Tag Archives: The Lucas Center Plastic Surgery

Rejuvenate your breast shape and volume with simultaneous breast lift and fat grafting

Unfortunately gravity is unceasing and combined with age and sun related skin loss of elasticity a woman’s tissues surrounding her breast can lead to the breast mound falling lower on the chest. Additionally, the volume inside the breast can diminish with hormonal changes after pregnancy and menopause and with significant weight loss.  All these factors triumphantly combine to give an aged appearance that can be significantly disproportionate to the otherwise youthful feeling of a women. Sound depressing? Sure it does but the artistry and science behind plastic surgery can offset these changes to a woman’s breasts and make them feel good about the skin they are in.

If someone is unhappy with the appearance of their breasts it is helpful for analysis sake to deconstruct the breast into two separate components: the overlying skin brazier, and the volume and its distribution of the breast mound on the chest wall.

The mound itself may have adequate volume but most of the distribution of the volume is in the lower pole of the breast well below the breast fold requiring a bra to perform a heroic task of keeping the breast on the proper location on the chest wall. This situation can be improved by a mastopexy (lift) with creating a lower pole breast flap of tissue transposed under the rest of the breast mound and fixated to a non-mobile portion of the chest wall to provide upper pole fullness. In this situation the skin brazier is loose and has allowed the breast mound to sink inferiorly and requires and generous amount of skin to be removed and repositioned to be coincident with the newly shaped breast mound. For some women this may produce a nice result but particularly individuals who have a very long trunk with a great distance from the breast fold to the collar bone, creating the appearance of low set breasts, the above technique requires another means of providing upper pole fullness. Some women are comfortable with adding an augmentation with a breast implant to enhance shape and form and creating a nice upper pole roundness. Some surgeons are comfortable offering an augmentation at the same time as the mastopexy. Other surgeons would argue, based on data which has shown a 25% revision rate with the combined procedures, would prefer to stage these techniques. I personally like to perform the augmentation mastopexy in a single stage because I would rather have the implant in place to provide shape and volume to the overlying breast mound prior to tailoring the skin envelope of the lift procedure. I find this saves the patient a second general anesthesia, reduces expenses, and can be performed in the office setting with much less cost. Generally, it is only a minor skin re-tailoring to minimally reposition the nipple-areolar complex vertically on the breast mound.

Implants can provide structural shaping and volume enhancement of the breast mound but there are definitely limitations to their effect. Women who have structural limitations to their chest wall anatomy can have difficulty in achieving satisfactory results with implants alone. Individuals with very wide sternums and rapidly sloping chest walls cannot achieve meaningful cleavage with implants alone because the devise cannot be placed on the sternum. Another anatomic limitation eluded to in the above paragraph is the long chest wall with the accentuated length of the breast fold to collar bone giving the illusion of the low set breast. Even an anatomic shaped breast implant which is taller than it is wide still cannot mask this affect. In both of the above situations in which implants are chosen as the enhancer of choice the addition of fat grafting is necessary to create a much enhanced result. The beauty of fat grafting is that it can be placed in any position on the chest or breast. It can be similar to the concept of photo-shopping an image and allows the surgeon to truly sculpt the breast and chest wall to closer reflect an ideal form and helps to hide these difficult anatomic variants with your very own fat.

Other women may prefer to avoid implants all together and in consultation with their surgeon may choose to enhance the shape and volume of the breast mound and chest wall in conjunction with a mastopexy with just fat grafting lone without implants. Just as implants have limitations so does fat grafting. The current art and science of the techniques of autologous fat grafting has a yield of around seventy percent sustainable take of the viable fat implanted into the tissues. This has been reproducible shown over many series of papers presented in the literature. Since fat is a very soft material that cannot resist significant opposing forces of the skin it is difficult to globally enhance a breast mound much larger than a cup to a cup and a half sizes larger in one session. Therefore a women who has a large skin envelope and very limited breast mound volume and desires to have a very full shape should not consider enhancement solely with fat alone. A combined implant with fat grafting provides a much better and stable result. In my experience fat grafting alone is best to sculpt and shape the cleavage and upper poles of the breast and chest wall interface. It can enhance the overall volume by a cup size as well. The other nice advantage of fat grafting for breasts is it allows the removal of unwanted fat volume from places like the flanks, abdomen, and thighs to achieve improved breast shape and sculpting of the body contour.

