Plastic Surgery Blog

SmartLipo: An Alternative to Traditional Liposuction

SmartLipo is a procedure that uses a laser to treat fatty deposits of the tummy, back, arms, legs and chin. Because it’s less invasive that conventional liposuction, SmartLipo typically has less side effects. In 2006, SmartLipo was the first laser-assisted liposuction procedure approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

SmartLipo is done in the office in about 1-2 hours using local anesthesia and patients can usually go home an hour after the procedure. Recovery times are typically 1-2 days and most surgeons would recommend a post-operative garment be worn for 3-4 weeks to help decrease swelling.

The following procedure was performed by Dr. Steven Struck, a bay area board certified plastic surgeon.

For more information about SmartLipo, visit

What is the difference between open and closed rhinoplasty?

Closed rhinoplasty techniques are less invasive whereby all the incisions for the rhinoplasty procedure are placed on the inside of the nose. The open rhinoplasty procedure involves placement of an incision across the columella to gain access to make the necessary changes on the internal portion of the nose. Some surgeons prefer open rhinoplasty, while some surgeons prefer closed rhinoplasty techniques. Some surgeons prefer closed rhinoplasty techniques because patients heal faster since all of the incisions are placed in internally.

With regards to a rhinoplaty, the amount of pain that patients experience after the surgery is pretty minimal. Most patients take maybe a couple of Vicodin or Percocet pills the first night or two after their surgery because you’re going to have a bit of a headache – theres no question about that but there is not severe pain – it’s more about dull headache. The worst part about the nasal surgery is that you cannot physically breathe out of your nose – its like putting a clothes pin on your nose and you are unable to breathe out of it. The bleeding is using fairly minimal. There is more bleeding associated if we’re doing more internal sinus related work or the deviated septum such that there can be a little more bleeding with that internal work but typically most patients have very little bleeding after the surgery.


Life After Breast Cancer

The breast cancer survivors I’ve known well have told me dealing with the following issues can be just as challenging as chemo and radiation:

The drug Tamoxifen, which blocks estrogen from inducing new cancer cells to grow, is recommended for 5 years after breast surgery. However, Tamoxifen, and other selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), have side effects which are often severe: uterine cancers, blood clots, high blood-calcium levels and increased risk of heart attacks.

The website also describes aromatase inhibitors (AIs), which stop post-menopausal women from making estrogen. Using an AI for 5 years after one has stopped Tamoxifen increases the probability cancer won’t return. AIs might have less side effects than Tamoxifen, but they can cause muscle and joint pain similar to that of advanced arthritis. In addition, AIs often engender osteoporosis and fractures.

Ever hear a breast cancer survivor describe symptoms like short attention span, trouble recalling familiar names and dates, difficulty multi-tasking, and slower thinking? Doctors call this syndrome “post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment”, but it also can be brought on by the cancer itself, anti-nausea drugs, pain meds., low blood counts, fatigue, infections, hormone changes, depression and stress. One can manage the effects of chemo brain, but it takes some work: Make daily “to do” lists, exercise your brain with puzzles, engage in daily physical activity, eat your veggies, ask for help from family/friends and keep a diary which tracks when your brain fog becomes worse. Medication adjustments might help.

The site offers recipes made of the fruits, veggies and lean proteins which not only help us avoid the saturated fats associated with some breast cancers, but which offer properties that suppress the blood vessels that nourish tumors.

Health Magazine in 2011 revealed 7 in 10 breast cancer survivors have sexual problems, mostly caused by AI drugs, by menopausal symptoms brought on by treatments and by mastectomies creating poor body image. Once again—dealing with these issues requires determination. Women should share their symptoms/fears with their physicians—and their husbands. And, survivors must be open to using non-hormonal treatments for hot-flashes, vaginal moisturizers, and lubricants.

Life after breast cancer can involve many choices and much effort. But, by quickly sharing concerns with physicians, by accepting lifestyle changes and with support from family and friends, these challenges can be met!

Botox – Is It Worth It?

Many people find themselves chasing their youth and looking for solutions in products like Botox injections. Out of all the cosmetic procedures in history, Botox is one that has grown the fastest and it is an industry that is forecast to reach close to $3 Billion by the year 2014. While many people think this is a treatment simply for cosmetic needs, there are several other reasons to consider turning to Botox.

Treatment Needs

The medicine is injected directly into the skin and can take less than 15 minutes for a treatment session to be completed. The medical professional will need to cleanse the skin with alcohol cleansers and then they can proceed with the injections. For a person having treatment for “crow’s feet” you will have about 4 injections totaling 20 units of Botox. When used for cosmetic purposes (such as reducing wrinkles), a single treatment will last about 4 to 6 months. In addition to using treatments to enhance your looks, here are some other uses of this prescription medication:

  • Controlling problems with Incontinence
  • Reduction in reoccurring headache
  • Decrease muscle stiffness and chronic neck pain

How Does It Work?

