The Lucas Center Announces TLC Rewards Program to begin 3-1-2016

We are pleased to present our new TLC Loyalty Rewards Program. This program lets you earn TLC Reward Points that can be redeemed for any of our products and services.*

HOW DOES THE LOYALTY REWARDS PROGRAM WORK?

For each $1 spent on ancillary services and products, you will earn 1 Point. You can earn bonus points during promotions advertised in our emails, Facebook page or special events. Be on the lookout for these promotions and accumulate your Points faster. For a complete listing of point opportunities, please see our list below.

How can I earn points?

  • 1 TLC Point for every $1 spent on products, injectables and peels
  • 500 bonus TLC Points for scheduling cosmetic surgery
  • 500 bonus TLC Points for referring friends and family members who have cosmetic surgery or ancillary procedures (make sure the person you refer has your references you so we can add your points as required).
  • 500 bonus Points for purchasing gift certificates for friends and family valued at $400 and up
  • 100 bonus Points for attending our bi-annual events (Spring and Holiday)
  • TLC Points for special promotions will vary and will be specified with each special.
  • A minimum of 1000 TLC Points are required to redeem your rewards.
POINTS REWARD
1,000 $50.00
1,500 $75.00
2,000 $100.00
2,500 $125.00
3,500 $175.00

Remember to bring your card with you to our office so we can credit or redeem your points. Simply hand it to us any time you make a purchase. TLC Rewards do not expire and are not transferrable. TLC Reward cannot include any retroactive transactions and must be accumulated as a result of new purchases.

*Points are not redeemable for cash, may not be used for outstanding balances, and are accrued on pre-tax amounts. If a product is returned, any points accrued will be deducted. Points are not redeemable for gift card purchases. Points are not earned on dollar amounts for cosmetic surgery procedures. Points are not earned on any insurance procedures. The Lucas Center may, at its discretion, terminate or change the TLC Rewards Loyalty Program.

TLC Rewards

Are your upper arms fit for spring?

It’s winter in East Tennessee, but I’m already looking forward to sunny blue skies with spring blossoms floating through warm breezes. Gone will be the heavy coats and long sleeves, replaced by sleeveless clothes and bare arms. If you’re self-conscious about your upper-arm contour, then spring might not be your favorite season. No worries. Board-certified plastic surgeons like me are at your disposal to give you the confidence to be comfortable in your own skin and bare it all. No more hiding your arms when the temperature rises.

A successful arm-contouring plan depends your specific anatomy. What’s your skin quality and quantity? Is there excess flesh with thin deflated tissue and inelastic skin? Or do you have reasonable skin quality with some increased adipose tissue and a thicker arm contour? Your personal medical history is important as well. Have you gained and lost significant weight or undergone bariatric weight-loss surgery? Do you have a history of large amounts of sun exposure with subsequent sun damage leading to a crepe paper-like skin tone?

The algorithm for management of the unacceptable upper-arm appearance starts with the question of excess skin. Particularly if there is thin deflated skin that is present the full length of the upper arm, a vertical brachioplasty is required. The advantage of this procedure is the ability to remove a great deal of excess skin along with aggressive liposuction to create a wonderful tight contour. The disadvantage is the vertical scar that runs in the posterior medial aspect of the upper arm. Generally speaking, the scar is not visible when someone is facing you or behind you with your arms in repose. The scar can be exposed when the upper arm is extended away from the center of the body.

I can say with great certainty that patients who have undergone massive weight loss, with or without bariatric surgery, would choose the scar over the skin excess any day. Of course, there can be shades of grey in terms of skin excess and laxity. Milder forms may be treated with judicious VASER-assisted lipectomy followed by a modified horizontal brachioplasty, in which the excess tissue is resected and advanced within the axilla (arm pit). Scars are only visible when the arms are elevated with a sleeveless shirt.

If there’s no skin excess and the overlying skin is of good quality and there is contour excess related to an increased volume of fat in the upper arm, the VASER-assisted suction lipectomy is an excellent choice for sculpting the arms to a new contour. The manipulation of the dermis with the cannulas used to remove the fat via small openings in the skin placed in hidden areas of the arm leads to skin re-draping and shrinking. This redistribution creates firmer skin coverage of the arm leading to a nicer sculpted appearance.

