Patient Resources & FAQs

PATIENT RESOURCES

For more information about plastic surgery including cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, we recommend the following resources:

A.B.P.S.- American Board of Plastic Surgery.  The only board certification for a fully trained and qualified cosmetic plastic and reconstructive surgeon of the entire body.   www.abplsurg.org

A.B.M.S.-   American Board of Medical Specialties.  The organization that is recognized as the “gold standard” in physician certification.  www.abms.org.

A.C.G.M.E.- Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.  Only Plastic Surgery residency is credentialed by this organization for training in plastic surgery (cosmetic and reconstructive surgery).   www.acgme.org

A.S.P.S.-  American Society of Plastic Surgeons.  The largest plastic surgery specialty organization.   Members are board certified plastic surgeons with experience and peer recommendations.  www.plasticsurgery.org.

A.S.A.P.S.-  American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.    Members are board certified plastic surgeons with extensive aesthetic (cosmetic) surgery experience and peer recommendations.    www.surgery.org


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY

If you have a question not addressed here, please e-mail it to us!

 

How expensive is cosmetic plastic surgery?

Cosmetic plastic surgery procedures vary in cost, but overall have become very affordable.  In the Southeast, we are fortunate to live in an area where these procedure costs are at or below the national average.  Many people are surprised to find that it is less expensive than they expected.

Consult with one of the TRUE Cosmetic Plastic Surgeons listed on this website to get a detailed, expert evaluation and a more precise quote on the costs of your surgery.   An exact price quote will be given at the consultation, while an estimate may be provided by telephone.

 

How long will my cosmetic plastic surgery last?

Most cosmetic plastic surgery procedures have lasting results.  Others may require periodic adjustments to maintain the desired effect.  Barring unforeseen changes in overall health, weight, and lifestyle, surgical improvement should last for many years to come.

I want my face to look younger.  What can I do?

Currently, there are so many options to make the face look younger, decrease wrinkle lines, improve skin tone, correct the sagging areas, etc. it is truly mind-boggling.   The first step is to have a detailed evaluation with a TRUE Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon to discuss the many surgical and non-surgical options.

 

What is a “liquid facelift”?

As we age, we lose fat from our face which causes volume loss, sagging skin, folds, and wrinkles.  Facial rejuvenation can be achieved by using various injectable products which replace the lost volume and decrease the wrinkle lines.  These treatments are less invasive and less costly than traditional surgical techniques and are sometimes referred to as “liquid facelifts.”

 

What is the difference between a “Face Lift”, a “Quick Lift™,” and a “Lifestyle Lift™”?

There are many described techniques for surgical facial rejuvenation that correct facial sagging, tighten the skin, and improve the neck and jaw line.  These are basically called a face lift.  Some surgeons have dubbed or trademarked their particular techniques of face lift with catchy names such as “lifestyle lift™,”  “quick lift™,” “weekend lift,™’’ etc. as a marketing technique.  However, there is nothing about these procedures that any TRUE Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon does not do routinely.

Therefore, although a TRUE Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon may not call a face lift by any particular catchy name, they will use their extensive training and expertise to decide which technique is most appropriate for the patient and execute it precisely.

 

What can be done about the skin hanging over my upper eyelids?

As we get older several changes occur around our eyes.  Typically, the eyebrows start to drop down and the upper eyelid skin begins to sag over the eyelid.  The fat pads around the eyes begin to bulge out and the lower eyelid skin becomes wrinkled and saggy.

There are many corrective options to consider.  Non-surgical treatments such as Botox and laser resurfacing can give improvement in the early stages.  Surgical management is warranted once a certain degree of laxity in the tissues occurs.

The brows can be rejuvenated with an endoscopic brow lift through very small incisions hidden in the scalp.  The upper and lower eyelids can be corrected by a procedure called blepharoplasty, in which the excess skin and fat is removed and the eyelids are contoured to a more youthful appearance.

