Revealing the Beauty Within: Dermabrasion and Chemical Peels

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By Mary Cunningham

Most of us dream of recapturing the essence of youth and returning to the dewy freshness that’s faded with the years due to hours on the beach, long runs in the summer, that pesky smoking habit in college, and exposure to other environmental toxins. Every line tells a story and sometimes we don’t want those stories broadcast.

While face, brow and neck lifts can transform a face into a more youthful version of itself, there are other options to enhance the look and feel of our skin– which is thankfully much less expensive and non-invasive. Awesome.

Dermabrasion, dermplaning, dermblading- are all terms for using a small sharp object or rough surface to remove surface acne scars, fine wrinkles and other skin imperfections.

An alternative, one with which I have a LOT of experience, is any one of a variety of chemical peels. Peels can successfully reduce the size of pores and the appearance of wrinkles and scars. There are varying levels of intensity, based on the type and concentration of acid used, and how long it is left on the skin.

In addition to reversing skin damage, both can be used proactively to slow the first signs of aging – which is wonderful.

Yet in both treatments, it is paramount that you trust your skin to professionals because each requires: a) expert evaluation to determine whether your skin type will yield optimal results, and b) precision in execution of the treatment.

In light of the many people performing these treatments, and the potential for lasting skin damage, I want to share a few keys to success:

1) Start by consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in these procedures.

2) Inquire about the details.

Ask to have a patch tested on a part of your skin, other than your face. Skin tone and sensitivity are determining factors in your overall success. For example, chemical peels can have a bleaching effect, so if you have an olive complexion, make sure you are comfortable with a test section first.
Ask how long the full process takes- this is not limited to time in the doctor’s office. Your face will be sensitive, red, extremely sun-sensitive and shedding dead layers for days, and likely weeks (depending on the potency of the acid, for example).
With those answers, plan your treatment accordingly- if it’s the middle of summer and you have a beach vacation planned, don’t try to squeeze these treatments in before. Sometime in the fall–or when you’ll be ensconced in shade–is ideal.

3) Follow the directions of the doctor, nurse and your care team.

Your skin will be extremely sensitive and you must care for it tenderly in these days and weeks post treatment.
Going in the sun at this point could multiply the sun damage because you’re working with a new, gentle layer of skin right now. This is not the time to be careless with your skin care. (That may be what landed you in this situation in the first place. Just sayin’.) If you’ve invested the time in research as well as the money, don’t stop short after you leave the doctor’s office. If there are creams to apply, do so. Make sure that you are not only the ideal patient, but that you are your own personal care-giver.

While we were not all born with the gift of beautiful skin, with just a little time and care plus a lot of expertise, the opportunity for a new, fresh face isn’t just a dream.

Family Bonds Reduce Fears of Surgery

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Written by Linda Hankemeier

Families share so much with one another. Special moments. Heirlooms. Medical information.

Judy Bauman, along with other female members of her family, shared a physical trait – that of being well endowed. And while to some women that might be desirable, Judy found being well endowed challenging to say the least.

“I’m a nurse, and when you’re working with a patient, you don’t want your breasts to be in the way,” lamented Judy. Her cup-size-G breasts would get in the way of normal activities, impede her ability to exercise, and make finding clothing challenging at best. “I could somewhat hide my breasts in my scrubs, but not in regular clothes.”

Over the course of years, the women in Judy’s family who were plagued by this physical challenge all came to the same conclusion: A permanent solution was needed. Each woman, one by one, decided to have breast reduction surgery. As they went through the procedures, the women would gain information from one another’s medical experiences, recovery and quality of life.

“It’s not easy to make the decision to have surgery, and I was the last one in my family to finally go through with it,” Judy stated. “I was the oldest of the ‘girls’ in my family and I put it off the longest.” But, the back and shoulder pain that commonly accompany large breasts wore on her and hit a point at which she could take it no more. She had seen how each of them had benefited in decreased pain and increased convenience and movement.

And while Judy is a nurse and had the opportunity to see several family members go through the procedure, she still gives her doctor the credit for making the entire experience easy-to-understand and navigate.

“She talked to me about exactly what was needed for my specific situation and to get rid of the pain in my back and shoulders,” shared Judy. “I knew what was going to happen, what my recovery needs would be, and how to manage any pain. Dr. Laura Randolph said everything in down-to-earth, lay terms. Even as a nurse, I was very impressed in how she described things in a way that would make them easy for anyone to understand.”

“I really wasn’t surprised about anything that came with the surgeries, not even where the incisions were located,” stated Judy. “My family members who had this surgery quite a while back were impressed with how the procedures have changed over time. For example, I didn’t have surgical drains or anything like that,” she recalled.

Judy’s family was there for her afterwards, helping her through the recovery and as she began her new life. “My surgery was done outpatient and I was home the same day. I was a little sore the first week, but got better right on schedule,” Judy offered. “It was just amazing. All of my family members who have gone through this surgery look great, and we all agree that breast reduction surgery was the only way to go.”

Knowing it is a difficult decision to make, Judy offered a final thought for those women who might not have family who have been through the procedure: “I really hope other women who are suffering through the same thing really think about getting the surgery. It has made such a difference in my life. It’s like I have a whole new life.”


Board-certified plastic surgeon Laura C. Randolph, along with her professional and compassionate staff, comprise Twin City Plastic Surgery. Their Bloomington office is located at 2502 East Empire Street, Suite C, which is one mile east of Veterans Parkway, turning on to Audie Murphy Drive. More information on their practice, surgical options, and their consultation services is available by calling their office at 309-664-6222 or visiting online at

Common Myths About Liposuction

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Written By: Mary Cunningham

Removing fat and weight loss are not equal and accordingly, there are varied ways to achieve each.

