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Expert tips on plastic surgery

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Going under the knife

Are you considering breast augmentation, a tummy tuck or other plastic surgery? Before you go under the knife, be sure to do plenty of research and be completely comfortable in your decision.
Plastic surgery tools

Plastic surgeon Matthew R. Schulman, M.D. of Madison Avenue Plastic Surgery in New York City was kind enough to talk with us about trends in plastic surgery and things you should consider before going under the knife.

Choosing your surgeon

Before having an elective surgery, you obviously should do a lot of research. When selecting a plastic surgeon, Dr. Schulman recommends asking these four very important questions.

Are you board certified?

This is very important and indicates that the surgeon has completed an accredited training program, passed rigorous written and oral examinations, and adheres to a standard of ethics set forth by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Plastic surgery

Are you a member of the ASPS?

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is the main plastic surgery society. All of its members must be board certified, complete continuing medical education, adhere to the rules and bylaws of the ASPS (highest ethical standards for practice), and are subjected to an internal disciplinary committee.

Where are the surgeries performed?

The surgery should be performed in an accredited facility (office operating room, ambulatory surgery center, or hospital). If it is performed in an office operating room, make sure that the doctor has privileges at a nearby, reputable hospital, in case there are complications.

Is this a procedure that you are experienced in doing?

Don't be embarrassed to ask you doctor to tell you how many of the surgeries he or she has performed. You should be satisfied that they are experienced and should not feel uncomfortable asking about their credentials.

Plastic surgery costs

Obviously the price of plastic surgery ranging drastically from doctor to doctor and by region of the country. Keep in mind that discounts are usually given for multiple procedures. However, here are some general guidelines that you can follow.

  • Abdominoplasty: $8,000 - $10,000
  • Liposuction: $3,000 - $6,000
  • Breast lift: $6,000 - $8,000
  • Breast augmentation: $6,000 - $8,000

Types of procedures

These days, everyone is talking about "mommy makeovers." These surgical makeovers specifically address the changes in the body that occur as a result of pregnancy. The hormones associated with pregnancy causes changes in the abdomen, breast, and skin. It also causes increased fat deposition in the hips and thighs. Many of these changes cannot be significantly improved through diet and exercise. Dr. Schulman breaks down several different types of procedures.

Plastic surgery body

Abdomen

Pregnancy stretches both the skin and the muscles of the abdomen. It also causes visible stretch marks which can be very severe in people with a genetic predisposition. The skin will shrink after pregnancy, but can remain loose in some individuals or after multiple pregnancies. Also, the weakened muscle cannot be improved with exercises because it also involves a "separation" of the muscle away from the midline — this separation is called a diasthasis. A "tummy tuck", or abdominoplasty, tightens the underlying muscles and removes the excess skin and stretch marks.

Breasts

The breasts are most susceptible to changes in weight and pregnancy. During pregnancy and breast feeding, the breasts enlarge. Afterwards, the size decreases because the breast tissue decreases. This is called post-partum involution. The result is smaller breasts that sag, often with visible stretch marks. The breasts usually become even smaller than they were pre-pregnancy. Correction involves a breast lift, or mastopexy. Commonly, women choose to also have a breast implant placed in order to restore volume.

Liposuction

Pregnant women usually store excess fat in the hips and thighs. These fat stores are extremely difficult to remove through diet and exercise — it is usually the last area of fat that women lose. Targeted liposuction will remove this fat.

Skin

Many women experience problem skin during and after pregnancy that includes acne, dry skin, lines, and wrinkles;  this results from hormonal changes, dehydration, lifestyle factors (lack of sleep, poor diet, etc.), and also because many skin products are not recommended for use during pregnancy. Treatment involves addressing the specific needs of the skin and may include microdermabrasion, specialty facials, laser, chemical peels, daily skin products, Botox, and injectible fillers. Read about how to rejuvenate your skin with IPL therapy.

Most of these surgical procedures require at least two weeks recovery time with activity restrictions for 4-6 weeks. Dr. Schulman says, "These procedures can be combined and performed at the same time in a healthy, motivated patient. I use techniques that minimize the risk of complications and the necessary recovery time. I am sensitive to the fact that the women want to be able to resume normal activities (and spend time with their children) as quickly as possible."

If you are in New York City and contemplating plastic surgery, consider setting up a consultation with Dr. Schulman at Madison Avenue Plastic Surgery.

Plastic surgery

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