If you feel self-conscious about the appearance of your breast and feel it is disproportionate to the rest of the body and how you feel about yourself, consult a board certified plastic surgeon to define your goals and options for rejuvenating your breasts.

Eye-opening concepts.

It has been said that the eyes are the windows to our souls. Certainly we often remember our friends and love-ones faces with the eyes playing a prominent role in facial identification. Unfortunately the aging process can strike this region relatively early leading to appearances that project fatigue, disinterest, and lack of vitality. Aging will result in skeletal changes around the eye, shrinkage of muscle and fat volume in the temples causing lateral brow descent, thinning and loss of elasticity of the skin of the eyelids, prominence of the fat pads of the upper and lower lids as a result of a weakening of the eye socket surrounding these structures, and in some cases the muscles that control upper eyelid position stretch or change leading to the upper eyelid drooping with respect to the pupil giving a sleepy appearance. All these symptoms of aging can hide the bright and vibrant person inside giving the false impression of a tired worn out individual. Take back the youthful appearance that is hidden under the veil of aging by consulting a board certified plastic surgeon who has expertise in eyelid and brow rejuvenation.

Brow

As with all anatomic areas deformities of the upper third of the face can span a wide range of severities. Many times women in their late thirties and early forties can show signs of early brow descent which can narrow the opening of the eye and brow skin resting on the upper eyelids. Many times in these milder forms of age and gravity related deformities we can correct with muscle balancing procedures utilizing neurotoxins such as Botox to weaken the depressors of the brow and allow unopposed brow elevators to prevail and elevate the resting tone of the brow.

Another targeted area to correct non-surgically, the brow position, is to restore volume to the temple region of the skull. This area in front of and superior to the ear and lateral to the brow represents the temporal fossa. This houses a large flat muscle that helps to elevate the jaw and is surrounded by soft tissue including fat and covered by hair bearing scalp tissue. Bony and muscle remodeling coupled with overlying fat shrinkage can lead to a hollowed out appearance which causes the brow to fall downward making the brow skin begin to cover the upper eyelid skin. Volume restoration can be accomplished with any number of filler agents but I prefer to correct the volume with a guided tissue regeneration product call Sculptra which is a polymer of lactic acid which promotes collagen deposition over time restoring volume and allowing the brow to be supported at a higher level compared to a depleted state.

As the brow tissue descends lower, further concealing the upper eyelid, the options narrow to surgical intervention. I prefer an endoscopic assisted brow lift over an open approach to avoid scars and hairline shifts. Just a few small openings spread out over the hairline allows for the complete release of the forehead and fixation internally to correct brow drooping leading to a pleasing brow position which looks natural without changing the hairline and allowing for improved visualization of the upper eyelid. In most cases the upper eyelid skin will require modification to give a harmonious smooth result. Errors such as trying to remove excess upper eyelid skin which includes excess brow tissue instead of performing a simultaneous brow lift will result in a poor result with very high eyelid crease scaring and the inability to close the eyelids resulting in dry eyes. Expertise in the aesthetic and functional evaluation of the upper third of the face is important.

Upper eyelid

The most common cause of excess upper eyelid skin is the underlying result of periodic eyelid swell causing excess thinning tissue. This can be addressed with conservative blepharoplasty techniques which can include some judicious fat removal. Of course a thorough exam to determine if the resting eyelid position with respect to the pupil is too low because not correcting the drooping of the upper lid will give a less than adequate rejuvenation because the patients eyes will still seem tired due to the lid lag.