Oftentimes, health insurance plans will cover upper eyelid blepharoplasty if the overhanging skin is severe enough to cause visual obstruction.  The degree of obstruction of vision can be assessed with a “visual field test.”

Recovery from surgical procedures of the eye brows and eyelids is usually very rapid with very little pain and “down time.”  Most people return to work within a week from the surgery.

 

What is the difference between Botox and Dysport?

Both Botox® and Dysport® are purified Botulinum toxin type A and have been FDA approved for the treatment of facial wrinkle lines between the eyes.  They are often used to treat other areas of the face as well such as the forehead and the crow’s feet area which are “off label” uses.

When injected into the desired muscle the toxin causes temporary paralysis of the muscle.  Then the muscles can not create the wrinkle lines as forcefully and the wrinkle lines become less apparent giving a much smoother look.

Botox was the first to gain FDA approval in the United States and has been used here for over 10 years.  Dysport has been used in the Europe for over 10 years but has gained FDA approval in the U.S.

Both products are temporary and last approximately 3 to 4 months.  Both products are safe in experienced hands.  Although it seems that it would be simple enough to inject the product into the treatment area, a thorough knowledge of the facial muscle anatomy is extremely important as these products could have serious side effects if injected incorrectly.  Consult with a TRUE Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon experienced with these products for the best possible results.

 

How old do I have to be to get breast implants?

When making such an important, potentially life-changing decision, it is imperative that a person get good counseling from an experienced plastic surgeon.  Regarding age for breast augmentation, a person’s physical and emotional maturity is just as important as their chronological age.

A person should be mature enough to understand the potential risks and benefits of the procedure as well as long-term expectations.  Also, the breasts should be developed to a stable size and to a point that no expected change is likely in the next several years.  For most women, this occurs by age 18 which is the age that a person can make their own decisions legally. .

Some younger ladies have breasts that have developmental abnormalities such as asymmetry or hypoplasia (small breasts) that cause them severe emotional distress.  In these cases, we often perform surgery at a younger age with the consent of their parents.

Currently, saline filled breast implants are the only option approved by the F.D.A for women under age 22.  Silicone gel filled implants are available for women age 22 or older or undergoing breast reconstruction.

 

How do I know if I need a breast lift or implants to get the look I want?

These basic rules apply most of the time:

If your breasts are smaller than you want but not drooping, breast implants alone will likely achieve the desired result.

If you like your cup size but are drooping, a breast lift is in order.

If they are too small and drooping, you may want a breast lift and implants.

 

What about saline vs. silicone gel breast implants?  What’s the difference?

Both types of breast implants are very safe and can provide excellent results.  Saline filled implants are less expensive and can be placed through shorter incisions, even through the “belly-button”.  Silicone implants, while more expensive, oftentimes provide for a more natural result and now have a very low leakage rate.

 

Do I have to have my breast implants replaced every 10 years?

That is a common myth.   A certain percentage of people will have their implants replaced within 10 years for various reasons such as desire to go larger, but if you are happy with the implants there is no need to replace them at any set number of years.

 

Does placing breast implants through the belly-button void the implant warranty.  Is that true?

This is not true but is a common misconception.

 

Will my health insurance company pay for a breast reduction?

Many women have pain related to oversized breasts.  Breast reduction surgery is one of the most satisfying procedures that plastic surgeons do.  The success is so great after surgery that most patients wish they would have had the procedure done years beforehand.

Many insurance carriers will pay for breast reduction surgery if you meet certain criteria.  These criteria usually include over 6 months of pain in the neck, back, and or shoulders related to the oversized breasts that are unrelieved by conservative measures such as supportive bras, heat packs, exercises, OTC pain relievers, etc. and breast size out of proportion to body frame.  Some insurance carriers use a formula based on height, weight, and breast size.  One may call their health insurance carrier and request their specific criteria.

Consult with a REAL Plastic Surgeon for more information.

 

I want a flat abdomen.  How do I know if I need liposuction or a tummy tuck?