What about Cool Sculpting (Cryolipolysis)? My answer is if there is only a very limited amount of excess fat and already tight skin it may work.

However, there is no mechanism with cryolipolysis to induce inflammatory reactions leading to collagen production within the dermis, which causes skin tightening unlike liposuction or micro-needling. My advice is to save your money for the real deal. Radio frequency may have a role in skin tightening, but the results don’t warrant the investment in the expensive equipment, which certainly is passed down to the consumer.

The key to a good result or the avoidance of a disappointing outcome is good clinical experience by a knowledgeable board-certified plastic surgeon with the correct judgment to know which technique to employ to maximize results. Buyer beware when entering the multitude of medispas that exist today without competent medical supervision. Recently in the Atlanta area, an emergency room physician untrained in plastic surgery was performing liposuction in an office without hospital credentials and created injuries to the diaphragm and liver leading to the deaths of two patients. Vetting your physician before undergoing surgery can prevent tragedies like this.

Notable updates from the 2016 Atlanta Breast Surgery Symposium

I recently attended the preeminent breast surgery meeting of the year, sponsored by the Southeastern Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (SESPRS). This was the 32nd annual gathering of international thought leaders in plastic surgery. Many new topics have been introduced at this symposium over the years and discussed at length prior to other meetings or journal articles making this a cutting-edge event. I always make time to attend this meeting to ensure that I am offering the most current surgical services for my patients.

Here’s what I gleaned from this year’s symposium:

Fat Grafting – Around a decade ago at this symposium a panel was organized with plastic surgeons, ethicists, lawyers, bio-engineers, oncologists, radiologists and general surgeons to contemplate the concept of moving forward with fat grafting to the breast to override the ban that the American Society of Plastic Surgeons had placed on this technique many years ago. Fortunately, this sparked the movement of our society and our best researchers to invest time and money into the field of plastic surgery. Certainly the clinical experience of utilizing fat grafting to provide shape and improve contours of the breast has been well documented at this meeting before. This year, additional data added further proof that this technique is here to stay.

Dr. Steve Kronowitz, from MD Anderson Cancer Center, presented data that fat grafting does not disrupt the diagnostics of mammography nor does it promote cancer growth in the breast that has been fat grafted. Furthermore, fat grafting maturity in the new recipient tissues stabilizes by four months. Dr. Kronowitz and others have demonstrated that injecting fat cells under badly damaged radiated skin can greatly improve and heal these tissues, although the actual mechanisms have not been fully elicited.

Dr. Louis Bucky, a noted fat-grafting expert from Philadelphia, has demonstrated that large volume fat grafting into areas which have experienced significant neurologic pain from either breast cancer surgery or multiple operations resulting in scaring can provide predictable relief from this pain. The pain relief is the result of delaminating scar tissue and providing fat in its place to avoid further scaring around nerves.

The takeaway from the symposium is that fat grafting in plastic surgery continues to grow in scope and popularity among surgeons and their patients.

New concept for breast reconstruction – Patients who elect to undergo breast reconstruction with implants historically have the devices placed under the pectoralis muscle with or without the use of an Acellular Dermal Matrix (ADM) extending the coverage of the device down to the fold. The muscle provides additional soft tissue coverage of the implant, blending its presence with the surrounding tissues. This approach also has demonstrated benefit in preventing capsular contracture.

The downside of this procedure is animation deformity, meaning that when the muscle is activated during exercise, it will contract and may greatly distort the breast. Also some women will be numb on the skin surface but will have sensation around the muscle and feel the implant movement at times, which can be bothersome. Lastly, during the early postoperative period, placing an implant under the muscle causes a significant amount of muscle spasm pain for a few weeks.

A new interesting concept is removing the muscle from the reconstruction equation by wrapping an ADM graft around the implant then suturing the ADM to the chest wall to stabilize the orientation of either the expander or a final implant without elevating the muscle. This approach mandates having reliable thick mastectomy skin flaps to cover the device with ADM.

A secondary procedure utilizing large-volume fat grafting to provide additional thickness of skin flaps and correct contour deformities is also required three months later. The advantage is quicker surgery time, less pain, no muscle animation issues and no abnormal feelings with the muscle. I plan to offer this to selected patients shortly.

