You’ve Lost The Weight: Now What?

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Submitted by Twin City Plastic Surgery

We’ve all heard countless success stories about friends, family members and even total strangers who have lost significant amounts of weight. Maybe it’s even you who has dropped 100 pounds or more, either strictly by diet and exercise or interventional methods such as bariatric surgery. While either of these results in better long-term health, your initial appearance after weight loss may be not quite what you expected.

What happens after massive weight loss?

While you’re carrying those extra pounds, your skin is stretched around areas of your body like the abdomen, arms, legs, breast and face. After significant weight loss, the skin often fails to shrink back, resulting in upper arms that may sag and appear loose or full, flattened breasts, excess abdominal skin that may lay apron-like around your sides and lower back area, and hanging pockets of skin around buttocks, groin and thighs.

Many individuals who have experienced a great weight loss are turning to plastic surgery to improve the shape and tone of underlying tissue that supports fat and skin and removes excess sagging fat and skin. The result gives your new body a more “normal” appearance, with smoother contours.

The skinny on post-weight loss plastic surgery

There are a number of procedures that may be of interest to an individual who has recently lost 100 pounds or more. They include:

Body Contouring

Also called a body lift, this is the most commonly-performed surgery after weight loss. More than 106,000 body-contouring procedures were performed in 2004, up 77 percent over the last five years, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Massive weight loss patients accounted for nearly 56,000 procedures. Body contouring is the removal of excess, sagging skin around the abdomen and a tightening of skin around the buttocks, abdomen, waist, hips, thighs and arms.

Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck involves an incision at the bikini line and around the navel. The surgeon then manipulates the skin and tissues and repairs weakened abdominal muscles. In some cases, you may have an additional incision to remove excess skin in the upper abdomen.

Breast Lift

During a breast lift, excess skin and tissue is removed and the nipple is repositioned. Implants can be added as well to improve shape.

Brachioplasty

 This procedure removes excess skin from the upper arm area.

Face “Lift”

This procedure involves removing excess skin around the face and neck.

Are you ready for the final step?

Many consider plastic surgery the “final step” in their weight loss journey. If your weight has stabilized for at least a year and you’re in overall good health, and if you don’t smoke and are committed to good nutrition, fitness and an overall healthy lifestyle, you are likely to get the thumbs up from your doctor as well as your plastic surgeon to make the desired physical tweaks. However, this process is not one to be entered into lightly. The results may be immediate but the healing will take time, your activity will be restricted temporarily, visible scarring will remain, and it will be your job to maintain a stable weight and overall fitness for the remainder of your life.

No matter if your weight loss is due to diet or surgical means, you deserve to have the body you earned for a lifetime to come.

Plastic Surgery Offers Solution For Enlarged Male Breasts

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Written by Twin City Plastic Surgery

A condition that plagues many men yet goes almost undiscussed in the media is Gynecomastia, otherwise known as enlarged male breasts. Gynecomastia occurs in 40 to 60 percent of men, sometimes as an on-going condition or may develop due to other medical changes.

While a man’s chest typically has some shape, many men find their chest has excess fat or contouring similar to women’s breasts. Gynecomastia doesn’t have a negative impact on a man’s overall health, but can cause social awkwardness or body image issues. And since it receives little public discussion, men facing this condition frequently don’t feel comfortable talking with their doctor or looking for solutions.

The size and shape of male breasts can vary. It’s not uncommon for men with breasts to hide their body by wearing loose clothing or developing a hunched-over posture. Sometimes the condition is noticeable only when a man has his shirt off, such as at the beach or pool. But the condition may be more pronounced on other men, with their breasts showing through shirts and clothing adding to the awkwardness they feel on a daily basis.

No one knows for sure what causes male breasts, but most doctors agree it appears to result from a hormone imbalance. All men have both androgens (hormones that create male characteristics) and estrogens (hormones that create female characteristics) in their bodies. Changes in the levels or in how the body uses or responds to these hormones may cause enlarged breasts in men.

Some young men form male breasts during puberty, but their chest returns to a normal appearance as they grow and mature. Other men find their breasts continue after puberty through the rest of their lives. Being overweight causes the body to develop more fatty tissue and may also aggravate the condition. Using certain prescription medications, steroids, or “street drugs” may also cause male breasts to develop.

Unlike Gynecomastia which results in enlargement in both breasts, some men notice enlargement in only one breast or that the breast has a hard or firm feel. Men who notice these types of changes should visit their doctor immediately to rule out breast cancer.

Currently, the only known treatment for Gynecomastia is breast reduction surgery, and a board-certified plastic surgeon can help a man suffering from this condition explore his options. One of the most rewarding parts of working in plastic surgery is helping people manage the special needs of their bodies.

The physician will conduct a thorough medical evaluation to confirm that the patient is in good health, review the patient’s weight and medication or drug use history, and determine if there are any other medical conditions contributing to the breast formation.

If breast reduction surgery is the right solution, the plastic surgeon will help the patient understand the procedure, any steps needed for preparation, and the potential side effects or complications. Although different techniques are performed depending on the severity, in most cases the surgery will include glandular tissue being surgically removed with simultaneous liposuction to contour excess fat.  Recovery time varies from person to person and depends upon the extent of the surgery. Patients often return home the same day, return to non-physically demanding work in less than a week, and resume normal activities including exercise in 4-6 weeks. 

