Seattle How does liposuction surgery work? Abigail V.

Hi Abi, thank you for your question. Liposuction involves removing fat from certain parts of the body to create a more streamlined shape.  There are two layers of subcutaneous fat: deep and superficial. During a liposuction procedure the doctor makes a tiny incision and inserts a hollow, stainless-steel tube called a  cannula into the deep fat layer.  The doctor pushes and pulls the tube through the fat layer. As the cannula moves, it breaks up fat cells, and a vacuum pump or syringe removes the fat with suction.  Liposuction is most often used for cosmetic purposes, to give a smoother shape to areas such as the thighs, abdomen, buttocks, hips, thighs, calves, arms or back — areas that haven’t responded to diet and exercise. It’s important to note that liposuction is not a weight-loss technique; it is merely a  reshaping technique. Only diet and exercise can result in real weight loss.


Seattle I’m thinking of having a tummy tuck. What can I expect after surgery? Tyrone T.

Hi  Tyrone, after the surgery, expect your abdomen to be very swollen.  The swelling and pain will dissipate over the next couple of days.  There may be bruising, but this will go away as well.  Be careful to watch out for elevated temperature or bleeding from the incision.  Some numbness of the abdomen can also be expected but sensation will come back gradually over several months.  It’s best to sleep with your head and shoulders elevated for the 1-2 weeks using 2-3 fluffy pillows to keep your head up.  You will be lying down a lot and may have problems standing upright for a week, so sitting may be more comfortable.  Getting up and down from a sitting position or in and out of bed will be difficult and will hurt.  But don’t be dismayed, everything will continue to get easier as the days pass. Full recovery after tummy tuck could be several weeks.  You will have a follow-up visit with your surgeon about 3-4 days after your tummy tuck surgery. Your drains will be checked, your incision examined, and generally checked to see how you are doing.  Your sutures may be removed 5-10 days after surgery, but may be left in for 2 weeks or more. Parts of your incision may heal faster than other parts, so your surgeon may take some sutures out and leave others in a little longer.

Seattle What can I expect after nose surgery? Jeff I.

Hi Jeff, after a rhinoplasty, people usually wear a nasal splint for the first week. You can expect swelling and some bruising around the eyes after surgery and it begin to improve after the third day. It can, though, last up to two weeks. There will be a mild to moderate amount of pain and discomfort associated with the surgery. This should be easily controlled with oral medications. Expect your nose to have a little bruising and swelling.  This will go away over the next six months. These symptoms often worsen on the second day following surgery and then steadily improve thereafter; this is normal. The amount of bruising that occurs varies significantly from one person to the next. Most swelling occurs around the eyes, but some bruising may track down and discolor the cheek area. If only the septum and/or nasal tip are operated on, only slight, if any, bruising will normally be expected to occur.  Some bloody nasal discharge is to be expected after any nasal surgery. A small “mustache” type gauze dressing will be placed beneath your nose after your surgery. During the first 24-48 hours, this absorbent dressing often needs to be changed 10-20 times; this is to be expected.  The final shape of your nose will be apparent after it has completely healed. You should avoid strenuous activity for three to six weeks after surgery. You may return to your social activities as soon as within two to three weeks without any recognizable signs that you had a procedure done.

Seattle, Bellevue Whats the difference between a breast lift and breast augmentation surgery? Eika A.

Hi Eika, a breast lift (mastopexy)is a procedure that lifts and reshapes sagging or drooping breasts. Its aim is to change the shape and contour of the breasts, not to alter their size. Breast augmentation on the other hand is a procedure that is done to enlarge the breasts. Depending upon the characteristics and preferences of the patient, these two types of breast surgery can be performed alone or combined into a single procedure. Breast lifts are recommended for those with pendulous breasts that are neither too large nor too small, those whose breasts are sagging or drooping, and those with nipples that are positioned low and point downward. Frequently these conditions are inherited, but they also can result from multiple pregnancies, breastfeeding, and aging.  Asymmetrical breasts (where one breast differs significantly from the other in position, size, and/or firmness) can also be addressed with a breast lift, provided the discrepancy in breast size is not too great. If there is a significant difference in size, the best results will be obtained by combining the breast lift with an augmentation or reduction procedure.

Seattle, Bellevue How does a chin implant work? Irish E.

Hi Irish, chin implants are often used together with rhinoplasty for maximum aesthetic effect and may be used with cheek implants and lip augmentation for overall facial balance. The implants can be made of GORE-TEX® or silicone, and shaped a little like the narrow chin guard of a sports helmet.  For those with recessive chins,  implants supplement the existing bone at the front of the jaw beneath the teeth. It sits under the skin and gives a permanent boost to the strength and definition of the chin. The procedure takes 45 minutes to an hour and a half. The incision created during the operation is made underneath the chin or inside of the mouth between the gum and lower lip. The implant is then inserted and positioned in front of the jawbone and sutured into place. Sutures inside the mouth will dissolve after about 10 days. Sutures outside the mouth are removed after approximately the same period.