For the abdominal area, liposuction is best used when there is excess

fatty tissue with good skin tone and elasticity.  An abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) will likely be necessary if the overlying skin is loose and hanging, especially if there are “stretch marks”.   Also, if the muscles have been stretched from pregnancy an abdominoplasty will also tighten them for even more flattening.

 

I have a flat butt.  Are there butt implants?

There are several options available to enhance and improve the appearance of the buttocks including buttock implants.  In the United States, however, the only implants available are a solid silicone type.  These implants tend to feel firm and have a higher rate of problems.  Hopefully, a softer implant will be FDA approved in the future.

The “Brazilian Butt Lift” has gained popularity recently.  This technique involves liposuction of areas of excess fat and injecting this fat into the buttocks for augmentation (fat grafting).

The standard buttock lift is used when the buttocks are droopy, such as after weight loss, to lift and shape the buttocks (often in combination with fat grafting).

For someone considering liposuction or abdominoplasty, fat grafting may also be considered for the buttocks at the same time, since this fat would otherwise be discarded.

Very nice results can be achieved with these techniques.

 

I have lost over 80 pounds.  Now I have all this loose skin.  What can I do?  Will my health insurances cover anything?

First of all, congratulations on your weight loss!

More and more people are losing weight these days, especially with the development of the field of bariatric surgery which deals with surgical procedures such as gastric bypass and the “lap band” to help people lose weight.

Therefore, plastic surgeons are treating more and more people who are left with the body changes that occur due to the weight loss.  Typical complaints from women include sagging facial skin, excess skin behind the arms, drooping breasts, overhanging abdominal skin, and sagging thighs and buttocks.

Unfortunately, once the skin has been stretched from being overweight, it will oftentimes not shrink back down completely after the weight loss, even with extreme exercise.  Fortunately, however, plastic surgeons have developed numerous surgical techniques to remove the excess skin and fat and to contour the body after weight loss.

 

Some of the more common plastic surgical procedures are as follows:

Face and neck lift- restores the facial structure and removes the wrinkled skin.

Arm Lift (brachioplasty)- removes the “ bat wings” and contours the arms.

Breast Lift (mastopexy)- reshapes the breast and makes them “perky” again.  A breast implant may also be desired to replace lost volume and increase cup size.

Abdominal Panniculectomy- removes the lower abdominal skin and fat that hangs over the lap and pubic area.

Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty)- includes the abdominal panniculectomy and also removes additional excess tissue, tightens the abdominal muscles, and flattens the entire abdomen.

Thigh and/or Buttock lift- tightens and lifts up the inner and/or outer thighs and buttocks.

 

Some health insurance plans will cover some of these procedures depending on the circumstances.  Consult with a TRUE Plastic Surgeon for more information and to submit your case  to your health insurance carrier.

 

These procedures are some of the most gratifying plastic surgeons do.  It can be very disappointing to lose weight, become healthier and fit,  and yet be left with a distorted figure.  Body contouring procedures are the icing on the cake to get the look you deserve after all the hard work of weight loss!

 

I sweat a lot under my arms and on my palms?  Is there anything I can do?

Many people suffer from excessive sweating called hyperhidrosis.  In this condition the sweating usually occurs constantly throughout the day, even without exercise.  It is usually most troublesome under the arms and on the palms of the hands and/or soles of the feet.  It affects up to 3% of people in the U.S.

In hyperhidrosis, the sweating may be so profuse that it may actually drip from the hands.  The under arms can soak through clothes within minutes of putting them on.  Of course, this can be a very embarrassing and annoying problem that can interfere with a person’s quality of life and social interactions.

Treatment for hyperhidrosis usually begins with prescription anti-perspirants.  These may decrease sweating but usually does not stop it completely.  Some people benefit from oral medications, but these may have other side effects.  Surgery is an option for some patients with severe hyperhidrosis.