Lower eyelid

Common aesthetic problems of the lower eyelid include excess skin, lack of lateral support of the lower eyelid giving a rounded eye appearance and excessive show of the whites of the eye ball, large fat pads with or without loose skin, increased separation of the eyelid cheek junction, and lastly crow’s feet. If skin quality is reasonable without excessive crepey skin and there is increase separation of the eyelid cheek junction then a conservative injection of a hyaluronic acid placed on the cheek bone under the muscle that closes the eyelids can smooth out the tear trough as well as build up the lateral eyesocket boney rim hiding some mild bulging of the lateral lower fat pad of the eyelid. This can create a Photoshop effect smoothing out the eyelid. Another conservative approach to helping the aging lower eyelid is to diminish activity of the lateral muscle that closes the eyelids with neurotoxins which can lead to a reduction in crow’s feet and can slightly help to elevate the lateral third of the brow.

Surgical interventions of the lower eyelid include judicious removal of the two lower eyelid fat pads through the inside of the lid with transposition of the fat on to the cheek to hide the tear trough, surgically removing excess skin from under the lash line vs skin tightening with a C02 Laser, lateral lid support to the bone enhancements with or without shortening the horizontal length of the lid. These procedures need to be selected based on clinical exam with the goal to provide a youthful eyelid with good support while avoiding excessive hollowing of the lower eyelids and poor lid support leading to rounded eyes and increased exposure of the eyeball.

The upper third of the face contains the aesthetic units of the brow, upper and lower eyelids and are a very unique region of our body for both special senses of vision, and provide our unique individuality of facial appearance. Aging can have a detrimental effect on both the aesthetics and function of this region which can bias people’s opinion of our vitality and mental sharpness. Non-surgical and surgical corrections can be important tools to correct these deformities restoring our appearance and giving back self confidence.

Customized Breast Enhancement

Remodel – Customized Breast Enhancement – Let the Lucas Center, Plastic Surgery offer you a customized approach.

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Are you a breast augmentation patient who either had surgery in the late 1990’s during the silicone false claim crisis or a patient who was misled into thinking that saline is an equivalent to the modern silicone gel implants? Or you were a fan of the 1990’s Bay Watch series and at the time felt that Pamela Anderson’s breast shape and size was the ideal standard. Just like houses with bathrooms and kitchens that seem dated after ten to fifteen years, requiring attention to remodeling to keep the house fresh and modern, so are breast enhancements. Stylistic changes and technology advancement of breast implant materials and fat grafting have come a long way, making your old decisions for your breast enhancement seem out of date and behind the times. Just like clothing styles and cars from the 1990’s seem dated now, so is the oversized sagging breast with saline implants, complete with rippling and pleating requiring an industrial strength bra to keep them in place. Ladies you don’t have to compromise any longer. Does your kitchen and bathroom still have brass fixtures? Then you should not have to put up with these heavy oversized misshapen breasts that are neither comfortable nor stylish. Consult a board certified plastic surgeon to review your options today.

Options not available 10-15 years ago.

First and foremost a modern plastic surgeon who has kept up with the current techniques and evidence based medicine related to breast enhancement will perform a complete tissue based diagnosis of the breast. Gone are the days hopefully of a surgeon standing in front of you without any measurements and eyeballing a one size fits all approach and telling you he or she will make you a “D” cup and you will love it. The facts are the 1990’s approach of shoving in multiple sizers or placing the largest possible smooth round saline implant under the breast without individualizing fit based on the patients breast tissue parameters lead to a revision rate of breast enhancement of 25% which manufacturers submitted to the FDA in the early two thousands. If gallbladders and knee replacements had that high of a revision rate insurance companies and Medicare would have a moratorium on the procedures. Fortunately our though leaders in plastic surgery have evaluated and re-engineered the procedures to minimize complications of capsular contracture, incorrect size placement, and avoidance of soft tissues being permanently thinned and distorted requiring complex revision procedures to correct poor outcomes. Most importantly the surgeon needs to determine the correct diameter of the devise both in width and height. The soft tissue thickness of the upper and lower pole (area above and below the nipple) is important as well as the tissue length from the fold to the nipple-areolar complex. The overall geometry of the chest and breast bone need to be noted requiring modification of procedures. It does not take an engineer to understand a women who is five feet tall and one hundred and ten pounds with a relatively short breast fold to collarbone and narrow chest with minimal breast tissue cannot have the same implant placed as a five feet, nine inch tall female with one hundred and sixty pounds with a wide frame and a large “B” cup breast. Unfortunately some surgeons did feel this way and some still do detracting from a customized approach that minimizes revision rates and unhappy patients.

