FAQs: Body Procedures


Q: Is liposuction effective?

A: The results from liposuction can be very effective and dramatic if performed for the right reason – to remove localized fat deposits that remain despite dieting and exercise. Liposuction is not a weight loss procedure.

Q: Is liposuction safe?

A: When surgery is done prudently and carefully the major risks are very low. There is an increased risk for problems when greater than 5 liters of fat are being removed. In this situation, it is strongly recommended to stay overnight for observation at an approved medical facility. Some of the risks posed by liposuction include asymmetries, contour irregularities, skin rippling, and the removal of too much or too little fat.

Q: How long are the incisions?

A: The incisions used for liposuction are approximately 1/4 – 3/8th inch each.

Q: How much pain will I experience following liposuction?

A: If the tumescent technique is used, there is surprisingly little discomfort even when many large areas are treated. Many patients take little or no pain medication.

Q: How soon can I return to work following surgery?

A: If you don’t have a physically strenuous job, you may return to work within a few days to a week following liposuction.

To find out more about liposuction, please visit the Arizona Center for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

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Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Q: I have a lot of loose skin and stretch marks of my tummy since my pregnancy. No matter how much I work out, including doing sit-ups, I can’t improve the appearance. Is a tummy tuck a good option for me?

A: A tummy tuck is the treatment for excess skin and lax muscles of the abdomen that are often a consequence of pregnancy or considerable weight loss. The procedure involves removing excess skin, redraping and recontouring what remains, and tightening the underlying muscle layer. The result is a tighter, more sculpted abdomen.

Q: Will I have drains in place following my tummy tuck? If so, for how long?

A: Most people will have one or two drains placed which may be left in for several days to a few weeks. They serve to “drain” fluid that may otherwise accumulate deep under the skin and fat until healing occurs.

Q: Should I take it easy and stay in bed for a few days after surgery?

A: It is very important that you get up and walk around with assistance several times a day including the day of your tummy tuck surgery. This will help decrease the risk of developing postoperative medical problems including the formation of blood clots in the leg veins.

Q: I was told that I had an umbilical hernia from my pregnancies. Can this be treated at the same time as my tummy tuck?

A: An umbilical hernia is a weakness of the abdominal wall resulting in a bulge that can be particularly noticeable when sitting up or doing sit-ups. This can be easily treated at the same time as a tummy tuck.

For more information about a tummy tuck, you are invited to contact Dr. Turkeltaub at the Arizona Center for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

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Full Body Contouring

Q: I have lost 110 pounds after my gastric bypass. Now I am left with extra skin everywhere. The areas that bother me the most are my tummy, breasts and arms. What do you suggest?

A: After this much weight loss, there is virtually always circumferential laxity of the skin of the trunk, marked flattening, deflation and elongation of the breasts, and hanging bat-wing deformities of the upper arms. One strategy to address these problem areas would be a staged approach. The first stage could involve a tummy tuck with a belt lipectomy. This is a circumferential excision of skin and fat with underlying tissue contouring and tightening and would encompass the lower trunk including an outer thigh lift and a buttock lift. The second stage, possibly three or more months later, would consist of a breast lift with implants and upper arm lifts. If an inner thigh lift is desired, it can be performed during either stage.

Q: I have these rolls of extra skin on my back. Is there a procedure that can treat these?

A: Direct excision of the extra skin and fat can be performed. This frequently can either be done alone or, more commonly, combined with another procedure such as an arm lift or breast lift.

Q: I smoke 1 pack a day of cigarettes. Will this affect the results of a full body lift?

A: Procedures involved in full body lifts are quite extensive and complex and do interfere with blood flow to the affected tissues. Among its many untoward effects, cigarette smoking causes a significant decrease in blood flow to the tissues which deprives them of their needed supply of oxygen. The combination of the two could be disastrous with regard to tissue healing and viability. There would be an extremely high risk for the development of dead tissue (necrosis), delayed healing, separation of wounds, infections, and widened scars. In general, therefore, smoking would be a contraindication for performing these extensive procedures.

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Arm Lift

Q: After my losing 70 pounds, the skin of my arms hangs down and gets in the way. Would an arm lift help this?

A: An arm lift is the ideal procedure to address this excess skin. It involves the removal of the hanging skin and recontouring and redraping of what remains. The scar is usually in the shape of a “T” and extends into the armpit area.

Q: As I get older, I notice that the skin of my arms is hanging more and more. Should I consider an arm lift?

A: The scars from an arm lift are not short and generally are not inconspicuous. The contour improvement obtained from the lift would be far outweighed by the scars that would result from the procedure. The risks here outweigh the benefits. If your skin has relatively good elasticity and contains a modest amount of fat, consideration can be given for conservative liposuction which may just require one tiny incision.

If you have any further questions about body contouring surgery, please contact Dr. Turkeltaub.

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