The medicine is officially known as Botulinum Toxin Type A. It is a protein complex that is mixed with saline and injected directly into the muscle, causing the muscles to have limited contractions. This is how the wrinkles disappear as the neural transmissions from the nerve endings to your muscle fibers are inhibited; causing the muscles to look relaxed.

Why Its Popular

Chasing the fountain of youth has always been a part of history. Using cosmetic treatments like Botox provide an individual with a temporary solution to an aging body. When the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) officially approved Botox injections in 2001, 1.6 million people received treatments that year! Typically a person will notice a difference with wrinkles in 1 week or sooner after having a treatment.

Risks To Botox

The medicine is actually produced from a bacterium (Clostridium botulinum) which is the same toxin that can lead to food poisoning. There are some side effects to Botox when it is administered appropriately including the following:

  • Headaches
  • Redness around the injection site
  • Nausea
  • Respiratory infection
  • Muscle weakness
  • Droopy eyelids

With the demand growing each year, many people are able to get their hands on the medicine without having the proper training. An individual may be able to purchase a large amount and can attempt to administer it to themselves or others. This can be dangerous as it can lead to serious health risks from minor urinary tract infections to staff infections.

Costs of Botox

Reducing the appearance of wrinkles comes with a large price tag. A single injection of Botox starts at about $300 to $1,200. It may require multiple visits to achieve the desired results and the individual may need to come back every 3 months to maintain these results. To reduce the cost some medical professionals will treat several patients at the same time. The cost of the procedure can be expensive and it does have risk. It is important to meet with your cosmetic surgeon to discuss treatment options to find out if Botox is right for you.

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The Role of Fat Transfer as a Cosmetic Procedure

The fat transfer method is becoming an increasingly popular cosmetic procedure for men and women hoping to improve the contour of their bodies. It could be described as a truly natural cosmetic technique because it involves the use of the patient’s own physical elements.

Fat grafting, which is the medical term for the procedure, has actually existed for more than a decade. Prior to the 1990s, however, the technique was primarily used to repair defects or physical injuries. It is used today in a host of ways to rejuvenate and beautify such areas of the body as the cheeks, calves, arm muscles, breasts and buttocks. This relatively simple procedure involves the transfer of fat cells from one area of the body to another.

Performed in either a hospital or on an outpatient basis, a fat transfer procedure can normally be accomplished within a couple of hours. The cells will be donated, or taken from, the largest area of fat deposits. This is usually in the person’s thighs or abdomen. The removal from the donor area is carried out with a suctioning device, after which the fat cells will be processed and then injected into the receiving area. The body will usually absorb more than half of the fat that is transplanted, with the remaining cells often not sufficient to achieve the desired results. This is why additional treatments are often required.

Fat grafting is useful when a patient loses shape in certain areas, a condition that many men and women begin to experience in their 30s and 40s, and the results appear more natural than other forms of cosmetic surgery. Since the cells are natural to the person’s body, fat transfer presents a lesser risk of rejection or an allergic reaction than such procedures as collagen injections and the implantation of prosthetic devices.

In terms of costs and recovery times,fat graftingcompares favorably with other cosmetic treatments. Additionally, the effects of grafting should last much longer than collagen treatments, which can disappear in less than a year.

As with any type of cosmetic treatment, the patient should be physically and emotionally prepared for the changes that will occur in his or her body after undergoing a fat transfer. Patients also need to have realistic expectations in terms of what can be achieved with such a procedure. When these issues are taken into consideration, fat transfer can play an important role in making men and women look and feel their best.

Older Job Applicants Are Choosing Plastic Surgery to Fight Ageism in the Workplace

Workplace discrimination against older workers is illegal, but there is a growing perception that employers prefer hiring youthful looking job candidates. What’s more, plastic surgeons are benefiting from a growing trend to undergo plastic surgery to fight ageism in the workplace. It makes sense. The job market is tight and baby boomers are beginning to show their age. Even younger workers are seeking the assistance of a plastic surgeon to remain desirable and competitive in the modern technology oriented workplace.

What can an older job seeker do to increase the odds of beating out younger job applicants? It could be a homemaker that just went through a divorce or a longtime employee that recently celebrated their 40th birthday. Plastic surgeons throughout the country are performing surgical procedures to make their patients look younger.

Plastic Surgery

Products and services designed to help people retain their youth are all over the place, including fitness centers, cosmetics, supplements and dietary plans galore. The number of Botox treatments, eyelifts and mini facelifts has increased dramatically over the past five years. More advanced plastic surgery procedures like ultherapy, an ultrasound device used by plastic surgeons to tighten facial skin, are also in demand.