Three dimensional imaging such as the Vectra has revolutionized my patient education and consultation for breast enhancements.  We can produce a very representative imaging of a women’s breast and torso and with computer simulation can demonstrate how any implant available in the United States can appear with your tissue parameters and allow the patient to see the proposed outcomes before a decision is made. This avoids wrong size surgery and allows patient expectation to be matched thus avoiding revision surgery. However the technology does not exist to provide this information if a breast already has an implant. This simulation also allows patients to see the limitations of an implant alone based on enhancement depending upon the individual’s soft tissue or bony deficiencies. This is where the discussion of fat grafting can be very beneficial to hiding the anatomic variances such as wide sternums that produce wide cleavages to provide an improved outcome and patient satisfaction. We can also demonstrate using a slightly smaller implant which has less weight and drag on poor quality soft tissue and supplementing the overall volume with large volume fat grafting to minimize implant malposition due to failure of soft tissues holding the implant in place.

Breast implants themselves have evolved over the last few decades. Today plastic surgeons can offer patients more options in size, shapes, and types of silicone than ever before also allowing for a more customized approach. I particularly have found the fifth generation silicone gel implants (Gummy Bears) to be particularly useful in petite women and very tall, thin women to exploit the positioning of the implant with differential heights and widths to maximize outcomes. I never use saline implants because they put too much strain on tissues, have excessive rippling, only can function as a round devise and can spontaneously deflate creating emergency surgical situations for patients. Based on clinical evidence, texturing of the implant can reduce capsular contracture, minimizing migration of the devise laterally over time and can maintain pocket size better than a smooth devise. Downsides include late seromas (fluid collections) and possible linkage with a very rare but easily treated form of implant related lymphomas. In my mind the benefits outweigh the small risks with texturing.

Lastly, the techniques of the actual surgery have evolved in the last ten years. These techniques include more precise, less traumatic dissections of the breast pocket, avoiding biofilm (a leading cause of capsular contracture) by minimizing the manipulation of the pockets with implants, and no touch techniques with the surgeon’s hands or patients’ skin on the devises that can minimize revision rates and improve outcomes.

In conclusion if you are a breast enhancement patient and are less than satisfied with your outcome don’t learn to live with compromise explore the modern day breast augmentation procedures available at board certified plastic surgeon’s offices around the country. Remember cell phones, cars, computers and styles have all rapidly evolved for the better compared to the 1990’s refresh yourself you will be glad you did.

For further information into customized breast enhancement procedures please visit www.thelucascenter.com or contact The Lucas Center, Plastic Surgery, PLLC in Knoxville, Tennessee 865 218 6210.

 

