FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
On what areas of the body can liposuction be performed?
Liposuction sculpting can remove undesired fat from the abdomen, waist, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, chin, cheeks, neck and upper arms.
What is liposuction and how is it performed? Are there different techniques?
There are two fundamentally different methods of liposuction currently accepted in plastic surgery practice: suction assisted lipectomy (SAL) and ultrasonic assisted lipectomy (UAL). In both types, a solution of saline (salt water), lidocaine (a local anesthetic for pain control) and a very dilute amount of adrenaline (to decrease bruising and bleeding) is injected into the area planned for treatment. This is referred to as either tumescent or super-wet technique depending on the ratio of injection fluid to fatty tissue. In both methods, a tiny incision is made in as inconspicuous a place as possible. In SAL, a cannula (small tube) is inserted and moved back and forth beneath the skin, breaking up the fat layer and suctioning it out. In UAL, ultrasonic energy is used to liquefy the fat before it is suctioned out with a cannula.
What is the recovery like?
After surgery, compression garments and antibiotics will be needed to facilitate the healing process. Patients are encouraged to walk as soon as they are able and many return to work within a few days, although strenuous activity should be avoided for about a month. Results are visible immediately, though improvement may continue as swelling subsides during the first three months. Scars are small and inconspicuous. Other irregularities in appearance are possible, such as asymmetric or "baggy" skin, numbness and pigmentation changes.
Who is a good candidate for a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)?
The best candidates for a tummy tuck are in good physical condition with pockets of fat or loose skin that haven’t responded well to diet and exercise. Older, slightly obese people whose skin has lost some of its elasticity can be helped. Abdominoplasty can also be useful for women with loose redundant skin, stretch marks and lax abdominal muscles from pregnancy, although results from the procedure will diminish if they continue to bear children. For this reason, women who plan to have children again are advised to delay abdominoplasty. Patients who intend to lose a lot of weight are also encouraged to wait before undergoing the procedure, since skin in that area typically loosens after substantial weight loss.
What is recovery like? Will there be scars?
Recovery time ranges from two weeks to a few months, but with a balanced diet and regular exercise, results are long lasting. Abdominoplasty will likely leave a permanent scar stretching between the hips, although it should be low enough for even a bikini to conceal it. Patients who have had previous abdominal surgery should know that their old scars could be raised, stretched or generally more noticeable after the procedure.
What is a mini-tummy tuck (partial abdominoplasty)?
Partial abdominoplasty is similar to abdominoplasty except a shorter incision is made and the skin is only lifted to the navel, which does not have to be moved (although it may be pulled into a different shape as skin is stretched).
Who is a good candidate for a body lift?
Candidates for body lifts typically either cannot lose significant amounts of weight, or already suffer from loose (inelastic) skin on many or most areas of the body as a result of age, childbearing or extreme weight loss due to diet, exercise or bariatric surgery. Because of this, the procedure is often combined with others such as breast lifts, facelifts and arm lifts to retain a proper body proportion.
What happens during surgery?
During the procedure, skin is lifted from underlying tissue, muscles are tightened and stitched and fat is removed where necessary, and the skin is sutured closed. The navel is often removed and replaced in its new position.
What is recovery like?
Surgical tubes will likely be needed for a few days to drain any fluid, and patients will need to wear compression garments for a few weeks to facilitate faster healing and post-operative contouring. Patients are encouraged to walk as soon as they are able, although strenuous activities must be limited for about a month. Results are visible immediately but improvement may continue for some time. Full recovery may take a few months.
Will there be significant pain?
Although oral pain medications are generally very helpful in relieving postoperative pain, Dr. Afridi also makes available to her patients a new technology that steadily administers potent but clinically safe doses of local anesthetic directly into the wound with a specialized pain pump. This provides up to four days of additional pain relief following the surgery.
Does Dr. Afridi have specialized training in body contouring?
Dr. Afridi spent a year sub-specializing in plastic surgery of the breast and body following her plastic surgery training. Her fellowship provided her with extensive surgical expertise in SAL and UAL liposuction; mini-abdominoplasty, standard abdominoplasty, high lateral tension abdominoplasty and circumferential abdominoplasty; and medial and lateral thigh lifts.
What are breast implants made of, and where are they placed?
Implants are silicone shells filled with either saline (salt water) or silicone gel (recently approved by the FDA). They are placed behind each breast, underneath either breast tissue or the chest wall muscle. Placement behind the chest wall muscle offers a few advantages over placement beneath the breast tissue only. These include reduced risk of capsular contracture (post-operative tightening around the implant) and less interference with mammogram examinations. Possible disadvantages include shifting of the implants with muscle movement and elevated pain in the first few days following surgery.
Should women who are pregnant or plan to be pregnant wait before undergoing a breast lift or breast reduction?
Women planning to have children are advised to postpone breast lift surgery, since pregnancy and nursing can counteract its effects by stretching the skin. However, the procedure should not affect the ability to breast-feed.
Breast reduction surgery is not recommended for women who intend to breast-feed, since many of the milk ducts leading to the nipples are removed or transected.
Is there much post-operative pain from a breast lift?
Breasts will probably be bruised, swollen, and uncomfortable for a few days but this will pass. Numbness in the breasts and nipples should lessen as swelling subsides, although occasionally it lasts for months or even permanently. Stitches are most often self-dissolving, buried underneath the skin and hidden from view. Return to work varies depending on the extent of the surgery and the type of work.
How long does recovery take?
Most patients feel tired and sore after surgery, but this usually passes in a day or two and many patients return to work within a week or two at most. Any post-operative pain, swelling and sensitivity will diminish over the first few weeks. You should avoid heavy lifting for three to four weeks and only gentle contact with the breasts should occur for six weeks.
Does breast surgery cause scarring?
Yes, although scars can be hidden with a bra, bathing suit or low-cut top. During breast augmentation surgery, incisions are made in inconspicuous places on the breast to minimize scar visibility (in the armpit, in the crease on the underside of the breast, or around the areola, the dark skin around the nipple). Breast lift and breast reduction scars can be more extensive but newer short scar techniques have significantly reduced the extent of breast scarring and improved breast shape. Scars do fade with time but there is no such thing as “scarless” surgery.
Does Dr. Afridi have specialized training in plastic surgery of the breast?
Although general plastic surgery training involves management and surgery of the breasts, Dr. Afridi has spent an additional year of sub specialized training with an international authority on plastic surgery of the breast. During her fellowship, Dr. Afridi trained extensively in the use of silicone implants (then only available under research study protocols), short scar breast surgery techniques and revision of unsatisfactory breast augmentation and mastopexy.