A Comprehensive Three-Dimensional Rejuvenation Center

Monthly Archives: June 2016

What is a reverse abdominoplasty, and who needs it?

Reshaping the contour of the abdomen is frequently requested in my office consultations. The most common techniques are various forms of liposuction with or without an abdominoplasty. Another tool in our repertoire which can yield effective results is the “Reverse Abdominoplasty.” The classic indications for a regular abdominoplasty is a torso which has loose excess inelastic skin of the lower abdomen, abdominal wall rectus muscle separation (diastasis), and varying degrees of excess fatty tissue. The technique eliminates the excess skin and fatty tissue in the lower abdomen, reconnects the rectus muscle together to tighten the abdominal wall, and excess abdominal fatty tissue can be reshaped with liposuction to provide a pleasing shape. A Reverse Abdominoplasty is chosen for the individual who has loose excess skin in the upper abdomen, who generally does not have a full diastasis which is affecting the lower abdominal contour, and may have excess fatty tissue in the lower abdomen without skin excess. The technique is to start with incisions that follow the lower breast fold then cross the lower sternum to connect both sides of the abdomen. These scars generally hide very well even in two piece bathing suites. The full thickness skin is elevated down the abdomen preserving the vital blood supply on either side of the belly button. If upper rectus muscles need to be tightened this can proceed. Any abdominal fatty excess can also be corrected with liposuction at this time. The elevated released excess abdominal skin can be addressed in several ways depending on the needs of the patient:

1. If a women who has the upper abdominal skin excess and also desires rejuvenation of the breast the excess elevated skin of the abdomen can be utilized as a self-augmentation under the breast to provide added fullness and shape. This is often done in conjunction with a breast lift (Mastopexy) and can avoid the need and expense of an implant. I have even performed this procedure with a woman who many years ago had bilateral mastectomies for breast cancer and we reconstructed her with implants. She had experienced some weight fluctuation and was becoming very active and requested the elimination of her breast implants but still desired a smaller breast to remain. We utilized a reverse abdominoplasty skin excess, removed the outer skin, and placed it in her implant space to fill the void and added tissue volume and shape provided with fat grafting harvested from her back, thighs, and lower abdomen giving her a smaller but still reasonable breast shape.

2. The Reverse Abdominoplasty could be incorporated as part of a treatment plan to tighten the upper abdominal contour. After the incision and elevation of the abdominal excess loose skin, the surgeon can remove the undesirable portion and fixate the remaining tissue to the rib fascia of the lower breast fold to avoid the scars from migrating inferiorly thus preventing the exposure of the scars on the upper abdomen. I have used this as a primary surgical procedure for women with loose skin of the upper abdomen that would not respond favorably to liposuction alone. I have also used this as a secondary procedure on women who have previously had an abdominoplasty with good results but over time the lower abdomen has maintained its results yet the upper abdomen has become loose and has excess as a result of weight changes, sun exposure, and of course gravity. The excess skin can be removed providing a nice tight appearance to the whole abdomen.

3. Another situation for the reverse abdominoplasty is for a women with loose upper abdominal skin combined with previous augmentation mammoplasty in which the implants have become mal-posed and have drifted inferior and lateral to the correct position. In this case the excess elevated tissue can be utilized as a autologous (meaning from your own body) soft tissue sling to help reposition and stabilize the implant similar to an Acellular Dermal Matrix (ADM) graft without the significant added cost of the product to provide long lasting results.

One of the aspects in my profession of plastic surgery I am most proud of is the innovative nature of the field. We take problem sets that patients present to our office and we create unique methods that achieve a sound result with the least amount of surgery and the lowest costs to ensure successful and happy patients. The Reverse abdominoplasty is an example of one of these off shoot procedures which fills a vital niche in my practice.

Jay H. Lucas, MD
Board Certified Plastic Surgery, MOC 2012
The Lucas Center, Plastic Surgery
Knoxville, Tn.
thelucascenter.com

How to be “Sun smart”

I love experiencing the sun and all the activities surrounding its presence such as boating, swimming, hiking, and cycling. My mood is immediately elevated witnessing its warm glow. Yes there are many benefits to the sun’s rays such as stimulating the production of Vitamin D which is essential in calcium and bone metabolism as well as supporting the immune system. It chases away the blues of seasonal affective disorder and is essential for life. However there is a risk benefit ratio to being exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Following is a list of downsides to sun exposure. File May 11, 2 23 07 PM

1. The ultraviolet rays of the sun damages the DNA in our skin cells which can result in malignant transformation of cells such as basal, squamous, or melanoma. The latter can be lethal. Therefore minimizing the harmful UVB rays can reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. Sun screen is not a one -time application for a whole day of exposure. It needs to be repeated at least every two hours or more often depending on water or perspiration which can reduce the effectiveness of the prevention. Sun damage is additive over a life time but taking breaks from the harmful rays can allow the tissue to heal and repair some of the mild DNA damage. Therefore year- long tanning such as tanning beds should be discouraged.
2. Exposure of both UVA and UVB rays will damage the elastin fibers in the skin permanently resulting in loose less compliant skin. This will result in the skin of the face, arms, breast, abdomen, thighs, and knees to hang and appear loose. No exercise will tone the damaged skin. Therefore protect your largest organ system, the skin, by shielding the sun with appropriate hats, clothing, and sun screen.
3. Splotchy color changes to the skin. With increased sun exposure the skin will upregulate melanin production resulting in pigmentation changes that are less than attractive and are extremely difficult to reverse.
4. Thinning of the dermis which can result in the appearance of capillaries giving a red appearance around the nose and cheeks.

Everyone wants to have that sun kissed glow to the skin. I wish I had a dollar for every time a women says tan fat looks better than pale fat. Just remember the list above and understand a large sun exposure that creates a nice tan for around a week or so causes a lifetime of damage that can result in potential skin cancer and many vexing maladies of the skin giving a marked aged appearance over time.
Fortunately if you have experienced the above sun damage we can help. A combination of good home skin care with Skin Medica products, chemical peels to remove damaged skin and remove pigmentation changes, and microneedling which can result in collagen induction and improved dermal thickness and skin tone. More educational BLOGS are available on our website. www.thelucascenter.com