Your Weight and Cosmetic Surgery

A common question that I hear when new patients are considering a cosmetic procedure, particularly liposuction or a tummy tuck, is “Should I lose weight first?”

My answer is that you should be within about 10 to 15 pounds of your goal weight at the time of surgery. Mind you “goal weight” is not the same as ideal body weight. Ideal body weight is a weight range that you will find on Body Mass Index charts. However, for a variety of reasons ideal body weight isn’t attainable , and honestly a lot of people feel more comfortable / think they look their best at a weight that is outside of this range. I call this your “goal weight” and I want you close to that number at the time of surgery.

The reason it’s ok to proceed with 10 pounds left to go is because as you lose weight it doesn’t all come off of one body part. There is no such thing as targeted or spot weight loss. Doing crunches doesn’t melt the fat on your tummy, it makes your abs stronger. Doing lunges doesn’t make your thighs smaller, it makes them stronger. When you lose weight you lose it all over your body. So 10 pounds isn’t really going to affect the  outcome. So, if you are more than 10 -15 lbs above your goal weight, it’s best to work on that before surgery.

Every plastic surgeon will have some guidelines on your weight, there are no hard and fast rules on this. But, most of my colleagues tend to agree on the 10-15 pound zone.

I hope this helps those of you who are contemplating cosmetic surgery prepare appropriately.

Lee Corbett, MD

Medical Director Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and Med Spa

 

Tummy tuck or Liposuction? Which one do I need?

This might be one of the most common body contouring questions I answer. And the answer is really pretty straightforward…sometimes. So lets explore this one.

Basic issues:

Liposuction removes only fat, and if you choose SmartLipo, it will tighten skin.

Tummy Tucks remove skin and fatty tissue and tightens your muscles.

So, they are really very different operations and which is right for you depends on what your expectations are.  If you are looking for maximal tightening of your abdomen, a tummy tuck is the right choice. Now, with this comes an expanded procedure, more recovery, more downtime, more costs, but more result. Its a very powerful operation that produces very dramatic results.

I really like my Smart Lipo. In my opinion, this is truly the best option if you are considering lipo. It reduces the amount of pain, swelling, bruising, and overall recovery associated with lipo. Smart Lipo works by using lasers to both melt your fat cells and to heat the under surface of your skin to give a tightening effect. It is basically a “kinder, gentler” way to re-contour and it has the benefit of tightening your skin more than traditional lipo can.

Which option is best for you depends on your starting point and your goals/expectations.

Lee Corbett, MD, FACS

Member, American Society of Plastic  Surgeons

Certified, American Board of Plastic  Surgery

 

What’s a Mommy Makeover?

I’m preaching to the choir here, but pregnancy takes its’ toll on Mom’s figure. Sometimes it’s minor, but sometimes its not. Your breasts take a hit, especially if you breast fed. Obviously your tummy is forever changed, particularly with twins or triplets. And, in a lot of cases, even after you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight, your shape just isn’t the same.

Here are a few truths that a lot of my patients are surprised to hear. 1) Your skin will not respond to exercise 2) There is a sheath that wraps your stomach muscles called fascia. It gets stretched with pregnancy and it will not respond to exercise. Thus the laxity 3) Your breasts will not get more perky if you exercise your chest muscles. 4) Your shape will be different no matter what your weight.

So…there are Mommy Makeovers. A Mommy Makeover is not a specific operation though. It involves some combination of a breast augmentation or breast lift or both. For your tummy/flanks/hips a tummy tuck or liposuction or both are used. Some combination of these procedures adds up to a mommy makeover.

Mommy makeovers are usually done in a hospital setting because they tend to be longer cases, around 3 to 4 hours. I prefer that my patients take advantage of an over night stay after surgery but this decision depends on the scope of the procedure.

After surgery you should plan on about 3-4 days of downtime, back to work is about 7-10 days, and a return to full activity in about 6 weeks.

Lee Corbett, MD

Weight Gain after Contouring Surgery

This past week one of my most favorite patients from this past year came back in with her husband and was worried because her tummy seemed to pooch out more. She had a tummy tuck just about a year ago. She had called and said her tummy was getting bigger. This sounded a bit unusual to me so I asked them to come back in so I could examine her and help find a solution. When I examined her the tummy was still nice and flat, her muscle repair was still intact and her skin was still tight. But…she was definitely a bit more full. When we looked back at her chart from her initial visit and after some discussion it looked like she might have gained some weight over the past year. So she hopped on the scale and sure enough, she had picked up about 15 pounds since surgery.

Weight gain after body contouring surgery usually shows itself as described above. When we do a tummy tuck or liposuction we are not only shedding excess skin and fatty tissue, we are sculpting and re-contouring the body. Now, if you maintain your pre-surgical weight you should maintain your results in the long term. If however, you do add  weight what tends to happen is that the beneficial shape changes that resulted from your surgery maintain but you are just a bit larger. As in this patient, her tummy is still flat, her skin still taught, her muscle repair still intact, she is just a bit thicker at her current weight. What does not happen, and I hear this all the time, is that other body parts become disproportionately large. In other words, for example, your tush and thighs will not get extra large with weight gain if you’ve had your tummy liposuctioned or a tummy tuck. You will simply get larger but maintain your shape proportions.

As for my patient, after a good laugh was had by all three of us, we agreed her best option was to get back on her exercise regimen that had her at her lower weight to begin with!