Dr. John LeRoy, Plastic Surgeon in Atlanta Georgia

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Ask Dr. LeRoy: Are the Results of Liposuction Permanent?

Excess fat is a problem that nearly all of us have to some extent. In fact, as of 2014, the CDC reported that more than 70% of US adults were overweight. Even people with a healthy weight are often unhappy with the way their body fat is distributed, appearing as “bulges” in specific areas. That’s why liposuction has long been among the most popular cosmetic surgeries in the country. But is it truly the permanent solution many people think it is? Or will the fat return?

Your Guide to Plastic Surgery after Dramatic Weight LossTo understand how to get liposuction results that last, you first need to understand how your body’s fat cells work. There are exceptions to every rule, but here’s a generalized explanation: you have a certain number of fat cells distributed throughout your body. When you gain or lose weight, your body stores fat by making these same fat cells larger or smaller—not by changing the number of fat cells. What liposuction does, on the other hand, is actually remove some fat cells from a specific “problem area” in order to modify your body’s contours.

Here’s where the question of “is it permanent?” comes in: the fat cells which were removed with liposuction will not grow back. So liposuction is “permanent” in the sense that these cells are gone. However, you will still have some remaining fat cells in the treatment area as well as throughout the rest of your body, and these cells can just as easily enlarge with weight gain as they did before your surgery. So while your post-liposuction shape is expected to be permanent, gaining weight can diminish your results.

The best way to maintain the best possible results from your liposuction is to keep a healthy diet and exercise routine. You should also keep in mind that liposuction isn’t for everyone. It’s ideal for people who don’t necessarily want to lose weight, but who just have one or a few areas of stubborn fat which haven’t responded to diet and exercise. For some patients with a particularly small area of fat to be removed, my Band Aid Liposuction is a minimally invasive option as well. If you want to lose weight, I would advise you to reach your weight loss goal first and then use liposuction to “fine tune” your new contours. It’s also important to note that liposuction solely focuses on fat removal and does not address lax or sagging skin, so if you want firmer skin along with a reduction in fat, a combination of liposuction and my Band Aid Tummy Tuck, Band Aid Arm Lift, or other skin-firming procedure may be the best way to achieve results you’ll be happy with in the long term.

Plastic surgery is a team effort between me—your board-certified plastic surgeon—and you, the patient. For the safest and most successful results, it’s important that we communicate candidly throughout the process; that I do my part to perform your procedure well; and that you do your part to help your body heal and to keep your results looking their best. If you’re ready to get started, schedule a consultation at my office. Or, for more plastic surgery tips and special offers, follow me, Dr. John L. LeRoy, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Tips for Educating Yourself about Plastic Surgery

There’s no doubt that plastic surgery, in the right context, can do wonderful things for a patient. But this decision should not be taken lightly. As cosmetic as it may be, it’s still a true medical surgery. Complications are rare, but they’re far more likely if the surgeon does not have the right qualifications. That’s why “doing your homework” and educating yourself is so crucial. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • tips-for-educating-yourself-about-plastic-surgeryLook for the words “board-certified plastic surgeon.” The sad fact is that there are people who perform procedures they aren’t qualified to perform and who try to mislead patients into thinking they are Anyone can call themselves a plastic surgeon or cosmetic surgeon (and there are even physicians who have education and experience in plastic surgery but haven’t received board certification), so look specifically for someone who is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). Some doctors actually hold multiple board certifications, which can mean they have additional knowledge and expertise. For instance, I am board-certified in both plastic surgery and general surgery. Keep in mind, however, that some surgeons may say they are “board certified in cosmetic surgery,” but only “plastic surgery” is officially recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, so a cosmetic surgery board certification does not require the same degree of experience and testing.
  • Ask about the credentials of the other providers, too. While finding the right plastic surgeon is important, you’ll probably be relying on other medical personnel too, like nurses, assistants, or anesthesiologists, depending on the extensiveness of your surgery. Be sure to find out who will be involved in your procedure and what their qualifications are.
  • Find out about hospital privileges. In order for a physician to operate at a specific hospital, that hospital must review the doctor’s credentials and choose to grant them “privileges” to their facility. Even if you’re seeking a minimally invasive surgery like my Band Aid Mini Facelift, it’s important for your surgeon to have privileges at a nearby hospital so that they can get proper treatment for you if complications arise. It should also be a bit of a red flag if a surgeon has not been granted privileges at any hospitals, because this may mean they don’t have the credentials they need for you to be sure they can treat you safely and effectively.
  • Look for membership of professional organizations. Even among board-certified plastic surgeons, some physicians are more skilled and experienced than others. Look for a surgeon who is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and/or the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Both of these organizations require a surgeon to uphold strict standards in terms of their experience, their success and contributions to the field, and their continuing education to stay up-to-date with the latest medical advancements. A surgeon who has been granted membership into one or both of these organizations is likely to be more highly qualified than a surgeon who is not.
  • Use the internet as a resource, but exercise caution. Certain websites can be a great way to learn about the procedure(s) you’re considering, but there’s a lot of misleading information online as well. Primarily, stick with the ASAPS and ASPS websites. If you’ve found a reputable board-certified plastic surgeon, they may have helpful information on their site as well, and it’s also a good idea to check out any before and after photos and patient testimonials they have posted.
  • Take your consultation seriously. Your pre-surgical consultation is a vital step in finding both the right surgeon and the right procedure to fit your needs. It can be a good idea to meet with several different plastic surgeons to discuss what approach they would take to your procedure and to determine who you feel most comfortable with, because it’s important to be comfortable enough with your surgeon that you can communicate openly and honestly with them (and they with you). Regardless of how many consultations you complete, be sure to prepare before each one by compiling a list of specific questions to ask.