Plan Your Fall Chemical Peel

Summer is a fun, favorite time of year for all of us. From beach vacations, pool parties, backyard barbecues, and simply having more hours of daylight to enjoy the outdoors are some of the wonderful ways we enjoy summer and make wonderful memories. Try as we might to load up on sunscreen, wear large brimmed hat and sunglasses, our skin can still experience cellular damage. UVA rays can cause damage to the skin membrane, UVB rays damage the DNA of the cells and IR-A damages the mitochondria. Unfortunately, the SPF (sun protection factor) number of a sunscreen indicates only the level of protection from the UVB rays and UVA rays are 50 times more prevalent than UVB rays. They penetrate deeply into the skin cell layers damaging collagen and cells. It is very likely that some of these dangerous rays took a negative toll on our skin over the course of the summer months. Thankfully, there are ways we can correct some of the damage and prevent the unwanted photo-aging. The use of topical cosmeceuticals can rejuvenate the skin, growth factors help support the skin’s natural ability to support itself and anti-oxidants are free radical scavengers and help fight the signs of aging. In-office chemical peels are a must for reversing the damage and photo aging process. I recommend that all of my clients have a single chemical peel or series of peels at this time of year to correct sun damage. Chemical peels come in several different strengths. A treatment plan can be customized for each person based on their skin type, concerns, level of damage and desired outcome. Sometimes results can be achieved with a single peel, other times a series of two to three peels are necessary to work on more stubborn or deeper issues. I would encourage everyone to start planning now for their chemical peels. Minimal downtime can be expected post procedure. The skin will start off pink the day of the peel and will be very tight until peeling starts, generally 48 to 72 hours after the procedure, and can last 2 to 5 days. I would recommend looking ahead at your schedule and setting up a time to accommodate this process since it’s not too early to plan your fall skin rejuvenation. If you are unsure what your skin needs, please call 865-218-6210 to set up a complementary consultation.

State of the Art of Breast Reconstruction Techniques

When I think back to my first plastic surgery rotation as a medical student in the early 1990’s breast reconstruction was performed much differently then. During this time period the silicone implant crisis was at its peak, women were skeptical of breast implants, and the majority of reconstruction surgeries were with TRAM (Transverse Rectus Abdominus) flaps requiring large skin paddles because the breast surgeons were much more invasive in the way breasts were removed. Today silicone breast implants are safe and available in many sizes and shapes, providing patients and surgeons many more options than ever before. The technique of breast removal (mastectomies) have become much more selective, even being able to spare the nipple-areolar complex in many cases; therefore the need to transport new skin into the area is less often required in primary reconstruction. The advent of soft tissue regeneration with the addition of bio-matrices such as Acellular dermal matrices and guided tissue regeneration materials such as textile silk meshes have revolutionized the outcomes in prosthetic reconstruction. Without question one of the greatest advances in breast reconstruction is the art and science of fat grafting which can augment selected areas of volume deficiencies, improve the overall shape, and restore the health of the overlying tissues which has been previously damaged by radiation therapy.

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Dr. Pat Maxwell coined the term “the bio-engineered breast” which utilizes acellular dermal matrix grafts and fat grafting to rejuvenate the soft tissues surrounding breast implants after mastectomies. I have been modifying these two techniques in my practice since 2004, which has vastly improved outcomes in both primary and revision breast reconstruction. Fat grafting has provided plastic surgeons the ability to selectively sculpt and shape breasts like never before. Implants can only occupy and provide shape and volume in specific locations on the chest and breast. Fat can influence any area desired to be modified similar to photo shopping in pictures. Fat already occupies the majority of a natural breast volume therefore restoring a reconstructed breast to normal form and function with less donor site morbidity is seen with harvesting large flaps from the abdomen and buttock region. This truly is an exciting time in plastic surgery to provide excellent results with less invasive techniques, especially compared to the past.

In addition to the soft tissue restoration procedures the new silicone gel implants have also contributed to better outcomes. The fifth generation silicone gel implants (Gummy Bear Implant) are a very cohesive polymer which maintains three dimensional shape. This for me has two advantages; the first is that we can offer implants which can more easily match a patient’s unique chest wall architecture such as creating an implant narrower in width and taller in height (for a tall thin lady) or shorter and wider for a small wide chested woman combined with a fuller projection in the lower half of the breast mirroring a normal breast shape that will have adequate volume but will not encroach on the arm pit region or have an over expanded upper pole appearance. The second advantage of these implants are the result of a stiffer polymer which resists forces of capsular contracture that have been demonstrated to be a major cause of revision breast implant surgery. With the use of bi-dimensional conceptual planning through meticulous measurements we can offer a more customized approach to reconstruction and we can educate patients on their options with a three dimensional imaging system (Vectra) to demonstrate the effect of different shapes and volumes on their potential outcomes.

