Learning more about getting a facelift

In order to address the wrinkles and facial sagging that are a normal part of aging, an extensive procedure called a rhytidectomy (a “facelift” in common vernacular) offers the greatest degree of overall improvement. During the surgery, the facial skin is lifted away allowing the surgeon to tighten the underlying tissues. The procedure is most often performed under a general anesthetic although in some instances an IV sedative and a local are used. A rhytidectomy requires several hours to complete, so most patients prefer to be asleep. It is not unusual for the surgery to result in a night’s stay in a hospital.

The surgeon makes an incision that begins at the temple and encircles the ear allowing for the skin to be lifted. Some tissue and fat may be removed before the skin is repositioned and the incision closed. Because the incision is placed at the hairline or in areas of natural creasing, there are no visible scars. Patients should expect to be heavily bandaged for one to two days following the surgery and to have a drainage tube that is normally positioned behind the ear. The tube will also be removed in one to two days and the stitches taken out in five to ten days.

Although there is little pain involved, patients are often taken aback by the degree of swelling and bruising that will occur. By keeping the head elevated and using cold compresses this will begin to diminish fairly rapidly with most people returning to their normal routine in two to three weeks. It is important not to smoke and to avoid being near those who are smoking for as much as a month after the procedure. Smoke can cause tissue death, worsen scarring, and seriously delay healing.

A numb, stiff feeling is normal and may continue for weeks or months following the rhytidectomy. A rough and dry texture to the skin is also to be expected. As the skin settles into place and given the proper, doctor-recommended care, these issues resolve themselves in time. Men should be prepared to have to shave in areas that previously did not require attention.

A realistic expectation of the potential benefits of a face lift should be cultivated from the earliest consideration of the procedure. The surgery can result in a more youthful appearance and can reduce evidence of aging to a large degree. It will not, however, eliminate all facial wrinkles in the areas adjacent to the eyes, nose, and lips. Obviously some surgeons are more skilled than others at achieving outstanding results and it is important to carefully select a well-qualified surgeon and to consult extensively with that individual before moving forward with the procedure.

Some complications or post-surgical issues that may arise with a rhytidectomy include bleeding under the skin, reactions to the anesthetic used, and infection. It is possible for facial nerves to be damaged, for tissue loss to occur, for scarring to be more extensive than desired, and even for blood clots to form. Hair loss is also a possibility. Candidates for a rhytidectomy should gain a clear picture of the likelihood of any complications in consultation with their surgeon and in relation to the overall condition of their health.

Insurance does not cover the costs of the procedure and associated fees. The surgery itself averages around $6,000, but can run as high as $12,000 with approximately $4,000 to $6,000 in associated fees.

Medical Tourism: Go on vacation and come home with a new you

Those of us who live in the United States, especially if we live in border-states like Texas and California, are accustomed to thinking of Mexico as a vacation destination, it’s close enough to fly to inexpensively, and it offers everything from horseback riding to lazing on the beach, either in tourist-filled resorts or more natural settings. More and more Americans, however, are coming to think of Mexico as a destination for something other than a fun-filled vacation: they go south of the border to have cosmetic surgery done for (on average) half the cost of similar procedures here in the States.

Put any mental images of grimy chop-shops in gritty border towns out of your head. While those exist in Mexico (just as they exist here), the vast majority of facilities are perfectly clean, with state of the art equipment and staff who go beyond the perfunctory care offered by overworked American nurses. Indeed, the “in” place for cosmetic surgery is Guadalajara, which is Mexico’s second largest city.

It’s Easy

Medical Tourism, as the trend of flying to exotic locales to “have a little work done” has come to be known, has become as easy – or easier – than booking a package tour with flights and buses, with travel agents that help patients plan their trips as if they were planning a stay in a resort. Door-to-door service is provided by companies like Air Lift, Inc., a North Carolina-based organization that arranges for women traveling to Guadalajara for cosmetic surgery to be set up with a bilingual driver, room and board in a private home, and a surgeon to do the work in question.

In a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor, the public relations manager of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), Tony Staffieri, said that the number of people traveling outside the United States for plastic surgery “…has grown dramatically,” and that, “Mexico is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world.”

For Guadalajara specifically, it is its close proximity to popular tourist destinations like Lake Chapala and Puerto Vallarta, which has increased its appeal as a medical tourism destination for Americans. ISAPS could not confirm the ratio, but locals say that their city has more certified plastic surgeons per capita than any other place in Latin America, except Rio de Janeiro. They also mention that Guadalajara has a public hospital where poor people can have cosmetic procedures done at deeply discounted rates.

So what’s the biggest factor in choosing to go abroad for plastic surgery, even as far away as Thailand or India? It all boils down to price. Jose Guerrerosantos, a plastic surgeon in Guadalajara, told the Christian Science Monitor that a tummy tuck – a procedure that costs upwards of $15,000 in the United States, is done for around $4,000 in Mexico. That’s a big difference, especially when you consider that cosmetic surgery isn’t covered by insurance, and must be paid for out of pocket.

But is it Safe?

While the practice of medical tourism isn’t new, the increased number of people doing it have the ISAPS working to define guidelines and offer risk warnings. Two points of concern are that some tour operators connect patients with doctors who are unqualified, and that there is no system in place to ensure access to follow-up care if it becomes necessary.

Despite this, and despite Tony Staffieri’s advice to look for savings on things like laundry soap and not a new face, the trend of going on “holiday” to have a cosmetic surgery procedure is not likely to go away any time soon.

Can You Breastfeed with Breast Implants?

Just because you want to be a mother one day does not mean you can’t get the breasts of your dreams today! Though some women who want to be moms are concerned about breastfeeding after they receive breast implants, most can feed just fine after breast augmentation. Still, it is important to understand how breast implants can affect breastfeeding.