Being knowledgeable about your procedure can be a helpful way to know what to expect, but at a certain point, you must also be able to trust your surgeon as well as their recommendations and instructions. Knowing how to thoroughly evaluate your plastic surgeon’s background and the work they do enables you to feel confident about your choice and helps you build this crucial trust. If you’re ready to get started on your journey toward a more confident and beautiful you, schedule a consultation with me, Dr. John L. LeRoy. Or, for more cosmetic surgery tips, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Atlanta Laser Resurfacing and Skin Tightening Specials

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Combining Other Plastic Surgeries with a Facelift

As a double board-certified plastic surgeon who has been specializing primarily in facial rejuvenation for over twenty years, I have developed both a comprehensive understanding of the aging process and a keen eye for how to address each patient’s unique concerns. Thanks to genetics, lifestyle habits, and other factors, everyone ages in their own way, which means that despite the common misconception, facelifts aren’t a one-size-fits-all way to turn back the clock. For many patients, getting the best results means combining either a face lift or my minimally invasive Band Aid Mini Facelift with other procedures, like eyelid surgery, facial liposuction, or a brow lift. In the case of my Band Aid Facelift, even a combination of surgeries may be able to be performed in-office using gentle numbing. My video below offers a more detailed explanation of these options.

The technique of performing multiple plastic surgeries in one operation is sometimes misunderstood as being less safe. But the truth is that as long as you’re under the care of an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon, you’ve completed all of the necessary health screenings and other pre-surgical preparations, and you’re committed to your post-surgical care, these procedures can be an effective and manageable way to maximize your cosmetic surgery results. To discuss how I can help you be your most confident and beautiful self, schedule a pre-surgical consultation. Or, for more plastic surgery tips and helpful information, follow me, Dr. John L. L.eRoy, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Am I Ready for a Facelift?

Aging happens to all of us. It may progress more slowly in some than in others thanks to genetic and environmental factors, but it catches up with all of us eventually. If you’re someone who wants to maintain a more youthful and energetic look, you may have already decided that you want to get a facelift when the time comes—but how do you know when it’s time? As a double board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in facial rejuvenation (especially the face lift and the minimally invasive Band Aid Mini Facelift I developed), I’ve compiled a few tips to help you decide if you’re ready for a facelift.

  • Am I Ready for a FaceliftWhat signs of aging do you have? Aging typically starts with fine lines and wrinkles, but it progresses into lax facial skin, a loss of volume in the face, and other “symptoms.” The occasional wrinkle or crease is usually best addressed with non-surgical “spot treatments” like cosmetic facial injections (think Botox®, Dysport®, or Restylane®) or laser procedures such as my Band Aid Laser Skin Resurfacing. But it’s probably time for a facelift if you’re noticing sagging skin (like jowls) or a more gaunt-looking facial structure, because both of these issues are reduced with a face lift or a Band Aid Facelift.
  • What area of your face are you most concerned about? A facelift really focuses on the lower area of the face—the cheeks through the jawline and underside of the chin. If it’s primarily your forehead, eyes, or neck that makes you uncomfortable, you may be a better candidate for a brow lift, eyelid surgery, or neck lift (or their minimally invasive Band Aid counterparts). Keep in mind that each of these surgeries can often be combined with a facelift or Band Aid Mini Facelift too, for those who want to address several areas of the face at once.
  • How long do you want your results to last? Technically, there are no “permanent” solutions to aging, because there is no way to stop the aging process entirely. But the more extensive of an improvement you reach for, the longer it generally lasts before your new signs of aging have progressed far enough to make you look the way you did pre-surgically. Non-surgical skin treatments typically last several months (for injectables) to a few years (for skin tightening or laser procedures), but a face lift often lasts as long as ten to twelve years, depending on the patient’s unique aging process.
  • How stable is your weight? Although natural aging is the primary cause of facial skin laxity, losing significant amounts of weight can play a role in this as well. In order to achieve results that will last as long as possible, it’s best to reach your ideal, stable weight before surgery.
  • Are you considering a facelift because of your physical aging or because you’ve reached an age when many people get face lifts? Every person ages at their own pace, due to heredity, lifestyle choices, environmental factors, and more. That’s why there’s no specific age when it’s time for a facelift or a Band Aid Mini Face Lift—one patient may be ready for the surgery at 45 while another doesn’t find it necessary until 60.
  • Are you prepared for a recovery period? Though it may be cosmetic, a face lift is still a surgery, so make sure you can accept some downtime in order to give your body the chance to heal. The recovery time varies based on the extensiveness of your surgery as well as your body’s unique healing process, but if you want to minimize your downtime, ask me whether you may be a candidate for my minimally invasive Band Aid Face Lift instead.
  • Do you have realistic expectations for your results? Facelifts can make a powerful difference in your appearance, but it’s important to recognize their limitations, too. They won’t erase every fine line and wrinkle you have (in fact, if they did, the results would look unnatural and less attractive), and they won’t take you from looking 60 to looking 20. Review some facelift before and after pictures to get an idea of what the results typically look like.

At the end of the day, the decision to have a face lift or mini face lift is about you feeling comfortable and confident in your own skin. So ask yourself if this is the case for you, but be sure to also seek the expert advice of a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in facial rejuvenation. If you’re ready to take the next step, schedule a consultation with me, Dr. John L. LeRoy. Or, for more plastic surgery tips and the latest cosmetic surgery news, follow John L. LeRoy, MD, FACS on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.