You may be able to lose weight throughout your body and yet still be stuck with bulges that just won’t budge. That’s when liposuction may be suggested as a relatively quick and less-invasive procedure (as compared to other surgical alternatives) to remove excess body fat.

How liposuction works:

While there are various types of liposuction, most involve the use of a cannula—a hollow rod, (pretty narrow) with a hole in the end attached to a tube that sucks the undesirable fat out of the body.

What it does:

  • Lipo will alter your silhouette by removing stubborn pockets of fat that are resistant to a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Clothes will fall differently on the body and likely fit better after the procedure. If you are otherwise healthy and fit, you may feel that the change in one area helps you see your body in a new way overall, having eliminated the spot that you might have been trying to mask or cover up for years.
  • Liposuction also leaves smaller scars than more significant body contouring procedures due to the use of relatively small incisions to suction out fat. These incisions are generally placed in discreet locations.
  • In comparison to other body contouring procedures, such as a tummy tuck, liposuction defines your body in a relatively shorter operating time with a fairly quick post-op recovery in contrast to more invasive procedures as well.

What it does not do:

For those who think that lipo is the answer to all their body frustrations, let’s review what it cannot do:

  • This surgical procedure does not affect the appearance of cellulite.
  • Lipo will not stave off fat indefinitely. Pregnancy, age and weight gain after the procedure can alter the original results. Even though some of the fat cells have been removed surgically, the remaining fat cells can increase in size as a result of unhealthy eating or lack of exercise.
  • Only subcutaneous fat is removed via liposuction. Visceral fat is not removed or reduced because this type of fat lies within the abdominal wall. So how do you know if you have visceral fat? In most people, about 90% of body fat is subcutaneous, the kind that lies in a layer just beneath the skin. If you poke your belly, the fat that feels soft is subcutaneous fat. The remaining 10% — called visceral or intra-abdominal fat — lies out of reach, beneath the firm abdominal wall.

Subcutaneous fat is what we see in thighs, love handles and defined rolls around your lower abdomen. But if you have visceral, or “deep fat” surrounding your organs, your mid-section is likely disproportionate to the rest of your body. This fatty inner layer surrounds internal organs and increases the gut overall.

An important reason to know what type of fat you have is not only to reasonably set expectations for what lipo can achieve, but also to be more aware of what is happening within your body. Visceral fat increases the risk of developing diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, high blood pressure, cancer, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have identified a host of chemicals that link visceral fat to a surprisingly wide variety of diseases.

  • After getting subcutaneous pockets of fat removed through the thin suction device inserted via small incisions, your skin may need to be tightened. Lipo does not alter your skin’s laxity, AKA the degree to which it “snaps” back. If you have good elasticity then your skin will adhere to your new shape. If not, excess skin may need to be removed surgically to achieve a firmer and flatter silhouette.

When consulting with your board-certified plastic surgeon, she will discuss these factors with you in-depth to determine the best combination for achieving your aesthetic goal.

Liposuction has a 91.6% patient satisfaction based on more than one thousand ratings. To learn more about the procedure and read patient reviews, visit the procedure page.

Plastic Surgery: What’s Age Got To Do With It?

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Written by Mary Cunningham

Most of us agree that age isn’t a number – it’s a mindset. We hope that our old age will be illustrated through earned wisdom and the care we’ve shown our bodies, not the number on our driver’s license.

Yet, no matter how much we tend to our physical self, there may still come a time when professional help is needed to get the exterior to match our inner sense of youth. From Botox to facelifts, eye surgery to skin tightening, procedures abound to get our physical appearance to reflect our youthful spirit.

But could you be too old for surgery? Turns out, no – at least in terms of what we know about factors in successful surgeries. Given the advancements in technology and techniques to perform a procedure, older patients are just as safe as younger patients to undergo plastic surgery, provided their overall health is not an issue. There are numerous factors involved when you are considering a plastic surgery procedure, which is why it is important to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon in order to determine if you, at any age, are ready to have plastic surgery.

First know that if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or are on blood thinnerselective surgery is not for you, so thank goodness for all the new advancements in non-invasive procedures.

A key factor in surgery success is the invasiveness of the surgery. Surgical procedures have progressed, such that even invasive procedures are not so invasive anymore. They require less anesthesia and can be performed more quickly, which diminishes chances of complications. On that note, it is generally advised to avoid choosing procedures lasting more than 3-4 hours because longer surgeries increase the risk of complications.

Speaking of complications, an article in New Beauty magazine, shares a few to be aware of, at any age.

Kidney Failure – if you have existing issues with your kidneys, the stress of surgery could cause organ failure.

Respiratory Depression – Allergies to anesthesia can lead to respiratory depression, which can lead to severe complications during surgery.

Respiratory Arrest – Patients with sleep apnea may need to be monitored during their recovery if strong painkillers are prescribed post-surgery. The combination could lead to cessation of breathing. Yikes!

The way to prevent these from becoming an issue is to provide your complete health history to your surgeon when you begin to discuss surgery options and details. Expect to get a full medical check-up, including blood work and an EKG. Your surgeon needs to understand your body so that every precaution can be taken to prepare for a successful outcome.

There’s an added benefit for older patients who have decided to undergo plastic surgery too; they will reap benefits of the surgery that extend beyond the obvious. A study was conducted to show the psychological benefits of plastic surgery. Results found that plastic surgery produced long-term psychological benefits and improved the quality of life for older patients. Medical clearance with your primary doctor is usually a good idea after age 60. When it comes to age, we’re allowed to grow old gracefully, but it’s good to know that modern procedures allow us to enlist the help of a good plastic surgeon to help get us there… safely!

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

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