Myths about Plastic Surgery

The Top 12 myths of Plastic Surgery

When you get liposuction the fat goes elsewhere.

Not true. This is the most common myth. Our bodies have a constant number of fat cells since the time we are 5-6 years old. The number stays stable during your entire life. This means that as we age and gain more weight these fat cells do not grow in number but they may grow in volume. Similarly when we lose weight at any time during life our fat cells also remain stable in number but get reduced in volume.
Liposuction works so well because it reduces the actual number of fat cells in certain areas of the body permanently. It can change therefore body anatomy forever. It does not however change how the body thinks, behaves and acts biologically. So if we have some problematic fat areas this means that our bodies deposit fat in those areas first when we gain weight and the body removes fat from those areas with much more difficulty when we lose weight. For example lets say that a woman’s problem area is her thighs and she gets liposuction to correct the problem. If this woman gains weight at some point in time following her operation, her body will still enlarge those remaining fat cells in the area she did liposuction. The weight increase there will not be as prominent though because by liposuction we have reduced the number of fat cells there. Those remaining fat cells have a limited capacity to how larger they may get. However those problem thigh areas even if they enlarge due to extra weight, they will still retain their new shape acquired due to the liposuction procedure because we have reduced the actual number of fat cells there and we have sculpted the body. The rest of her body will also get bigger if there is weight gain. The enlargement of the other areas of her body will be more noticeable compared to her thighs. That’s why people think that the fat goes elsewhere. It does not. It is just an illusion and that only occurs of a person occurs extra, additional weight. It actually entails eating much more than a person did prior to them having this procedure. Most people do not gain weight after such a procedure. This procedure is so empowering and stimulates people to take better care of themselves physically and spiritually.
The merit of liposuction is that it reduces the number of fat cells in difficult areas and sculpts the body. This result is long lasting. The changes of pregnancy do not ruin it. Liposuction should not be viewed as a way to lose weight with ease. It should be viewed as a way to sculpt and improve body figure and image. If a person following liposuction gains weight he/she will gain weight in the exactly the same way he/she would do prior to liposuction. The weight gain in that case will not be as noticeable in the area of liposuction and thus will be more noticeable in other areas of the body.

Liposuction loosens the skin.

Not true. The opposite is true. Liposuction properly performed will tighten the overlaying skin. However if liposuction is not done carefully it can loosen the skin due to the surgeon removing too much fat from under it. Liposuction is both skill and art. Knowing how much fat exactly to remove and from what areas of the body is what determines a beautiful outcome.

3Newer liposuction methods such as laser liposuction, Ultrasound liposuction, and Radio-frequency liposuction are better than more traditional methods.

Not True. Beware of marketing sales techniques. These claims have not been scientifically proven and most plastic surgeons do not find them accurate. There is nothing that up to this day will and can replace the time tested traditional methods of liposuction completely. These newer modalities may serve as adjuncts but not replacements.

Breast implants can cause cancer.

False The information we have up to date does not support such claim. Next year the breast augmentation operation will celebrate its 50th birthday. If breast implants caused cancer we would know by now. There has been a recent report that a type of lymphoma was found on the capsule surrounding breast implants in some women with prior breast augmentation. This does not mean that in those people the lymphoma was associated with the presence of the breast implants. More investigation is being undertaken to investigate this issue. Apart for this very recent report there has never been up to date any proof associating silicone gel or saline-filled breast implants with any cancer in the body. There is simply no cause and effect relationship between breast implants and cancer of any time. A typical cause and effect relationship is that which exists between smoking and lung cancer.

You cannot breast feed after you have a breast augmentation.

False You can, especially if the operation is done taking that patient concern into account. If the surgical incision and approach is under the breast in the inframammary fold and the implant is placed sub muscularly then there typically may t be any problem with future breast-feeding and nipple sensation.

I lose breast sensation if I get a breast augmentation

False If the breast augmentation is done via an infram ammary approach (a small incision about an inch and a quarter underneath the breast fold) then on the contrary women’s breast and nipple sensitivity is heightened. Most enjoy that as an added bonus of the surgery.

Plastic surgery needs general anesthesia

False Almost all plastic surgery operations can be done without general anesthesia. They can be done with local anesthesia and sedation (twilight sleep) or even simple local anesthesia alone. Oftentimes patients fear general anesthesia more than the actual surgical procedure.

You need an implant to lift the breasts for a breast lift.

False The breast lift operation (mastopexy, mastoplasty) has the ability to reshape and mold the breasts giving them a youthful perky look. The whole skill is in the surgical technique of molding. A well-trained plastic surgeon can do that without the need to rely on an implant. Some people do not want implants in their bodies and we must respect that.

You cannot get pregnant after a tummy tuck

False You can. A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty operation does preclude any future pregnancy.

My doctor is board certified

It Depends The real question that is typically omitted from such statements or advertising schemes is “…in what?” In what is the doctor board certified in? In dermatology? In Pediatrics? In Urology? Many doctors of all specialties in California tend to perform plastic surgery…outside of their specialty… Should they?

Plastic surgery is done by plastic surgeons

It Depends Physicians or non-physicians never trained in the specialty of Plastic and Reconstructive surgery do majority of the plastic surgery procedures in Los Angeles County

Does a doctor have to have additional experience with darker skin and “women with color”?

No The type of skin or color of skin does not alter surgical technique despite popular belief.

John M. Anastasatos, MD, FACS

Board Certified Plastic and reconstructive Surgeon
Fellow, American College of Surgeons
Former assistant professor of plastic surgery at the University of Alabama in Birmingham

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