The vast majority of those seeking plastic surgery to look younger are women. There is a growing perception that employers are more likely to select a younger looking job applicant. Many business owners and sales professionals are also turning to plastic surgery to increase their odds of impressing clients and customers. Although there’s a real possibility that too many or poorly performed surgical procedures can backfire, the idea that appearing old can damage one’s professional and social prospects is probably justified.

Fountain of Youth

The stereotype that older workers are undesirable is alive and well. Golden parachutes are still used to invigorate an aging workforce, and a bulging resume may not be enough to beat out a younger job candidate. It’s not fair, but young CEO’s and managers generally don’t want to hire workers that look like their mother or father. All the discrimination laws in the world can’t change the way people naturally think and react. Older workers have realized that a local plastic surgeon just might be the fountain of youth they need to land a good job.

Although older job applicants are mostly seeking subtle improvements in their appearance, nose jobs and breast implants certainly aren’t out of the question. Sagging skin and droopy eyelids can cause someone to appear less energetic than they really are. Ageism is a real phenomenon that can unnecessarily cause an employer to miss out on the life experience, reliability and mature judgment of an older worker.

Noninvasive Procedures to Enhance your Look with No Downtime

Have you ever wanted cosmetic enhancement, but worried about the recovery time? Then you should consider some of the noninvasive procedure that now exist to help you enhance your look without spending days or weeks recovering or unable to do the things you need or want to do. Here are a few suggestions:

Liposuction Injections

As an alternative to one of cosmetic surgeries most painful procedures, medicine has created fat-dissolving injections that are designed to mimic the results of liposuction, but without the pain or lengthy recovery. These can help you get your bikini body back in time for summer and still have time for vacation. While results may vary, many people swear by these procedures.

Laser Hair Removal

Another summer favorite, laser hair removal is a more comfortable option for those who find waxing too painful or electrolysis otherwise too demanding. Almost pain-free, laser hair removal allows even the most sensitive or squeamish to have the perfect bikini line. Although imperfect in terms of instantaneous hair removal, in the long-term the results can be quite impressive.

Botox Injections

Although not as long-lasting as a surgical face-lift, Botox injections can definitely get the wrinkles out, taking away years of fine lines and lifting sagging skin. Best of all, the injections can be administered in less than hour and requires no recovery time. Bruising is rare, but not unheard of. The injections are typically well-tolerated and not exceedingly painful, especially compared to recovering from a surgical procedure. There are also dermal fillers that offer an alternative to a facelift like Juvederm and Radiesse.

Other Options

For those who want to experience small changes, especially ones that don’t involve recovery or discomfort, other procedures or options include, colored contact lens and sunless tanning. The first requires a visit to an eye-doctor; the second to a day spa or business specializing in the product.

Undergoing major surgery and recovery may not be for everyone, whether they have the time and resource or not. These procedures offer an alternative that will still enhance your look, but without the unpleasant aspects of invasive procedures.

How Much Does Plastic Surgery Cost?

Have you been thinking about getting plastic surgery? Are you curious about the costs involved? As you may have noticed, many plastic surgery websites do not list pricing information. In many cases, they withhold pricing information because there are a number of factors that can affect the cost of your procedure. The exact price of a breast augmentation or tummy tuck will vary from person to person based on their unique needs and their desired outcome.

While the best way to get accurate pricing information is to schedule an appointment for an individual consultation with your plastic surgeon of choice, here is a list of the average national costs for popular cosmetic surgery procedures. These numbers are based on real information from real patients all across the United States.

Name of Procedure Average Reported Price

Body Lift $14,950
Facelift $11,000
Thigh Lift $8,775
Arm Lift $8,375
Breast Lift $8,000
Brow Lift $7,825
Tummy Tuck $7,800
Neck Lift $7,275
Rhinoplasty $6,850
Breast Augmentation $6,500
Liposuction $5,900
Breast Reduction $5,525
Gynecomastia $5,200
Smart Lipo $4,975
Eyelid Surgery $4,075
Chin Augmentation $4,025
Labiaplasty $3,950
Otoplasty $3,425
Lip Implants $2,500

How is the cost of a procedure determined?

The total cost of your procedure will include a variety of expenses such as:

– Surgeon fees. This is a fee you pay for services rendered by the doctor.

– Operating room expenses. This may include rent, staff salaries & costs associated with operating the machinery.

– Material costs. The type of procedure you are getting will determine what type of material costs you can expect.

– Anesthesia. If your procedure requires you to be unconscious, you will be responsible for costs associated with the anesthesia.

– Medication. Depending on the type of work you are having done, your surgeon may prescribe medication for you to take before or after the surgery. In some cases, patients will have to pay this upfront. Other times it may be included in the cost of the procedure.

