Answers to Common Plastic Surgery Questions

32687068_lPlastic surgeons spend a lot of their time in consultations, answering prospective patients’ questions. Although the answers usually vary from person to person, depending on a whole host of factors, there are some that doctors hear time and time again. Below, two local physicians offer answers to those common questions.

Do I need a breast lift, implants or both?
If you’re in need of a lift but get only implants, you may still be unhappy after going under the knife. “If you have volume loss or drooping to where your nipple points down, an implant alone will not fix that,” says Dr. Erez Sternberg of Ponte Vedra Plastic Surgery. “If the nipple position is normal but the breast is flattened, all you need is an implant.”

Will a breast lift leave noticeable scars?
As with any surgery, breast lift recovery takes time. A scar around the areola and up and down the middle of the breast is scary. But not to worry, according to Dr. Timothy Fee of Coastal Cosmetic Center. “The biggest concern about breast lifting is primarily about scarring,” he says. “People see before and afters online, but those are usually taken one month after surgery where the scars are bright and noticeable. A year later, the scars are almost imperceptible.”

Are breast implants safe?
Everyone has heard a horror story about leaking breast implants. But those days are, for the most part, gone. “Silicone is not as scary as it once was,” Fee says. “The ones we use are the cohesive gel, and they’re very safe because they’re semi-solid materials. They don’t leak because they’re not liquid. You can cut them in half and it will be two pieces, like if you were to cut a piece of Jell-O in half.”

Can I lose weight with plastic surgery?
The short answer is no. Tummy tucks and liposuction can help reshape problem areas and make you look thinner by tightening skin and reducing stretch marks. But you’ll have to lose most of the weight on your own first, or you likely won’t be happy with the results.
“What we get is people asking for tummy tucks, but their tummy is tense. There isn’t a lot to tuck because all the fat is stored internally—the ‘beer belly’ appearance. You can’t liposuction that,” says Fee. “Flab that you can liposuction or tummy tuck off is sometimes only part of the battle… if you can control your diet, then you’ll be a better candidate for plastic surgery.”
Sternberg agrees. “The misconception is that if you’re overweight, just come in for a tummy tuck and you’re good to go,” he says. “It’s not for those who are very overweight. The best patients for liposuction are at or near their ideal body weight and maintain it.”

If I get liposuction, will the fat ever come back?
No—but that may not be a good thing. Lipo removes the fat cells from an area completely, so you won’t be able to gain weight in that spot anymore. “If you [regain] weight, the proportion of fat changes. Say you have fat in your hips. If we remove it, it’s not going to go to your hips first anymore,” Sternberg says. “It’ll go to your arms or your back.” That’s just another reason the ideal lipo candidate is one whose weight doesn’t fluctuate much. Who wants skinny hips and a fat back?

What can I do to make my face look younger?
The answer here depends on a person’s age and how he has treated his skin over the years, such as smoking or wearing sunscreen regularly. “Maintaining the skin is the most you can do for your face without surgery. We try to do things that are non-invasive first,” says Sternberg. That includes lightening creams or chemical peels. “We can do Botox to get rid of fine lines. That’s the middle tier. Then there’s the slightly more invasive, like lasers, peels or skin tightening. The final thing is surgery.”
According to Sternberg, common face complaints that require surgery are puffiness in the lower eyelids, sagging neck skin or jawline and hollowing of the cheeks. But a plastic surgeon can help with keeping your face looking youthful whether you’re in your 20s, 40s or 70s.