Even women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and elected to undergo “breast conservation techniques” with a lumpectomy and radiation therapy can frequently experience distortions of the breast. The affected breast can shrink in volume and change in shape compared to its baseline and with the opposite breast as a result of surgical removal of tissue coupled with imposed radiation fibrosis changes to the tissues which are permanent and progressive. In my practice I see a number of these women and have been successful in reducing deformities and restoring shape and volume with the use of internal scar release combined with fat grafting. The amount of hard woody scarring of the overlying skin can often be suppler after treatment. Contour deformities which often occur directly in the surgical field where tissue was removed can be restored in shape and volume leaving a softer breast that is more symmetric with the opposing side.

I am very proud of my field of plastic surgery which by its very nature attracts thoughtful and innovating disciples of this surgical specialty leading to a continuous evolution of scientific insights that opens the door for continuous improvements in the care we can provide patients. Breast cancer reconstruction is just one small piece that is being tackled by our field of study.

The mommy makeover-Is it right for you?

Being a mom is one of the most challenging, frustrating, yet rewarding experiences a woman can have. You put forth blood sweat and tears, not to mention an untold strain on your whole body during pregnancy. It really boils down to the genetics of your skin and fascia as to how well you can bounce back after the weight gain and abdominal stretching from your baby. Many women lament that despite dieting, exercising and lots and lots of willpower your body is never the same as it was prior to child bearing. Fortunately for the masses of dissatisfied women there are options in Plastic Surgery to boost your self- confidence and your body image. Here is a list of body corrections (Mommy Make-over) that can be performed in tandem or separately to improve the shape and how you feel about your physique.

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Breast:
During pregnancy the glandular component of the breast must enlarge to ready for the enhanced production of milk. Additionally weight gain with fat storage all governed by the hormonal changes can increase the breast size immensely. Unfortunately fetal regulation also makes skin “stretchy” to accommodate the increased girth of the breast and abdomen. After the resumption of normal non-pregnant hormones and the lack of need for lactation the breast volume will revert back to baseline and can even reduce in overall size compared to the original baseline. Unfortunately many times the skin does not have the ability to shrink to the original size and will stay expanded resulting in a larger skin brazier with same or even less fill than before resulting in “saggy” breast shape. With increased skin length from the breast fold to the nipple it moves the breast mound lower on the chest with less upper pole fullness. I hear many women call their breasts “sad” in appearance when they come in for consultation. Ok enough depressing thoughts… what can be done? If the skin is not excessively enlarged, the nipple-areolar complex is correct and the fold to nipple distance is not greatly elongated the solution can be to place a silicone gel implant to act as a shaper and a filler of the breast envelope restoring a pleasing breast shape. If the breast has a low positioned nipple-areolar complex, with or without increase skin length from the fold to the nipple-areolar complex, then a mastopexy (breast lift) is required. Often times tissue volume might need to be enhanced to provide better shape and upper pole fullness, thus an implant or fat grafting can be incorporated at the same time. Sometimes upper pole fullness can be accomplished by transposing extra breast tissue in the lower pole and positioning it on the chest wall deep to the rest of the breast to enhance fullness.

Abdomen:
Hormones during pregnancy direct adaptive body changes that allow healthy growth of the baby but unfortunately create lasting changes to a women’s body. The abdominal skin stretches and often can result in stretch marks (tears in the dermis with intact epidermis). Excess skin rarely retracts in these cases leading to hanging skin that drapes over the pelvis. Next the abdominal wall is distorted to accommodate the growing fetus resulting in separation of the paired rectus muscles leading to increased abdominal circumference with permanent bulges in the abdominal wall both above and below the umbilicus. This unfortunately cannot be reduced with abdominal exercise because the stretched fascia between the muscles is not contractile and will not respond to muscle strengthening. Additional weight changes with aging often can be manifested with increased abdominal girth from excess fatty tissue. So what can a Mommy Make-over achieve in the abdomen?
If skin quality is excellent and the abdominal wall is only minimally distorted often liposuction with the addition of additional energy sources such as ultrasonic energy (VASER), oscillating power hand-piece (PAL), or hydraulic power can result in removal of excess fat and create skin retraction/redistribution to improve contour. However, many women will need a full abdominoplasty with correction of excess fat with liposuction, removal of excess lower abdominal skin with tissue resection, and abdominal wall restoration by returning the rectus muscles together with a permanent suturing technique. This can result in excellent contour of the abdomen but you will trade the contour for a scar. I find most people are surprised how long the scar has to be to create the contouring necessary. Once acquainted with the results, most women will gladly trade a scar for the results of a flat smooth abdomen.