Look as good as you feel in 2016

So you work out, eat smartly and watch your calorie consumption but your face looks tired, and you look older than you feel. Trust me, you’re not alone. The good news is something can be done that is predictable and sustainable to make you look and feel better about your face.

The key to success is a thoughtful facial analysis, which evaluates your bone structure, muscle activity, soft tissue volume, skin quality and the position of your forehead, brows, eyelids, cheeks and neck. I approach a patient’s face much like an engineer with a sculptor’s artistic eye. I create a problem set followed by a detailed treatment plan, tailored to each of my patient’s wishes and financial parameters.

Treatment plans often include skin quality improvement with techniques such as serial chemical peels and micro-needling. Please see previous blogs on these therapies on my website. If excessive muscle activity leads to a harsh appearing forehead and brows, muscle modulation with Botox can be an excellent approach.

Looking at the upper third of the face, I evaluate brow position with respect to the bony orbital rim and its relationship with the upper and lower eyelids. On women you want the brow to be above the orbital rim with the outer third being elevated compared to the inner 2/3 of the brow. Heavy hanging brows make the eye aperture appear small and tired.

Another important factor in evaluating the upper eyelids is eyelid ptosis (the muscle mechanism which elevates and maintains resting tone of the upper lids). Eyelid ptosis must be addressed with the blepharoplasty to prevent a tired sleepy appearance despite correcting the fat pads and excess skin.

The lower eyelids must be evaluated carefully in comparison to the bony anatomy surrounding the eye and the supporting structure of the lateral canthus, which anchors the eyelids to the lateral bony orbit. Great care must be taken if you have a prominent eye compared to your cheeks and have deficient lower eyelid vertical skin coverage. Weak lateral canthi can result in disastrous results with excessive eye exposure leading to pain and visual disturbance.

Finally, the lower eyelid cheek junction must be inspected. A large tear trough and bulging fat pads can detract from a youthful appearance. Taking out too much fat can result in a hollow eyelid, which can actually create an even older appearance. Current techniques include judicious removal of some of the fat and then actually transposing the fat pad down onto the cheek mass obscuring the demarcation and giving volume to the cheek and avoiding a hollow look.

The midface is all about volume. As we age, the cheek fat pad shrinks in size leading to the face falling with accentuation of the nasolabial folds. In most cases midface restoration can be corrected with volume-added techniques of either fat or filler agents making tissue repositioning in this area less important. A non-invasive injection of Voluma can be a great treatment option.

The lower facial third and neck are evaluated with regard to the jaw line, chin neck angle, and the draping of the soft tissues including the skin and neck muscles. Younger people with good skin quality may well be treated with liposuction alone to achieve a pleasing neck line. If the lower jaw is small with respect to the rest of the face, a chin implant or chin repositioning may help your neck appearance, in addition to liposuction to improve results and create harmony with the lower facial third compared to the rest of the face.

Older skin, with bands of the platysma muscle showing through, is less compliant and is best treated with a neck lift procedure. This surgery includes fat equilibration, neck muscle tightening and soft tissue repositioning and stabilization around the ears.

Facial rejuvenation is not painful, although swelling and bruising will occur. After the dust settles, results can be natural and youthful in appearance with long-lasting results that will boost your confidence beyond any wardrobe or hair makeover.

Look as good as you feel in 2016. Happy New Year!

What can a comprehensive plastic surgery center offer to men?

Plastic surgery for males is a relatively new phenomenon. Historically, men have viewed this venue of services as mostly for women. My father’s generation was not working out in gyms and drinking protein shakes to stay healthy and active in middle age and beyond. Undeniably, the aging baby boomer population refuses to be defined by chronologic age and embraces the concept of wanting to look as good as you feel. With this is mind, why let women have all the resources to age gracefully and look young and vibrant? Men can now maintain a youthful appearance proportionate to our level of health and to our significant others.

What services are available to men?

Skin care: The concept may seem too metrosexual at first glance, but there is a health benefit as well. Sun exposure has a cumulative effect, which damages the outer skin, and dermis making the skin look dry and leathery. Loose, inelastic skin coupled with blotches of dark pigmentation makes the skin appear older than chronologic age would suggest. This is also a set up for skin cancers. Skin care may include skin resurfacing with peels to remove the damaged skin along with micro-needling to induce collagen production and improve skin tightening to provide a much-improved appearance and reduce the potential risks of skin cancers.

