A Breast Reduction using Liposuction?

Yesterday I performed a Breast Reduction using Liposuction only. To my surprise, the OR nursing staff was unaware this was possible. So I figured if they were unaware it was possible, most people probably are. So lets talk about it.

Why it works: Well, breasts are normally made up of glandular milk producing breast tissue AND fat. In fact, for many women, the breast is a preferred fat storage site. So, we are able to use liposuction to remove the fatty component of the breast. This can be done with one or two very small incisions instead of the typical larger more noticeable breast incisions.

Limitations: There are limitations to the procedure being done this way. First, you cannot get as much skin tightening this way and you cannot lift the breast as well as with a traditional reduction. Secondly, you cannot suction out the glandular breast tissue component, only the fat component. So gauging final breast size is more challenging.

In the end, it is a very effective technique that replaces the significant scaring of a traditional reduction with almost no scars yet still effectively can reduce the breast.

To learn more contact our East Louisville office at 502-721-0330

Lee E Corbett MD

Medical Director Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and Med Spa


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Plastic Surgery for Weight Loss

scaleOften times when I consult with patients who are considering a tummy tuck or liposuction, they will ask “How much weight will I lose?”. Unfortunately, for most patients the answer is a pound or two, so not very much. Plastic Surgery is just not intended as a weight loss tool.

While both procedures do remove fatty tissue, and in the case of a tummy tuck, loose skin, these just don’t weigh very much. Fat as a tissue, is not very dense. It takes a lot of fat to weigh even a pound. I always weigh the amount removed when I do a tummy tuck and it almost always between 2 to 3 pounds, that’s it. This if for the patients who have a fairly generous roll between their belly button and pubic area. For the patients who really only have loose skin, usually from babies, it might not even weigh a pound.

With lipo, the same applies. I am able to suction out the fat, but fat just doesn’t weigh that much. In the ‘pound of feathers vs pound of lead’ comparison, fat is in the feather category and a tissue like muscle is in the lead category.

What these operations are really intended to do is to shape and contour your figure by trimming off inches. They tighten loose skin and remove stubborn fat pockets to balance your body and improve your shape. They also change dress sizes for a lot of patients. So many patients tell me they have to buy larger sizes to accomodate their thighs or hips or tummy only to have their jeans or pants then be too loose every where else. These are the kinds of problems Lipo and Tummy Tucks do improve.

I hope this helps to answer the weight loss question. If you have questions please contact us at (502) 721 0330 or via our Virtual Consultation page at www.CorbettCosmeticSurgery.com

Lee Corbett, MD

Medical Director Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and Med Spa

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Smart Lipo…my experience over the past year.

Corbett Cosmetic Surgery is the only practice in the State of Kentucky offering the SmartLipo Triplex. This is a 3 laser, laser liposuction machine. This differs from traditional liposuction in that the laser melts the fat cells instead of having to break them up mechanically. The laser also generates heat which helps with skin tightening and coagulates small vessels to minimize bruising.

Our experience is that patients are experiencing a shorter, easier recovery with less pain, downtime, and days off work. Also, in difficult area such as the inner thigh and upper arm, we are seeing much better skin tightening.

If you have questions or are interested in SmartLipo call our Louisville office at 502.721.0330

Lee E Corbett, MD   Medical Director Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and MedSpa


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Which is better, SmartLipo or LipoLite?

We had a great week in the office and saw lots of new patients interested in Liposuction, specifically our SmartLipo™ Triplex laser liposuction option. I did have one patient ask about the difference between SmartLipo™ and LipoLite™ so I thought I would go over that on our blog.

The SmartLipo™ Triplex laser liposuction machine is the most powerful and technologically advanced, from a safety standpoint, laser liposuction machine available. From a performance standpoint, SmartLipo™ offers 3 lasers in one platform. The 1440nm laser targets fat cells and melts them more readily than any other laser wavelength. It also offers a 1060nm and a 1320nm wave length of lights which are blended to coagulate vessels, which minimizes bruising, and heats the under surface of the skin to tighten loose skin. The Triplex is also very powerful. It offers 46 watts of power which allows your surgeon to put a tremendous amount of energy, which translates into heat, into the fat for the tightening effect. The power allows for any size area to be treated from something as small as the area under the chin to the entire front of the abdomen.

