Liposuction scar generally fades into negligible “marks” after 6-12 months, although patient commitment to recovery remains critical to achieve the best results possible. For instance, sun exposure must be avoided for at least six months since UV rays can cause hyperpigmentation in which the scars turn dark.
Leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley shares his scar management tips that will further ensure that your liposuction scar will blend well into the background.
The after photo on the right shows no visible scar, which contributes to high patient satisfaction.
* Minimize tension on the skin. When there is no or very minimal tension on the scar, it tends to heal nicely. Hence, the use of surgical tape and/or Steri-strips can be helpful as they eliminate the stress and “pulling” that can delay healing or cause the scar to widen.
* Achieve your optimal health well in advance of the surgery. When you’re healthy, there is less risk of infection, which can affect the appearance of your scars. Simply put, liposuction or any other body contouring surgeries will require commitment to superb diet and healthy lifestyle.
* Eliminate risk factors of infection. Each doctor has his own specific wound care instructions, although there are generally agreed upon guidelines such as never submerging your incision in water for at least three weeks; not using any topical product unless with the approval of your surgeon; and avoiding smoking.
* Treat infection immediately. In the hands of a board-certified plastic surgeon, infection is extremely rare because of the use of tumescent fluids injected into the fatty area prior to extraction. But should it occur, it must be treated immediately to prevent complications and poor scarring. Common signs of infection include asymmetric swelling, fever, chills, and drainage of pus.
* Use of topical treatments containing silicone. Once the incisions are completely sealed, which happens around three weeks postop, patients may choose to apply topical products such as silicone sheets and creams known for their hydrating effects. Scars that heal in a moist environment usually heal better and fade quicker.
* Use sun protection for one year. While staying out of the sun is the best way to reduce risk of hyperpigmentation, this is generally difficult or even impossible to accomplish. Hence, the use of sunscreen, protective clothing, and makeup products that offer SPF protection remains valuable.
Liposuction for bra fat, which is the unsightly bulges that show through tight clothing, poses a unique challenge. First and foremost, the fat is highly fibrous and thus difficult to remove with a hollowed tube attached to a vacuum pump (cannula).
Leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley has recently posted a series of Snapchat videos to demonstrate liposuction for bra fat and the “meticulous” techniques required to help achieve smooth, natural-looking results from the surgery.
Before-and-After Photos of a Patient Who Have Had Liposuction for Bra Fat
“I use smaller cannula, or microcannula, when treating the bra fat and back rolls caused by fibrous fat, which is tough to remove and so it requires more effort,” he said.
It is important to note that certain anatomic areas are consistently more fibrous compared to the rest of the body; they include the back, male breasts, and around the navel.
“The use of microcannula makes it easier to penetrate the fibrous fat, as compared with the use of large cannula. Furthermore, its smaller body allows for more precision during the extraction of fat, leading to smoother contour and lower risk of surface irregularities,” Dr. Smiley added.
In the video, Dr. Smiley is seen pushing the microcannula back and forth with his right hand, while his left hand “feels” the treated area.
“Contrary to popular belief, liposuction is not mainly about seeing what you’re doing. A skilled surgeon will know how much fat he needs to remove by simply feeling the treated area while moving the cannula back and forth. With over 9,000 liposuctions I have already performed, the process has become a second nature to me,” he further explained.
The celebrity plastic surgeon said liposuction for bra fat has almost become a common “complementary procedure” of Brazilian butt lift in which the patient’s buttocks and hips are augmented and reshaped with the most natural material: her own fat.
Instead of discarding the fat collected during liposuction, it is processed and transferred to the buttocks.
By performing liposuction for bra fat, the back will not detract from the curvier, more feminine buttocks and hips, said Dr. Smiley.
To know more about liposuction and its ancillary procedures, interested parties may want to add Dr. Smiley on Snapchat. He regularly posts videos to spread patient safety awareness.
The Benelli lift with breast implants basically accomplishes two things: create an “illusion” of a perkier appearance, and provide more breast volume.
The term “illusion” is an appropriate way to describe the effects of Benelli lift, which unlike the standard breast lift, does not manipulate and reshape the actual breast tissue. It simply relies on repositioning the areola higher on the breast.
Meanwhile, a standard breast lift actually “lifts” and re-anchors the sagging breast tissue.
For this reason, the Benelli lift only suits patients with pseudo or fake breast ptosis or sagging—i.e., the upper breast pole appears “empty” but the areola has not yet sagged below the breast fold.
To demonstrate the effects of Benelli lift with breast implants, leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley has recently posted a series of Snapchat videos involving the technique.
The patient shown in the video had enlarged areolas, which were positioned lower than ideal, although they had not yet drooped beyond the breast crease. Moreover, her breast size was disproportionately small for her body and thus she requested for a simultaneous augmentation surgery.