– Medical devices. Some surgeries may require the use of post-surgical compression devices. If you are required to use one of these, the cost of the device will be added to the cost of your surgery.
For more information about plastic surgery visit The Seattle Facial Plastic Surgery Center – full price sheet on facial plastic surgery

Rhinoplasty: Building Confidence in Teens and Others

Almost everyone can agree that the teen years are a tumultuous time in the life of a child. Opinions are developing, independence is growing and personalities are being formed based on life experiences. Finding ways to boost confidence can make a difference in how the teen approaches challenges throughout life.

One way that many parents are finding to help a teen’s confidence is through rhinoplasty. This surgery can be done on an outpatient basis with little recovery time. As children become teenagers, their appearance becomes more important. Teasing that they laughed through as a child suddenly because something that really matters. They worry more about what others think of them than they did before. This may cause them to shrink away from the world or hate themselves because of what is different. Often, these feelings lead to depression or suicidal thoughts or actions.

As adulthood approaches, this self-consciousness may prevent them from going after jobs they desire for fear of rejection. It may affect their interest in pursuing relationships due to feelings of inadequacy. Whether the perceived problem is an ethnic characteristic, a developmental defect or the result of a serious accident, having rhinoplasty to correct the problem before adulthood allows them to move onto the next phase of their lives with confidence. It’s a fresh start as they enter college, begin a career or head down the alter to begin a new commitment.

A lack of confidence isn’t limited to teenagers. Rhinoplasty can benefit people of all ages by correcting problems that have made people feel less-attractive. This may help an adult make a decision to go back to school to pursue a dream career. It may correct breathing problems such as snoring that lead to poor sleep and a decreased job performance. This can help with various health issues and relationships with partners.

Self-esteem is extremely important for everyone. Taking steps to ensure a person feels good about herself can make a difference in how she feels about her ability to tackle important steps in life. Weight loss, makeovers or new wardrobes are often considered as ways to boost confidence. Rhinoplasty Surgery is often overlooked as being an important tool to change something that brings heartache, disappointment and low self-esteem. The teen years may be the best time to take on such a change for the better.

Breast Lift Surgery

Defining Breast Lift:

Breast lift or ‘Mastopexy’ is a process where the excess skin is removed causing the tightening of the surrounding tissues that raises the breasts. The patients undergoing breast lift help to reshape and support the contour of breast. ‘Mastopexy’ also helps to reduce the enlarged areola. Women who undergo breast lift feel rejuvenated with the new-found figure and make her feel more youthful. Breast lift surgery does not change the size of breasts, or make it look fuller.

Why Breast Lift:

The woman’s breasts lose the skin elasticity over a period of time causing a reduction in the youthful shape and firmness. Aging, heredity, pregnancy, breastfeeding and weight fluctuations are some of the causes that decrease the elasticity of the women’s breast.

Good Candidate for Breast lift:

Breast lift works well for the women who are physically healthy with stable weight, is a non-smoker, whose breasts has lost shape and volume, or has become flatter and/or whose nipples and areolas have pointed downward.

Procedure of Breast Lift:

The incision patterns and techniques are determined by the breast shape and size, position of the areolas, quality of the skin and the degree of sagging of breast.

The steps of techniques are as follows:

  1. Anesthesia to the patient: Patients are sedated to comfort them during the surgical procedure.
  2. Incision pattern: Any of the three patterns of incisions can be done: around the areole, around the areole and vertically down from areole, and around the areole and vertically down from breast crease and horizontally along the breast crease.
  3. Reshaping of the breasts: Once the incision is made, the doctor lifts the underlying breast tissue and reshape the breast firmness. Repositioning of both the nipple and areola must be done. In order to compensate the loss of elasticity, the excess breast skin is removed.
  4. Closing of the incisions made: To tighten the remaining skin of breast, the incisions are closed. Incisions are the permanent marks on the body that diminishes significantly over a period of time. To close the skin, sutures or skin adhesives and tapes can be used.
  5. Results of the surgery: Results can be seen almost immediately.

Risks of Breast Lift:

The risks associated with the procedure are as follows: Risks associated with anesthesia, infections, poor healing, breast asymmetry, fluid accumulation and fat-necrosis, loss of nipple or areole. There are chances of deep vein thrombosis, hematoma formation, cardiac and pulmonary complications. The risks and changes in the body associated with the breast lift must be clearly stated by the plastic surgeon to the patients.

Results of Breast Lift:

Though the results of breast lift become visible immediately, the swelling due to surgery can resolve with time. If the patient maintains correct weight and keep a healthy lifestyle, the patient can see the changes in her look.

Breast lift recovery:

The breast lift recovery and dressing or bandages is applied to the incisions once the procedure is finished. The patients are advised to wear the elastic bandage or support bra. This ensures to minimize and support the breasts so they can heal. Medications that aid in healing and reduce the chances of infection must be applied regularly.

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