Plastic Surgery Q & A

I receive requests on a daily basis from social media sites, professional organizations, etc. to answer questions that they have received regarding plastic surgery procedures. I am usually somewhat hesitant to answer many of these questions as I feel that they would best be answered in the context of a face-to-face consultation. Some of the questions are important to answer, however, as they involve information that is not only not specific to one patient, but important to all patients whether they are just researching or are already recovering from a particular procedure. My staff suggested that I include those answers on my own website for the interest and benefit of our patients as well. The two questions and answers that follow are examples that will hopefully be that start of a series of Q&A that prove interesting and helpful to you. I look forward to your comments and will be happy to answer any questions you wish to email to me.

This question was received from a patient whose surgeon had advised her to wait 6 months for another liposuction procedure in the same area:

  • Why do some doctors want to wait six months between initial and follow-up procedures and others wait three months?If one has a choice, it is generally better to wait longer between procedures. With rare exceptions, I would consider 6 months to be the minimal interval. For some aesthetic procedures such as a rhinoplasty, the interval can be as long as two years. Having said that, there are always extenuating circumstances in individual cases. This question can best be answered by your surgeon during your consultation and follow-up visits.

The next question is from a woman who does heavy construction work and recently had a subpectoral breast augmentation:

  • My surgeon has advised me that I can return to work 6 weeks after my surgery. It is now 4 weeks and I still feel tight even lifting light weights. Will it be safe to go to work at 6 weeks and will this feeling ever go away?From the history in your question, it seems that your surgeon has given you appropriate post-operative instructions; that is, that you can return to work in 6 weeks. Most patients whose work does not involve heavy lifting can usually return to work even much sooner. I generally allow patients to begin upper body exercises at 3 weeks and instruct them to increase gradually over weeks 4-6 until they reach their preoperative level. If there is any discomfort at all, I advise them to stop or reduce the level and frequency of their exercise for a period of time. Having said that, subpectoral implants do change the interface or gliding plane between the pectoralis muscle and the chest wall. In most patients this does not make a difference, but there is an occasional patient who always experiences some awareness of a change when the pectoralis muscle is contracted.