The use of Botox, which will weaken the overactive muscles between the brows and around the eyes, can prevent the deep furrows of the skin thus smoothing the appearance. This agent can be employed to hide some of the muscle bands in the neck as well.

Filler agents, such as Voluma, can be easily injected into areas of programed fat atrophy which occurs in aging and results in the cheek falling causing accentuation of the cheek folds and may produce hanging on the jaw line. Voluma, which is a highly crosslinked stiff hyaluronic acid filler, can manage to lift the cheek without making the face look fat.

Rhinoplasty: This is the art and science of the interactions of skin, bone and cartilage of the nose to provide an aesthetically appealing appearance with normal function. Rhinoplasty is a very meticulous surgery with the goal of providing a balanced appearance between the various components of the nose as well as creating harmony with the rest of the face. This surgery can provide a real boost to someone’s appearance and self-esteem.

Gynecomastia: This is a condition in which the male breast increases in size with fibro-glandular tissue mixed with added volume of fat giving it a feminized appearance. Gynecomastia can occur at any age creating self-conscious situations both with and without clothing. Fortunately the correction is very straightforward and very predictable. We recommend the use of ultrasonic energy mixed with traditional liposuction to facilitate fat and fibro-glandular removal of tissue to sculpt the breast back to a masculine appearance. There are occasions when direct excision of tissue directly under the nipple-areolar complex is necessary in addition to the liposuction to achieve the desired results, but the scaring in minimal. Without question a very power surgery that gives wonderful results.

Lipo-sculpturing: Unfortunately diet and exercise can’t cure all problems with the contour of the abdomen and posterior flanks. With metabolism changes, even a meticulous healthy eater with an active lifestyle can still experience abdominal bulges and flank adiposity. For patients with good skin quality without a great deal of skin excess, liposuction can provide a means of sculpting the torso to give a more pleasing shape and enhance confidence with and without clothes. The surgery is generally not that difficult to recover from, and results can be effective.

Eyelid rejuvenation: Do people say you look tired? Do your lids hang over your eyes giving the appearance of sleepiness? Do you have puffy lower eyelids giving you a less vibrant persona? Then you may want to consider eyelid surgery to give you a refreshed look. It’s been said that the eyes are the windows into the soul; so don’t have outdated window treatments. The surgery is mildly uncomfortable with swelling being the biggest issue related to return of feeling comfortable in social situations. Careful consultation with your surgeon is required to avoid complications depending on the anatomy of your eyelids. People will notice the refreshed look after the recovery has taken place.

Neck rejuvenation: A hanging neck with loose skin and excess fat can give the appearance of an aged and out-of-shape individual. It may also project being overweight. Depending on the degree of tissue excess and skin quality, this may be correctable with liposuction alone. However if the skin quality is poor and there is the presence of muscle bands in the neck, a true neck lift will be required. This surgery can take an old-looking neck and transform it to a smooth crisp neckline with well-defined jaw contours. Neck rejuvenation can take years and pounds away from how you look.

In summary, plastic surgery offers men many options to consider feeling good about the skin you’re in. It’s not just for women anymore. For more in-depth discussions of procedures and spa services, visit thelucascenter.com or call 865.218.6210 to schedule your personal consultation with me.

Fat grafting versus filler agents: which is best for facial volume restoration?

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For many years, facial rejuvenation was limited to skin resurfacing with lasers and peels, and various surgical soft tissue repositioning procedures. However, our options have expanded with the understanding of muscle relaxation via neurotoxins such as Botox, and the evolution of our knowledge of how fat atrophy in the face leads to stereotypical architectural changes with aging. Plastic surgeons can now add volume to refresh the face. In order to achieve a youthful but natural appearance for my patients, I use a combination of muscle balancing, skin resurfacing and tightening as well as volume restoration. Ultimately, when the battle of gravity versus skin plays out over time, surgical repositioning is required.

Let’s examine the question of how best to restore volume in the face.

