood of developing ALCL, and particularly whether any one type of implant can create a higher or lower risk than another of developing the disease. It should be noted that ALCL is extremely rare and treatable. This is evidenced in particular by three recent papers:

  1. A Danish nationwide study – ‘Breast implants and anaplastic large-cell lymphoma: a Danish population-based cohort study’– concluded that in a nationwide cohort of 19,885 women who underwent breast implant surgery between 1973 and 2010, no cases of ALCL were identified
  2. A review of cases within another recent comprehensive article, ‘Breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma: long-term follow-up of 60 patients’ concluded that: “most patients with breast implant-associated ALCL who had disease confined within the fibrous capsule achieved complete remission. Proper management for these patients may be limited to capsulectomy and implant removal. Patients who present with a mass have a more aggressive clinical course that may be fatal, justifying cytotoxic chemotherapy in addition to removal of implants.”
  3. In a study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Roberto N. Miranda, MD, Associate Professor in the Department of Hematopathology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and colleagues assessed disease characteristics, treatment, and outcomes in 60 cases. They found that outcomes are better in women with effusion confined by the fibrous capsule, whereas disease presenting as a mass has a more aggressive clinical course.Patients should be advised that ALCL is a very rare condition and until any further evidence is presented there is no need to remove breast implants as a matter of course.

 

These data suggest that there are two patient subsets. Most patients who present with an effusion around the implant, without a tumour mass, achieve complete remission and excellent disease-free survival. A smaller subset of patients presents with a tumour mass associated with the fibrous capsule and are more likely to have clinically aggressive disease. We suggest that patients without a mass may benefit from a conservative therapeutic approach, perhaps removal of the implant with capsulectomy alone, whereas patients with a tumour mass may need removal of the implants and systemic therapy that still needs to be defined.

 

We continue to advise that any women with breast implants who experience any sudden unexplained changes, lumps or swelling should speak to their GP or their surgeon.

BC3.004

Following a tummy tuck, patients should take at least 3-4 weeks to recover before returning to work. Normal exercise routines may typically be resumed approximately 6 weeks following surgery.

To learn more about abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), request a consultation by contacting us at 13000DRTIM or emailing us at info@drtim.com.au 

Brachioplasty (aka Arm Lift) for “Bingo Arms”

Brachioplasty (or Arm Lift) removes loose skin and fat from the upper arm. It ranks high on the wish list for many plastic surgery patients who have lost large amounts of weight or who have heavy upper arms due to simple genetic factors. Loose skin hanging from the arms tends to make patients self-conscious, limits clothing options and can even cause people to avoid certain activities, like swimming or playing tennis. Good candidates for brachioplasty are often weight loss patients who shed many kilograms, resulting in excess skin and stray fat deposits. Furthermore, post-bariatric patients should be near their desired weight and well nourished. Men or women with loose upper arms due to heredity and ageing may also be interested in brachioplasty. It’s best not to smoke for proper wound healing.

Techniques

There are a variety of techniques to chose from, so choosing the best approach for each patient’s particular needs is the no. 1 priority of the plastic surgeon. Each patient is unique in terms of skin laxity and other factors. Patients may benefit from one or a combination of the following techniques:

  1. ELBOW TO ARMPIT: An incision from the fold of the elbow to the axilla, or armpit, yields dramatic improvement. This approach is frequently combined with liposuction to eliminate stubborn fat pockets and loose skin. Most brachioplasty candidates choose this method.
  2. LIPOSUCTION ONLY: Patients with some skin elasticity remaining may opt for liposuction only. An advantage to this approach is that scarring is minimal. The right candidate can expect significant improvement, but not as dramatic as when skin is removed as well.
  3. MINI-ARM LIFTS: A mini-arm lift is an option for patients with excess skin in the uppermost portion of the arm, and for those concerned about scarring. In this case, I make an incision in the armpit, sometimes extending a 6-8 cms down the arm.
  4. ARM AND ARMPIT LIFTS: Upper arm skin is thin and sags over time. Some people lose so much elasticity that skin hangs down from their armpits as well, causing embarrassment and difficulty with clothing. These patients are candidates for a combination arm/armpit lift with incisions on the upper arm and in the armpit.
  5. ELBOW LIFT: A smaller group of patients have loose skin above and below the elbow. These men and women benefit from an arm and elbow lift. Great care needs to be taken with the incision across the elbow to remove excess skin while preserving range of motion.

Recovery

Most arm lift patients take a week or two off work after surgery. Most of the swelling subsides after 3-5 days and the wound takes about 10-14 days to heal. You will be encouraged to walk as soon as possible, gradually adding light activities over a few days and resuming full workouts and lifting within 6 weeks.

Risks

Complications of brachioplasty have been rare in my experience. These uncommon risks include infection, slow wound healing, bleeding, seroma and venous blood clots. Even if a complication were to occur, diligent post-operative care would still likely lead to a nice result.

 

To learn more about your arm lift options and whether or not you are a candidate, email us at info@drtim.com.au or call our clinic at 13000DRTIM .

 

Tummy Tuck For Excess Skin, Stretch Marks, Umbilical Hernia & Scars. DrTim demonstrates how a tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, can be performed to remove excess or loose skin, stretch marks (usually from the umbilicus down to the pubis) and abdominal scars from appendicectomies, caesarians, laparotomies etc. If there is an incidental umbilical hernia present, then this can be easily repaired at the same time as shown in this video.

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