The first step is to become as educated as possible about the options available to you. The following Q&A with Dr. Chang should answer some of your questions, and help you decide if nonsurgical cosmetic procedures and/or plastic surgery are right for you.
Q: What should I know when choosing a plastic surgeon?
A: You may find that doctors in various practice areas perform cosmetic procedures. They may be board certified by their specialty, but they are not plastic surgeons.
Approximately 30 percent of doctors performing cosmetic procedures are plastic surgeons who are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons (ABPS). This is the only board that certifies surgeons in plastic surgery of the face and entire body. Board certification by the ABPS is the most distinguished and rigorous of cosmetic surgery certifications and should be a major consideration in selecting a surgeon.
Q: What is the difference between BOTOX® and Dermal Fillers?
A: BOTOX® Cosmetic is used to reduce wrinkles, usually in the upper face and around the eyes. It involves injecting minimal amounts of purified botulinum toxin to weaken specific facial muscles. As a result, wrinkles relax and soften, usually lasting three to four months.
There are several types of dermal fillers, such as Juvederm. These substances are injected into the skin and remain there for nine to 12 months. They are primarily used on the lower two-thirds of the face to replace volume loss associated with aging. Dermal fillers are often used to fill deep lines between the nose and mouth, to correct the downturn at the ends of the mouth, to correct the appearance of bags under the eyes, and to plump the lips.
Q: I’m thinking of having a tummy tuck. What if I decide after that I want another child?
A: A tummy tuck (or abdominoplasty) involves surgically removing excess skin and fat from the middle and lower part of the abdomen, and sometimes tightening the abdominal muscles. Ideally, women planning future pregnancies should consider waiting for a tummy tuck. Women who have had a tummy tuck and then become pregnant are at risk that the muscles that were tightened during a tummy tuck may separate again. However, many women become pregnant after tummy tuck surgery and do not experience any problems.
Q: Can I breastfeed after breast augmentation?
A: Having breast implants does not mean you won’t be able to breastfeed your baby. If you have breast augmentation during your childbearing years, it is important to have the procedure performed by an experienced and skilled board-certified plastic surgeon. This will limit the risks of your breast implants interfering with lactation.
Q: I want to look natural, but my face is showing signs of aging. What can I do to help turn back the clock?
A: A mini-facelift may be the perfect solution to help restore the appearance of your face while allowing you to retain your natural appearance. It will help reduce sagging around your neck, jawline and cheeks. The procedure, sometimes called a weekend lift, usually takes an hour and requires no general anesthesia. Swelling and bruising is minimal, and the recovery period is just a few days. While the results will not last as long, it’s a less invasive procedure than a traditional facelift.
Q: What is the difference between IPL PhotoFacial, ProFractional and MicroLaser Peel?
A: IPL PhotoFacial reduces or eliminates brown spots and freckling due to sun damage and/or redness associated with Rosacea. Many areas of the body can be treated with an IPL PhotoFacial including the face, chest, back, arms, legs, and hands.
ProFractional Laser treatments produce collagen, tighten skin, and treat fine lines and scarring. This technology penetrates deep into the dermis in micro-zones. A ProFractional treatment is likened to aerating your lawn; after a few days your face looks renewed, as does your lawn.
MicroLaser Peel resurfaces the face. This treatment reduces fine lines and irregular pigmentation for a more uniform facial texture and color. For optimal results, many patients combine two or three laser treatments, according to their individual goals.
Q: If I have plastic surgery, will I have scars?
A: Scars are a natural part of the healing process after plastic surgery. Most scars will ultimately become flat, pale areas the same size as the original incision. Various factors affect how scars heal, including things like nutrition, heredity, race and smoking. A board certified plastic surgeon has been trained in techniques to minimize scars.
Q: I don’t want larger breasts, but mine are sagging. Is there anything I can do?
A: Many women find themselves with droopy breasts caused by pregnancy, breast-feeding or age. These women are good candidates for a breast lift. Some of these women who have lost breast fullness may also benefit from breast implants.
Q: Is laser liposuction as good as traditional liposuction?
A: Traditional and laser liposuction procedures remove fat from your body using suction. Laser-assisted lipolysis, known as laser liposuction, is a relatively new alternative to traditional liposuction and is often sought by those who are adverse to surgery. This procedure is most effective when the goal is to remove small amounts of fat. It is performed under local anesthesia and generally has a faster recovery time than traditional liposuction.
Traditional liposuction is a surgical procedure that usually requires general anesthesia. It is most effective in removing significant amounts of fat from the body. Despite the increased risk of traditional liposuction, we believe that traditional liposuction results are superior to those of laser liposuction.
Dr. Phillip Chang is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons. Dr. Chang’s plastic surgery practice, Aesthetica Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Center, is located in the Lansdowne area of Leesburg, Virginia.