One option for facial volume restoration is off-the-shelf materials such as hyaluronic acid, in various structural manifestations, as a direct filler. Another option is a polymer of lactic acid (Sculptra), which acts as an inflammatory material inducing collagen synthesis to create a guided tissue volume additive over time. Both are easily administered in the office without any donor site pain or bruising. While these procedures are easy and safe, it takes experienced hands, eyes and judgement to achieve the best outcomes. Results can be expected to last up to two years.

Fat grafting is another source of filler material to restore volume to the face. Fat is easily harvested from the abdomen or the thighs to use in the face. The technique is a gentle form of liposuctioning which then requires a minimal amount of processing followed by reinjection into the desired locations. In the office setting under local anesthesia, patients may not enjoy some of the pressure sensations required to obtain the fat. In an effort not to injure the fat and to prevent fat from being injected into vessels, blunt cannulas are utilized to place the cells into the tissues. This technique causes some degree of pressure sensation as oppposed to a sharp small needle, which can inject off-the-shelf fillers. The advantage of fat is that it is cheaper to obtain than manufactured materials. In most cases, there is a relatively unlimited supply. Furthermore, peripheral stem cells may direct cellular differentiation leading to improved tissue quality.

Fat versus fillers

Fat is certainly more technically demanding and unforgiving. For injections around the eyes to smooth the eyelid cheek junction, I prefer hyaluronic acid. When injected smoothly with appropriate application, no lumps or bumps should occur. In the lips, when I am working to recreate vertical ridges of the phyltral columns of the upper lip and “Cupid’s bow” points as well as a nice rolled margin of the lip, I prefer hyaluronic acid, because it is the consistency of caulking material and can provide shape. Fat is soft, and does not exert force on the skin in the same way as fillers. However, recent research from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center demonstrates excellent results of restoring large volume loss of the upper lip beyond the vermillion by placing fat cells in a broad area making the loose skin less apparent.

With regard to the common area of deflation of the sub-malar fat pad in a non-surgical case, I prefer the highly crosslinked stiff material of Voluma which does an excellent job of re-supporting the facial structures to a more youthful position. If I am already performing a surgical case of a face or neck lift, I always add volume to the face prior to elevating the tissue; this is when I choose fat, because of the ease of harvest and injection under anesthesia. Some thin women may show very demarcated loss of volume in the temple area giving the face a skeletonized appearance around the eyes and making the brows seem to sag. This is an excellent indication for Sculptra. If the volume loss exceeds several vials worth of Voluma in the sub-malar fat pad per side, I also prefer to use Sculptra.

Fat grafting is an evolving technique in plastic surgery. Every industry conference has a significant discussion about the techniques and the science behind the results with just about every region of the body applicable to its uses, including face, breast, hand, buttock and other contour deformities. For the early stages of facial rejuvenation, which can occur in the third decade of life and beyond, much of the volume restoration is performed with off-the-shelf filler agents in an office setting due to ease and convenience.

It’s a case-by-case decision.

So when do you use fat versus fillers? It depends. It’s a case-by-case decision to determine the best protocol for each patient. I take a customized approach from the consult to the procedure, based on my unique skill set and my years of experience and training. My goal is to provide the absolute optimal results for each of my patients and to cultivate a lifetime relationship.

Most commonly requested plastic surgery for men in my practice

In my practice the majority of my consultations and surgeries are on women. But over the past few years I have seen an increased demand of men requesting surgeries as well. Some of this may be related to baby boomers who have taken good care of themselves and desire to look as good as they feel. Other men don’t want their wives to look better than they do after they have been undergoing facial rejuvenation procedures so they request surgery as well.

1. Blepharoplasty: Eyelid rejuvenation
Just as women often show signs of aging around the eyes so do men. The phrase “the eyes are the window to the soul” may well be a true but I would also add the statement the “eyelids are the window treatments through which you see the soul.” Loose hanging furrowed skin, lateral brows that hang over the upper eyelids, and bulging fat pads below the eyelids with accentuated tear troughs put forth the image of fatigue and loss of vitality often resulting in friends and colleges asking if you are tired and are you getting enough sleep. Fortunately surgery to restore the upper eyelids to a crisp appearance with correction of any eyelid droop can be a game changer. The lower lids can be rejuvenated by removing excess fat with reposition this tissue over the cheek to eliminate the tear trough combined with skin and muscle tightening provide a fresh and vibrant appearance. This can be an important not only in social situations but also how a person is viewed in the workplace.