Botox ® injections have been found to be an extremely effective treatment for hyperhidrosis.  Botox ® can virtually eliminate sweating in the treated area for approximately 3 to 4 months.  Dysport ® is a similar product.

These agents are also used by actresses, models, and brides to prevent sweating in expensive garments during important events.

Botox ® has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of axillary (under arm) hyperhidrosis.  However, there are potential serious side effects.  Therefore, Botox® or Dysport® injections should only be performed by a qualified physician who is experienced with their use, such as a board certified plastic surgeon.

We have seen miraculous results with Botox®.  If you suffer from hyperhidrosis, treatment with Botox® may truly be life-changing.

Just imagine life without excessive sweating!

 

What is “plastic surgery” compared to “cosmetic surgery”?

A plastic surgeon  is often asked,  “What is Plastic Surgery? Are you going to use plastic to fix me?”   Actually, the field of plastic surgery was so named based on the Greek word “plastikos” which means “to mold.”

Plastic surgery training encompasses procedures to restore and enhance the beauty of the body (cosmetic surgery) as well as procedures to correct defects or deformities (reconstructive surgery).  Cosmetic surgery, therefore, is a sub-category of plastic surgery.

Board certified plastic surgeons have completed an accredited residency program in plastic surgery.  This involves at least 5 years of training after medical school.  The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only board certification recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties that certifies true Plastic Surgeons who have been fully trained in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the entire body.

In contrast, under current laws, anyone with a medical license can call themselves a “cosmetic surgeon” whether they have had any specific training in cosmetic plastic surgery or not.  There are also other board certifications, academies, and organization that are confused with board certification in plastic surgery.  Non-plastic “cosmetic surgeons” can be shrewd advertisers so the public should research their potential doctor thoroughly.

 

What should I look for in a cosmetic plastic surgeon?

The single most important factor to the success of your cosmetic plastic surgery is the surgeon you select.  One should verify the surgeon’s training and credentials.

First, make sure they have completed a residency training program in plastic surgery that is accredited by the ACGME.

Second, make sure the have expertise in both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery and are members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (www.plasticsurgery.org).

Third, make sure they are certified or eligible to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (www.ABPlSurg.org).

Fourth, make sure they have legitimate hospital admitting and operating room privileges as a plastic surgeon.

 

I saw an ad  and went to who I thought was a board certified plastic surgeon.  Turns out this person was a surgeon, but was board certified in something else besides plastic surgery.   How does a person know if a doctor is a qualified plastic surgeon?

The issue of board certification and qualifications in a particular field of medicine can be confusing.  After graduating medical school, a doctor typically goes through  a residency training program in their particular field of interest.  As two examples, let’s look at family practice and plastic surgery.

 

Family practice residency is typically three years long while plastic surgery training is 6-8 years.  After only one year of residency, either doctor could get their Tennessee medical license which allows them to “practice medicine and surgery.”  They are licensed but not board certified.

 

After completing their residencies, the family practitioner can get certified by the American Board of Family Practice while the plastic surgeon can get certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  Both doctors are then “board certified”.

 

Here is where it where it gets interesting.  Unbelievably, due to lack of restrictions, either of these two doctors could open an office as a plastic surgeon, call themselves a plastic surgeon, advertise to be a board certified plastic surgeon, and even attempt plastic surgery procedures!  Obviously, only one of the two doctors has actually been trained in plastic surgery, but based on advertising the public may have no idea which one.

 

Adding to the confusion is the multitude of other board certifications, academies, associations, societies, etc. to which a doctor may belong that appears to give them expert status in a certain area such as plastic surgery.

Fortunately, with plastic surgery it is actually very simple.  The only board certification that matters is the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).  The ABPS is the only board certification recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties to certify a surgeon that has been fully trained in plastic surgery to include both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.

 

Don’t be fooled by flashy advertisements and a laundry list of credentials when looking for a plastic surgeon.  Just look for certification by the ABPS.