But, the most important change a patient will experience is the new-found confidence and comfort with their physical appearance. Gynecomastia may not be discussed much in the media, but the only discussion that matters is one a man has with his plastic surgeon.

The In’s and Out’s of Laser Hair Reduction

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Written by Twin City Plastic Surgery

Hair is tricky. You want it on your head but can do without it virtually anywhere else. There are several hair removal options available, and each has their pros and cons. Shaving is the most common method and for many people, shaving works just fine. But shaving must be done several times a week and sometimes, the results are less than ideal. For sensitive areas, like the bikini line, shaving often causes irritation and skin breakouts.

Waxing is a safe and simple way to remove hair for several weeks at a time. Many people feel that the main drawback of waxing is that hair needs to grow for about a week in order for the wax to properly grab onto the hair and remove it from the follicle. Do it yourself waxing seems like it would be convenient and economical, however, most women find that in-home waxing is not as easy as it may seem and often leads to irritation, ingrown hairs, and burning instead of smooth, hair-free skin.

Waxing your skin is an art— that’s why it’s best to trust a professional to get the job done. In order to get the best possible results, it’s important to know the following things before you get waxed.

• Don’t Shave. In fact, it’s important to let your hair grow out for at least a full week before you get waxed— the hair should be a least ¼ inch, to make it easier for the wax to grasp onto the hair.
• Don’t Exfoliate. Exfoliating your skin right before you get it waxed will just cause irritation and will likely cause your skin to hurt more during your waxing session. It’s probably wise to stay off of the exfoliation wagon for at least a day or two before your waxing session— just to play it safe.
• Avoid Retinol. If you use a facial or body cream that contains retinol, take a break for at least a few days before your waxing session. Retinol is great at clearing up acne and helping to get rid of fine lines and wrinkles, but it can also cause your skin to become super sensitive to things like waxing.
• Avoid Moisturizing. Although great for your skin 99% of the time, moisturizers can also clog your pores and hair follicles, making it harder for the aesthetician to get all of the hair out when waxing, so do not apply moisturizer the day of a waxing session.
• Avoid Hot Baths for 24 hours. Hot baths and hot tubs are the perfect way to relax and unwind after a long day. However, because your skin is especially sensitive after getting waxed, you are more prone to getting a bacterial infection from a bath or hot tub that is known to harbor germs. Additionally, the hot temperature could irritate your skin and cause it to become red and inflamed.
• Stay out of the Sun. Because your skin will be extra sensitive after getting waxed, avoid sun exposure for at least 24 hours.

Laser hair reduction is another popular option to get rid of unwanted hair. This procedure initially costs a bit more, but is worth it. After several treatments, many people experience complete hair removal – forever – although results will vary depending on density, color, and coarseness of the hair and the area of the body that you are targeting. If you are deemed a good candidate, you can expect 80% in hair reduction. It’s important to understand that laser hair removal should only be performed by a healthcare professional with proper knowledge and training in the use of lasers. An expert can also advise you on the number of treatments and the results that you can expect to see.

Would You Like Fuller Lips?

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Submitted by Twin City Plastic Surgery

There’s no doubt about it that our lips change as we get older.  They may become somewhat shriveled, the lip line may fade, and those dreaded vertical lines will almost always appear to some degree. While you can’t avoid getting older, there are several things you can do to help lips look fuller and lines less noticeable. 

First of all, you can help lips look better and slow down the loss of volume by protecting them from the sun and not smoking.   Lack of hydration can also cause lines to be more noticeable.  So, regardless of your age or how your lips look now, be sure to always use lip balm with SPF of at least 30, drink plenty of water, and don’t smoke.

For a fast, temporary fix, there are instant glosses that plump the lips.   The gloss irritates the lips so that they “swell” slightly, thus looking fuller.  However, these products are often itchy and uncomfortable. Another option is to use a topical ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid lip serum such as HA Smooth and Plump Lip System by SkinMedica.  This two-step treatment, available at physician offices,  uses hyaluronic acid which can soften the appearance of lip lines by smoothing the skin and temporarily imparting a plumping effect.

One of the best ways to restore fullness and address the problem of vertical lines is through the use of dermal fillers. Fillers are a quick and easy way to help you look more youthful and refreshed by treating not only fine lines and wrinkles on your face, but by placing the filler directly into the lips to temporarily increase volume, which, in turn, reduces the appearance of vertical lines.

Fillers usually last anywhere from 4-12 months. Lips will eventually go back to normal, but they won’t be more saggy or wrinkly than before.  In fact, even after the injection wears off, you might find that your lips continue to be a bit fuller, due to the trauma of the needle indirectly stimulating your own collagen. There is usually some swelling for a few days after injection and the procedure itself can be a bit uncomfortable. 

If you want to try a filler, be sure to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon.  Although injectable fillers are a very common procedure, they are a medical treatment with some potential risks and side effects if not done correctly by a skilled provider. There are different types of fillers and the one that is best for you depends on many different factors. Most providers recommend starting out with a smaller amount to make sure that lips don’t look too oversized.  You want the result to be a subtle improvement, not something that looks ridiculously huge.  It requires a bit of artistry to create the perfect amount of lift and fullness. 

There are many ways to improve the look of your lips.  Set up a consultation with Dr. Laura Randolph so you can understand all your options, the details of how a procedure will work, and decide on the treatment that is best for you.   

Call Dr. Randolph (309) 664-6222 for a consultation. Contact Us

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