2. Neck lifts
Do you look in the mirror and say to yourself I hate this turkey neck? Is buying dress shirts getting more difficult to find that are comfortable with ties? Despite not gaining weight do you look heavier in the face? If the answer to all these questions is yes a consultation for a neck lift may well be a beneficial idea that is not just for vanity. Ideally a man should have a strong jaw line and a crisp chin neck junction. Having hanging skin with or without fat excess that obscures the jaw line certainly can put forth the image of premature aging of the individual beyond his chronologic age. A neck lift can be a valuable tool to restore your appearance and convey youth and energy without changing your overall appearance or giving an odd appearance. The surgery is very predictable in the hands of a board certified plastic surgeon and is an outpatient procedure with very little pain. Most people can be comfortable in social situation in two weeks.

3. Rhinoplasty (Nose surgery to reshape the appearance)
Proportionality is everything. If you are unhappy with the shape of the nose or how it blends with the rest of the face then request a plastic surgeon to perform a facial analysis of you. If the nose seems big maybe the lower face is out of place such as a small lower jaw or chin. Often times I will perform a chin augmentation with a rhinoplasty to provide a harmonious facial appearance. Nose surgery requires finesse and a keen understanding of the anatomy of the many subunits of the nose. The key is to provide shape without feminizing the male nose. This is also a rather easy surgery to recover from and the patient can return to work within a week usually.

4. Chin augmentation with or without an implant.
As mentioned above the facial subunits should all be proportionate to each other. If the lower jaw projection is limited by lack of growth it can portray a weaker jaw with less of a masculine appearance. By using the correct judgement a plastic surgeon can provide an enhanced projection with the combination of either an implant or repositioning of the bone in combination with liposuction of the jaw line to create a sculpted jaw which projects strength.

5. Liposuction of the abdomen and flanks
If you look in the mirror and the phrase “dad bod “screams out… liposuction maybe something to entertain. An important fact to remember is liposuction with its many variations is a contouring tool not a weight loss technique. I strongly encourage anyone who is considering body contouring should first consider diet and exercise first. If after some toning in the gym and normalized weight you are still unhappy with the shape of your body then liposuction may be a reasonable adjunct to improve the appearance. The abdominal area can be shaped as well as the flanks reduced to provide a sleeker frame. It’s a safe surgery that is easily recovered from and normally patients can return to work in a day or two. Final results take between six weeks and two months to observe the full effect of the reshaping.

6. Gynecomastia repair (Man boobs correction)
If you have excess fat and skin of the breast which can also affect the size and shape of the nipple-areolar complex this can project a very feminizing effect of the male chest. In my experience I have been very happy with the results of the combination of VASER liposuction (ultrasound assisted liposuction) with direct excision of any sub-areolar glandular elements with or without areolar reduction to achieve a masculine chest. This can be a very disturbing condition for a man of any age particularly in the teenage years. We see a bimodal distribution of people seeking treatment; those of the teenage years and men in their late forties and fifties who are seeking help to restore the loss of tone of the chest area.

Plastic surgery has continued to evolve in its perception ever since its creation after World War I. Aesthetic surgery was once viewed as taboo or something to hide because it was perceived to be too self-indulgent, now has become more common place and in the minds of many its presence is look upon as main stream. I think this evolution of societie’s views is related to the strong work of The American Society of Plastic Surgery, and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery to ensure that board certified plastic surgeon are well trained and perform safe and predictable surgeries that patients seek and desire with excellent outcomes. Also our population is living longer with better quality of life and people are remaining active and engaged and wish to look as good as they feel and are no longer shy about requesting procedure to keep them looking their best.

Common Questions patients have about post-bariatric body lift procedures

1. Will a lower body lift fix all my problems that concern me after massive weight loss?
The surgery of the lower body lift is a constellation of several procedures rolled into a single anesthesia event. It amalgamates an abdominoplasty with a lateral thigh lift, a lower flank-plasty, and buttock augmentation with the patient’s tissue derived from the flanks to give a shapelier appearance that is not flat and amorphous. Many people who have experienced the loss of over one hundred pounds have many areas troubling to the patient beyond the mid and lower torso. These individuals have redundant hanging skin of the arms and medial thighs, significant aesthetic deformities of the breast, and often premature aging of the neck and face. These above mentioned areas are addressed with additional procedures performed separately such as a breast lift with or without a brachioplasty (arm lift), medial thigh lifts, and face- neck lifts. Patients also typically inquire about the order of the procedures and I often state I prefer to perform the lower body lift first to establish the “Keystone “ area of the torso and then I can better make aesthetic judgements about the breasts and thighs with respect to the shapelier proportion of the new torso.