Back and Flanks:
Some women can realize their goals by correcting the anterior abdomen by itself. However many women if given the opportunity would love to three dimensionally correct their torso by sculpting their midback (bra line folds) and flanks (muffin tops) at the same time as their abdomens to circumferentially adjust their shape. This can make a tremendous change on how clothing can be worn and how the individual feels about themselves. Liposuction with either PAL or VASER makes a great deal of improvement by releasing all the ligamentous attachments between the back and flanks and the superficial skin (which results in rolls on the back) and allows even removal of fat and the skin to re-drape much smoother.

Legs:
Some women naturally store adipose tissue in their lateral or medial thighs. Depending on the skin quality and the potential for the tissue to re-drape or tighten, fatty tissue can be sculpted just as on the back. Some have significant adipose tissue below the knee down to the ankle. I generally do not add the additional power source with liposuction in this area and have achieved good results.

Buttock:
Popular trends in body shape can change just like in fashion over time. The introduction of the Latin culture into the United States in conjunction with pop culture personalities have made the appearance of a full contour buttock something to aspire to. My preference for buttock augmentation is with fat grafting and not with a prosthesis. Utilizing concepts of tissue equilibration and liposculpturing we can remove unwanted fatty tissue, harvest it as a graft, and utilize the fat as a volumizer of the buttock- while improving the contour of the rest of the body. Women who have gained and lost weight may have loose sagging skin of the buttock and restoring volume can shape and lift the buttock with little or no scarring.

Women who are unhappy with their physical appearance after giving birth to one or multiple children can restore the body to a better place with a Mommy Make-over. To me this represents more than one area of the body to be rejuvenated simultaneously to make the woman feel refreshed and erase some of the “battle scars” of pregnancy so she can feel more confident in her appearance.

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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

Why less is more: the trend toward natural looking breast enhancement

Fashion trends change, and so do accepted ideals for body appearance. The influences of Latin culture on American norms have triggered an explosion in the demand for buttock enhancement with fat grafting, which was first popularized in Brazil. Another trend patients are requesting is a more conservative and natural looking breast enhancement. A recent survey in California found that women are not looking for an oversized breast enhancement and desire a more subtle appearance. This is a healthier choice for women to choose.

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Due to the prevalence of evidence-based medicine and FDA demand for data on silicone gel breast implants, findings indicate that revision breast surgeries after a primary augmentation mammoplasty are as high as 25 percent. The main reason for these revisions is capsular contracture, but size change is a factor. Thanks to the work of Dr. John Tebetts, Bill Adams and Dr. Dennis Hammond, the concept of calibrating the correct implant size for a given individual based on breast tissue characteristics allows for customization and has reduced revision rates for surgeons who incorporate these findings into their practices.

The idea of putting the largest possible implant into a women’s breast is fraught with potential complications including excess stretch on the tissues leading to thinning of the breast which may result in increased prominence of rippling of the implant, as well as mal-positioning of the device either laterally or inferiorly. This causes an unsightly aged appearance of the breast. The cost of revision can be high if treatment plans include the need for added soft tissue support utilizing acellular dermal matrices or a silk textile mesh to restore soft tissue support of the implants.

Today is a very exciting time in the field of augmentation mammoplasty, because we surgeons have a wide variety of shapes and sizes and silicone gel consistencies to choose from to provide customized results for our patients.

I strive to deliver a primary augmentation of the breast with a correct implant that is sustainable by the body to provide a long-lasting aesthetic result free of revision until the integrity of the implant has failed.

