Ask the Plastic Surgeon

Q: I just had a consultation with a plastic surgeon and found myself strangely unsettled that no one in the office seemed to have had cosmetic surgery. I know that most, if not all, of the employees in another office I visited had had obvious surgery. Why wouldn't everyone in the office take advantage of the "perks" of working in a plastic surgeon's office? I left feeling that it might be a statement regarding their confidence in the surgeon. Am I being too judgmental?

A: I think that it would help you to know that, in the last ten years, there has been a very real marketing/public relations approach, utilized by many so-called "progressive" plastic surgery practices, to employ walking "spokespersons" in their offices. Some practices went so far as to "arm" their employees with before and after picture albums, that they carried in their pockets, ready to convince the potential patient to undergo the procedure. I don't know about the practice that you're speaking about, but I can tell you about mine. At our practice, we hired professionals based on whether or not their skills were best-suited to their position- not on their desire to have plastic surgery. Some of our employees did elect to have some surgery, but it was a private decision, based on how they could improve their own self esteem, not on how we could promote the practice. Some of my staff are women who are quite comfortable in their "skin," and not interested in surgery. In my opinion, we need to stop "judging" everyone else's decision, and pursue the one that is ultimately best for us. If you're concerned about your surgeon's abilities, ask to speak with some of his patients.

Q: I want to have liposuction but I don't know if I'm a good candidate. I have so many areas that I want suctioned and I'm not sure how much is possible. How much fat can you take out at one time? I want to have it done all at once - not in multiple procedures.

A: It will take a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to give you the answers that are applicable to your personal situation. He/she will be able to evaluate your goals, and explore the different choices that you have, based on how much fat you would like to have removed. Safety is the number one priority. Personally, I only do as much liposuction as will allow me to safely send the patient home after the operation with a minimal risk of complications.
     After examining you, your doctor may feel that you are a candidate for another alternative which is known as "large-volume liposuction". This procedure is an exception, rather than the rule, in liposuction, and requires admission to the hospital postoperatively for fluid replacement and observation. Large-volume liposuction can be done safely, but definitely requires planning your recovery very carefully.

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