2. Will I spend the night in the hospital after the lower body lift?
Although the lower body lift with all its components takes about 7.5 hours of anesthesia time, The Lucas Center of Plastic Surgery’s protocol is for an outpatient surgery status. People seem amazed at this concept. My explanation is a hospital is for sick patients who require monitoring of unstable vital signs, severe pain requiring IV pain management, the inability to take oral consumption of fluids and nutrients, or the requirement of IV antibiotics. After this very significant surgery we have done very thorough evaluation of what is required to make a patient comfortable, safe and recover in an expedited manner. First of all the surgery utilizes a technique supplemented with tumescent anesthesia which provides local anesthesia with a blood vessel constrictor (epinephrine) which results in a very limited amount of blood loss eliminating any risk of unstable vital signs postoperatively. We also ensure adequate pain management with the combination of a long acting local anesthesia pump to control pain along with narcotic analgesia. There are no limitations on what you can or can’t eat afterwards. At home pain medications can be dispensed as needed, as compared to a busy hospital when your pain control may be limited by the availability of the nursing staff. Home limits the risk of hospital acquired infections which can occur on the nursing floors. Lastly one of the biggest safety measures is the prevention of deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary emboli. Early ambulation even the night of surgery is one of the most important factors along with chemo-prophylaxsiswith Lovenox which can be easily administered at home. In the hospital ambulation is once again limited by the nursing staff availability and can result in almost no mobilization the night of surgery or beyond. In conclusion home is the best place to be after this operation.

3. What are the things patients will be responsible for after surgery?
A patient will wake up in a compression garment that helps to limit swelling and support the abdomen. Four drains will be placed during surgery to reduce fluid collections on the abdomen, flanks and lateral thighs. This will require some care to encourage fluid drainage and the patient or the care giver must measure the output to determine when the drains can be removed. All incisions are closed deeply with resorb able sutures with a layer of a glue –like substance over top so no incisional care is required for two weeks. The patient may shower the first post-operative day. The most comfortable position to rest is in a reclined position to reduce the tension on the abdominal closure.

4. When can I resume normal activities and exercise?
This is a very significant operation which can result in a whole new lease on life by liberating the patient of the imprisonment of the excess hanging skin of the torso. However this comes at a cost of being quite sore and requires subsistence living for about two weeks. After this time many of the inflammatory chemical released by the body as a result of surgical trauma have cleared and most people begin to feel significantly better and are able to resume a more normal life. To feel completely normal it takes around six weeks which is also the time frame to return to regular exercise.

5. What are lifestyle loans? Can they be utilized to finance these procedures?
Lifestyle loans are now becoming more popular and several institutions such as Credit Unions and banks in Knoxville, Tennessee offer loans for cosmetic surgery procedures up to $10,000 with rates as low as 9.20% APR for up to forty eight months. This is substantially more attractive than other popular finance plans to help finance larger procedures such as body contouring after bariatric surgery. Please contact your local bank or credit union for more details.

Why are Plastic Surgeons uniquely qualified to perform facial analysis and rejuvenation

Board certified plastic surgeons have a very diverse training experience because we do not own a particular body part such as an Orthopedic or an ENT surgeon and we must be prepared to reconstruct or rejuvenate all parts of the body when the demand arises. Those who felt the calling to become plastic surgeons out of medical school realized their gifts and talents that could be offered to patients pertain to their unique skills of three dimensional thinking and artistic perspective to be able to see the problem and formulate a solution no matter how complicated the deformity exists.