Understanding How Breast Implants Affect Breastfeeding

Like we stated above, you can definitely breastfeed with breast implants. However, your feeding success depends on the size and placement of the breast implant and the type of incision made. That being said, most approaches to breast augmentation allow patients to breastfeed.

Incisions on or around the dark part of your nipple, called the areola, can lead to a loss of feeling in your nipple, reducing milk production. If incisions are made under the fold of your breast or in the armpit, you should have no trouble breastfeeding. As long as your surgeon is highly experienced, skilled and knows that you plan to breastfeed in the future, your milk ducts and glands should remain undamaged after surgery.

Along with incisions, the placement of your breast implants affects your ability to breastfeed as well. It is much more likely that your ducts and glands will remain undamaged if the breast implant is placed under the muscles rather than in between the muscles and breast tissue.

It is always best to speak with your surgeon and health provider about the safety of breast implants and your interest in breastfeeding, as everyone’s individual breasts and surgeries are different.

How Your Natural Breasts Affect Breastfeeding

Not many people think about how their natural breasts affect baby feeding, especially after they undergo breast augmentation. Your natural breasts play a big role, with our without breast implants.

Women who have insufficient glandular tissue in their natural breasts will have trouble breastfeeding, according to a study published in Pediatrics. In a study conducted by Huggins, Petok and Mireles, four types of breasts appeared to be associated with lower breast milk production. These include breasts that are spaced 1.5 inches apart or greater, asymmetrical breasts, stretch marks on the breasts, and tubular breasts (breasts that have a lack of fullness). If you have trouble breastfeeding, it may not be because of your breast implants. It might just be a result of your natural, pre-surgery breasts.

How to Prepare for Breast Augmentation and Breastfeeding

If you are planning to get a breast augmentation and want to breastfeed in the future, it is important to talk to your health provider. When you have your consultation at the plastic surgery clinic, discuss your interest in breastfeeding with your surgeon. He or she will need to examine your breasts to see how to best insert implants in them.

You should speak with your surgeon about how he or she can preserve as much of your breast tissue and milk ducts as possible so that you can successfully breastfeed. Again, most women who receive breast augmentation typically can successfully breastfeed, but it is still important to speak to your surgeon and prepare.

Laser Tattoo Removal – Treatment Cost and Options

Anyone with a tattoo has probably sensed remourse at one time or another, wishing that their ink artwork could be erased. Well, certainly not everyone has had that feeling. People have been receiving tattoos for thousands of years, and the practice will no doubt continue indefinitely. For as many reasons why people get tattoos, there are probably as many reasons why people want to have a tattoo removed. For Angelina Jolie, getting the tattoo “Billy Bob” on her left deltoid probably seemed like a perfectly rational idea at the time.

The Tattooing Process
If we examine how tattoos are applied, we can appreciate why they can be difficult, painful, and expensive to remove. Some “tats”, as they are sometimes called, resist even the most aggressive removal methods. Regardless of the technique, various pigments are traumatically forced into the dermal layer of the skin by jabbing a sharp, pigment-laden object into and consequently breaking the skin. As the wound heals, the pigment remains in the living skin layer. In modern, hygienic tattoo parlors, a motorized oscillating device with multiple needles closely spaced, prick the skin and deposit pigment 100 cycles per second. Receiving a tattoo using a modern tattooing machine deposits ink more permanently than tattooing by hand, using a single needle or piece of sharpened bone. Amateur tattoos are generally easier to remove than professionally applied ones.

Removal of Unwanted “Tats”
The lasers that are now used for tattoo removal direct their energy in specific wavelengths at specific dye colors. The treatments are less painful, and more successful and require less recovery time. Blue and black ink are the easiest colors to remove, Red, orange, and green are a bit more persistent. The laser causes the pigment molecule to split into multiple smaller fragments that will transit out of the skin. In some instances, other modalities are used to remove more resistant artwork. So many people are now turning to laser clinics and doctors to remove unwanted tattoos.

Cost and Duration of Treatment
Removal of ink artwork usually involves multiple visits to the clinician as the treatment must proceed in stages. Laser treatments on a particular area last several minutes each and need to be scheduled in sessions of 6-10 treatments separated by 3-4 weeks. There is usually discomfort associated with laser treatment, especially if the pigment is deeper and the tat is newer. The other “Ouch” that comes with tattoo removal is the cost, which can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the size.

Ink Removal Process
In a typical tattoo removal session, the clinician will prepare the area to be treated by cleansing and then anesthetizing a small section by applying a topical gel or cream that penetrates the skin to reach and numb nerve endings. The client will be instructed to take an oral analgesic, such as Tylenol ahead of time to minimize the discomfort of the procedure. The laser light penetrates the skin and selectively fractures the pigment particles allowing the smaller fragments to be absorbed by the immune system. The wave length of the laser is tuned especially to affect particular pigment colors. Normal skin is unaffected by the laser beam.

What to Expect During and After Laser Therapy
During the treatment, clients usually sense a pinpoint stinging sensation at the point of laser focus. To finish, the area of treatment will be covered with antibiotic ointment and a sterile bandage. Care at home should include cleaning the area and replacing the bandage daily. Occasionally a client will experience complications, such as increased pigmentation of the skin, bleaching of the skin color, scarring, and infection. These results can be minimized with fastidious skin care and protecting the area from trauma and sunlight. After 3-4 weeks, allowing time for the immune system to clear the pigment fragments created by the last treatment, the client will return to repeat the process. Laser treatments do not always completely remove a tattoo and other modalities can be tried. Dermabrasion and surgical excision are often used as adjunctive treatment. Since tattoo removal is usually more painful and much more expensive that getting a tattoo, make sure that name you plan to have indelibly placed on your left pec is your one true love.