I think in terms of the height and width and projection of the breast independently and choose styles and shapes to match my patient’s desired outcome. I never want people to say that all my breast augmentations look the same. Just as all faces are unique and different, so are breasts. I want to make an individual’s breast look and feel as attractive as possible with long-lasting results. Proportionate breast enhancement is key to achieving these results.

Furthermore, now fat grafting can be performed simultaneously with implant placement, allowing surgeons to correct volume and shape asymmetries, as well as fill in spaces where an implant cannot be placed, such as the cleavage region and the chest wall/implant interface.

If you’re considering an augmentation mammoplasty, take a look at a three-dimensional analysis imaging of yourself. Then discuss your tissue type and pre-existing breast tissue with your surgeon, who will devise a plan to make a customized result that will look attractive and proportional with your frame. A skilled board-certified plastic surgeon will choose an appropriate implant with or without fat grafting to highlight your own unique figure with long-lasting results.

Renew, Refresh, Restore

Spring is here and what a perfect time to refresh your look for graduation, Father’s Day (yes, men do it also!), weddings, or before that fun vacation! It is time to put yourself first, which is hard for so many of us to do. We schedule our physicals and hair appointments. Why not start making appointments to take care of our skin, slow the aging process, and feel more confident? It’s never too early or too late to start. I see patients of all ages, and I will meet with you individually to ensure our goals and expectations are the same. Patients in their early 30’s might want to prevent deeper lines and wrinkles versus the more mature patient that is working to correct volume loss, soften lines, and have a more youthful appearance.

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We have many options to offer depending on your specific goals. I can offer nonsurgical aesthetic treatments, starting with a thorough assessment which includes speaking with you about your concerns, a physical assessment of your face explaining changes I observe from the aging process, and completing a Vectra 3D image. The Vectra 3D imaging is a great tool to assess volume loss in the face, asymmetry and skin quality. We then use this baseline evaluation as a comparison tool during treatments. I also take traditional photos before treatments. It can be overwhelming to take in all this information, so I like to discuss options and come up with a treatment plan to best fit the patient’s desires and budget.

One of our most popular treatments is to use a neuromuscular blocking toxin such as Botox or Dysport to treat frown lines in between the eyebrow, crow’s feet that develop at the corner of the eyes, and forehead creases and wrinkles.

Dermal fillers can address volume loss in the face, reduce lines, wrinkles, and creases on aging skin, create fuller lips, and give the face a more youthful appearance.

My goal is to always keep the patient “natural” looking and make subtle changes to the face. There are multiple dermal filler options. Most are made of hyaluronic acid, which is produced by our own bodies. I select the product based on location and desired effect. Examples are Juvederm, Voluma, Restylane, Lyft, and Silk. I love Sculptra which is an injectable poly-L-lactic acid.  It promotes collagen growth, which improves volume loss, creases, and softens lines. It is an excellent choice for volume loss in the temple area. The key is a good facial assessment and working with my patient to decide on the most beneficial products.

Now a word about microneedling – It is an excellent investment in addition to a neurotoxin and dermal filler to address the aging face. A treatment can be done every four to six weeks promoting collagen growth and improving skin elasticity with minimal down time. Microneedling can improve the appearance of fine lines, acne scars, surgical scars, and stretch marks.

At The Lucas Center we have a dynamic team with over 100 years of combined experience in medical and aesthetics. We are privileged to be led by Dr. Jay Lucas, a board-certified plastic surgeon, who provides medical supervision of the aesthetic team. If your needs can’t be met through aesthetic treatments and filler agents, Dr. Lucas will be glad to meet with you through an individualized consultation appointment to discuss surgical treatments.

Do you look in the mirror and notice subtle changes on your face and frown? The aging process can sneak up on us. The Lucas Center can help you feel more confident about your skin and overall appearance. Get summer ready!

Step Ahead with The Lucas Center! Give us a call today at 865-218-6210 to schedule your free consultation with me.