With all of this power comes some very sophisticated safety technology. There are two safety features with SmartLipo™ that are unique. First, the laser wand that melts the fat and heats has a motion sensor built in. So if the laser wand is not moving, the laser will not fire. This prevents dents from being created and helps create a more smooth contour. It also has a thermometer built into the tip. While I want to heat up your skin, I don’t want it to get it too hot or a burn will result. So, the Smart Lipo wand is set so that the lasers will automatically shut down as the temp gets past 46º C which is the ‘magic temp’ for heating the dermis. No other laser lipo machine has these advantages.

The LipoLite™ is one laser, the 1060nm wavelength, and is intended for small isolated areas of fat. There are also no safety cutoffs to protect you from burns or contour problems.

So in the final analysis, these are two very different laser liposuction options with vastly different capabilities and safety features.

If you have questions about Laser Lipo please contact our office at 502.721.0330 or feel free to e mail my Aesthetic Coordinator, Misty, at misty@corbettcosmeticsurgery.com

Lee Corbett, MD

Medical Director, Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and MediSpa

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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


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Can Liposuction help me lose weight and lower my blood pressure?

Over the weekend I had a good question posed about what liposuction can and cannot do. So, I thought I’d answer that question on my blog to help clear up some pretty common misconceptions about Liposuction.

First, there are several liposuction techniques. Tumescent lipo, ultrasoninc lipo both internal and external, and laser lipo such as the SmartLipo® technique that I prefer. Although all are a bit different, the end result of any of these techniques is a contouring or sculpting effect. Liposuction is a tool we use to remove fat that will  not go away with a reasonable amount of exercise and when maintaining a healthy diet. Common areas are under the chin, the back of the arms, bra line, tummy, love handles, inner and outer thighs or saddlebag area. The goal when treating any area is to bring that problem spot back into proportion with the rest of your figure. I compare it to a nail file. It is a tool we use to smooth out a “rough spot”.

Liposuction is NOT a way to lose weight. It will not lower your blood pressure. It will not lower your cholesterol, raise your HDL or lower your LDL. It will not help your diabetes. It is not a way to shrink yourself. Again, it is a sculpting tool that we use improve your shape and perhaps trim off a dress size of so by ridding you of a bulge on your tummy or hips for instance.

So why cant we use Lipo to just suck out 30 or 40 pounds of fat? Well, fat is not very dense as a tissue. Think of the “pound of feather, pound of lead” concept. Well, fat falls into the feathers category. It is not a very dense tissue so it takes a whole lot of fat to add up to even 5 pounds. Liposuction is a very safe procedure, in fact it is the second most commonly performed cosmetic surgery in this country behind breast augmentation. That is because Plastic Surgeons use it properly. We remove maybe 2 or 3 pounds of fat with a typical lipo case. In contrast, trying to remove 30 or 40 pounds of fat would NOT be safe and could lead to very serious complications. So the reality is that while removing a tummy bulge or saddlebags may change you a dress size or make your clothes fit a lot better, that’s not enough of a weight change to help with BP or cholesterol or diabetes.

Hope this explanation helps.

Lee Corbett, MD

Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and MediSpa

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What makes laser liposuction different from traditional liposuction?

With traditional tumescent liposuction the process goes as follows: Very small incisions are used to access the treatment area. Then a saline (salt water) solution is pumped into the area. This process is where the word “tumescent” comes into play, it refers to the infusion of the water into the area. The tumescent fluid does 3 things for us. It causes the fat cells to swell and plump so they are easier to break down, there is lidocaine in it to numb the area, and there is epinephrine in it to constrict the blood vessels. We then wait about 15 minutes to let the epinephrine take effect. Then a hollow tube called a cannula is inserted and moved in a to and fro motion to break up and suction out the fat cells.