I am troubled by the notion that patients think that facial filler agents, neurotoxins, LASERS, non-invasive contouring machines and other technologies or even surgery will work the exact same way no matter who is providing the services. I feel that Madison Avenue and corporate greed is mostly to blame because all aesthetic companies want to sell the product and place it in as many provider hands as possible to deliver their product to the masses. Many products can provide safe, and reproducible results in the right hands but in the untrained provider can result in injuries, poor outcomes and unhappy patients. None of these products are dirt cheap so why go to a clinician who is unable to critically analyze the face or body because of the lack of years of extended training. Remember if you can’t see the problem correctly then you can’t formulate a proper solution. My analogy for this situation is you can give a novice and a true artist the exact same canvas, paint and palate and ask each to create their masterpiece I hazard to guess there will be a distinct difference in outcome and quality. Why risk your face and body or your wallet to chance go to a true trained professional in aesthetic procedures. All providers are not created equal. Plastic surgeon have a unique training and perspective which I can assure you results in better outcomes.

As an example of why I feel uniquely qualified to analyze faces and what can be provided to achieve your aesthetic goals look to my experience as a craniofacial plastic surgeon who spent years mastering the art and science of the rehabilitation of the child with cleft lip and palate. It requires great understanding of the biology of the facial structures of bone, teeth, muscle, skin, fat, and cartilage and how growth and wound healing affects theses structure over time. Typically the child undergoes a lip and initial nose repair at three months of age with or without pre-surgical orthopedic repositioning of the bony segments. Followed by cleft palate repair at age six months to reposition the muscles that move the palate and close the hole between the nose and mouth. The third surgery to repair the cleft of the bone which house the teeth utilizing bone from the hip is performed somewhere around five to six years of age. After a period of six months then the cleft nasal repair is performed to balance the nasal tip with cartilage taken from the back of an ear. Additional surgeries may be required to improve speech function or revise the lip scar. We work closely with ENT’s, speech therapist, orthodontist and pediatric dentist to achieve excellent results.

These principles have been engrained in me and I can apply this knowledge to improving your aging face both non-surgically as well as surgical repositioning of aging soft tissues, changing the shape of your nose, lips and other structures. Please see below pictures of representative cases of cleft lip and palate surgery I have performed over the years. If you have any questions and if you would like a consultation we me and my staff please contact me via our website.

Age three months prior to first surgery
Cleft 1

Age Eight after four surgeries
Cleft 2

Age three months
Cleft 3

Age Eight after three surgeries
Cleft 4

Age three months
Cleft 5

Four months after presurgical repositioning of upper jaw and bilateral lip repair
Cleft 6

The bottom line on fat grafting

The buttock area has reached new levels of interest thanks to the influx of the Latin culture from South America and pop culture’s fixation on the shapely, self-absorbed Kardashians. Surgeons on the cutting edge of buttock enhancement choose to use fat grafting instead of buttock implants to avoid some very difficult complications.

Thanks in part due to Dr. Simeon Wall’s concept of tissue equilibration in body sculpting, tissue can be removed from areas of excess and transposed to areas of deficiency. For example, we can take excess areas like the muffin top and the lateral thigh and place that fat into the under-projected gluteal areas creating the idealized shape of the buttock both in terms of the outer framing and the projection.

The breast is another area where fat is very important. Most of the breast volume under the skin is composed of fat with small islands of glandular material dispersed throughout. With aging, volume in the breast is lost by glandular atrophy and some fat loss. Previously breast rejuvenation or enhancement was only thought of with augmentation via implants, with or without tissue repositioning such as a mastopexy. Today fat grafting is critical to achieving superior results. Research suggests that over 60% of breast augmentation procedures could be improved with the addition of fat grafting performed simultaneously.

Furthermore, fat that is harvested contains peripheral stem cells. The presence of stem cells in harvested fat has implications for rejuvenation medicine and the potential growth of tissue such as bone, skin, solid organs and bone marrow cells. Unfortunately, the art of marketing has outpaced science, and many clinicians are calling fat grafting to the face a “stem cell face lift.” This is a misleading statement. Much energy has been directed toward the understanding of the stem cell, but it’s not ready for prime time yet.

Plastic surgeons employ biologic tissue as our medium to create beautiful forms of living art. Fat is a wonderful way to sculpt the human body. It is truly like airbrushing imperfections in three dimensions.

Regardless of the Kardashians over-developed assets, fat grafting is worth the hype. Call 865.218.6210 today or go online to thelucascenter.com to schedule your consultation. I look forward to discussing with you the myriad of options for face, breast and buttock enhancement via fat grafting.