Laser Liposuction works a little differently. The incisions used are smaller because of the effects of the laser. 1-2 mm incisions are made and the tumescent water is placed. With the laser we don’t have to wait the 15 minutes because the laser will seal the blood vessels so that saves us some time. So the 1 mm laser wand is inserted and the laser turned on. The laser wand shoots out blended combinations of laser light that target the water in the fat cells and literally melts the fat. So the fat cell is being melted away instead of being physically disrupted as with traditional lipo. The laser also creates heat which is beneficial because it heats the under surface of the skin causing it to tighten more than is possible with standard lipo. The laser also coagulates blood vessels so there tends to be less bruising than we get with standard SAL (suction assisted lipectomy).

Both techniques will result in swelling so that part of your recovery should be the same with each method but most patients report less bruising, pain, and down time with the laser lipo vs standard lipo.

Lee Corbett, MD

Medical Director Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and MediSpa

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How much weight can I lose with Liposuction?

I was seeing a patient this week for a Smart Lipo consultation and she asked me this question. She was quite surprised by my answer which was, “not much”. So, I thought this might be a good topic to blog about so that you might better understand the role of liposuction.

First, conceptually, think of Liposuction as a shaping tool, a sculpting tool. It is a way that I can restore balance to your figure. Another way of saying it, and I tell every patient this, is to think of liposuction as you would a nail file. It is a tool we use to smooth out a rough edge. For instance, take your back as an example. Say you are OK with your bra line area and you are OK with your tush, but right above your buttocks, lets call this area your hips, you have a bulge. I use this as an example because it seems like every woman who has had a baby has a little extra fat right there. Well, using the nail analogy, I want to use liposuction to ‘file down’ your hips so that they blend more smoothly with your bra line above and your buttock below.  So we are shaping/sculpting your figure to give you a smoother,  better curve. This doesn’t mean I am trying to remove every fat cell in the area, if I did that I would leave you with a dent that doesn’t match what’s around the area. I just want to remove enough to improve your figure. Now, if I am doing liposuction on your tummy, I am trying to remove every fat cell that I can possibly get out as no one has ever complained that their tummy is too flat!

As far as weight loss goes, fat is not a very dense tissue. It falls into the “pound of feathers” category. In other words, it takes a lot of fat to weigh even a pound. With most of my liposuction cases the patient might lose between 3 to 5 pounds, but that’s about it. Now, losing 3-5 pounds might very well enable you to drop a dress size or two. If we get rid of the bulge on your hips or your tummy your clothes will fit much better and you might not have to buy that larger size just to accommodate your problem area. But the idea of liposuctioning off 20 or 30 pounds or more is simply not possible and not done.

Dr. Lee Corbett

Medical Director Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and MediSpa

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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

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Cankles…What can be done

Cankles. I think everyone knows what cankles are. Think Hilliary Clinton. If you don’t know the term it refers to when there is really no taper as the calf transitions into the ankle area. Sometimes this problem is associated with higher BMI patients but a lot of times it’s just the way that particular patient is shaped. The treatment for the problem is Liposuction. However, before you sign up for this procedure you need to understand what you are signing up for! Assuming you are a healthy patient, having the procedure done isn’t really a big deal. It would take about 1 to 1.5 hours under anesthesia on an outpatient basis. So the surgery itself isn’t the issue, the swelling after is. Any time we do liposuction, whether its traditional tumescent liposuction, ultrasonic lipo, or SmartLipo laser liposuction, we traumatize the soft tissues in that area and swelling results. That is a normal process and it is how the body heals itself after we have a surgery or experience an injury. The problem is that anything below the knee will swell more and for longer than any other area of the body. So we’ve now combined a procedure that is known to cause a fair amount of swelling in an area that is prone to swelling more than any other area on the body. Not a great combination. What this means for you is months of wearing compression hose and being very patient with the process. Like 6 to 9 months of patience. So it’s not a procedure for everyone. I have done it before and it works quite well but the patients were will to be very diligent with their compression hose for many months.

Lee Corbett, MD

Medical Director Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and MediSpa


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