Dr. Smiley started off the surgery with the creation of a smaller areola. He used a round cookie-cutter device to make an imprint of the new areolar complex. Then, he created an oblong-shaped incision outside of the same cut.
With the aforementioned incision pattern, Dr. Smiley was able to remove some of the dark pigmented skin of the areola, ultimately reducing its size. Of course, he lifted it a few centimeters from the breast crease to achieve a perkier, more youthful appearance.
According to studies, the ideal distance between the nipple and the sternal notch (visible dip between the neck and the collarbone) is between 17-21 cm. But if there is a larger gap, the breasts are perceived to be saggy.
After improving the shape, size, and placement of the areola, Dr. Smiley positioned the implants to give the patient more breast volume. These prostheses are propelled into their pockets through the previously created incision around the nipple area, thus avoiding additional scar.
The resulting scar from the Benelli lift, meanwhile, lies precisely at the dark-light skin junction and so it will blend into the background after six to 18 months, Dr. Smiley said in one of his Snapchat videos.
Tummy tuck and panniculectomy are two procedures commonly mentioned in body contouring surgery after massive weight loss. While they both address the apron-like skin that hangs from the abdomen, they are “fundamentally” different, says renowned Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley.
Both tummy tuck and panniculectomy remove the apron-like skin that usually follows after dramatic weight loss, providing immediate relief from rashes, infections, hygiene issues, and back pain.
The left photo depicts the results of tummy tuck, while the right image is the patient’s preoperative figure.
But unlike tummy tuck which is generally labeled as a cosmetic plastic surgery, panniculectomy is viewed as a medically warranted procedure and thus often covered by health insurance provided that the patient presents proof that the apron-like skin is causing the aforementioned problems, says Dr. Smiley.
Nevertheless, tummy tuck provides more contouring effects than panniculectomy because the former not just removes the apron-like skin, but it also incorporates muscle and navel repair.
Simply put, tummy tuck focuses more on the aesthetic improvements, while panniculectomy aims to provide immediate relief from the symptoms of redundant skin.
Because panniculectomy is considered a medically necessary procedure, patients who are still losing weight may still opt for the surgery provided that they are experiencing significant discomfort caused by the redundant skin. And once they reach their ideal weight, they may proceed to tummy tuck for additional contouring effects.
Tummy tuck, meanwhile, being an elective body contouring surgery is quite strict when it comes to achieving one’s ideal weight.
Studies have suggested that panniculectomy could stimulate additional weight loss as the patients are able to increase their activity level after the removal of their pannus, which in some cases even reaches their pubic region and causes foul odor and non-healing skin irritation.
However, even tummy tuck that focuses on abdominal contouring can also help in long-term weight management. Previous studies have shown that the aesthetic improvements can serve as a strong motivator for patients to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which is the key to preserve their results, says Dr. Smiley.
During a tummy tuck surgery, the skin is lifted after the creation of a hip-to-hip incision to reveal the pair of muscle that runs between the breastbone and the pubic region. The idea is to suture them in the midline to further create a flatter, narrower waist.
Tummy tuck also re-insets the navel, which is done after tightening the muscle and removing the apron-like skin. The skin in the upper abdomen is then pulled down and a small hole is created for the belly button.
Tummy tuck and panniculectomy can only address the frontal aspect of the waist. However, it is important to note that due to the natural distribution of redundant skin that follows after massive weight loss, a good number of patients will require an incision that extends all the way around their back (resulting in a belt-like scar) so the back and sides will not detract from the smoother frontal abdomen.
The appearance of navel after tummy tuck can make or break the results. The goal is to avoid surgical stigmata such as misaligned belly button, visible scar around it, or perfectly round shape, as suggested by renowned Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley who has performed more than 7,000 surgeries to date.
Most people think that tummy tuck simply removes the pannus, an apron-like skin that can sometimes reach the pubis, leading to skin irritation, foul odor, and poor hygiene. However, Dr. Smiley says that the surgery is more than that.
Aside from pannus removal, tummy tuck also typically incorporates muscle tightening, liposuction of the flanks, navel repair, and sometimes even hernia repair.
The correct anatomic position of the navel must be determined to achieve the most natural results possible. Hence, surgeons generally do not detach the belly button from its stalk and main blood supply during the entire surgery.
After removing the excess skin in the lower abdomen with a hip-to-hip incision, the skin in the upper abdomen is pulled down to close the wound and a new hole is cut out to inset the navel. Meanwhile, the scar lies inside the rim of the belly button for its optimal concealment.
Simply put, the navel remains in its original placement, although it may appear a bit higher or lower after removing the loose skin around it.
Meanwhile, the hip-to-hip scar is made very low that even the lowest “low rise” jeans and underwear can cover it. Over time and possibly with the use proactive scar treatments (e.g., silicone sheets and scar massage), it is expected to fade into the background.
Dr. Smiley says that a good number of tummy tuck patients need some type of navel repair, e.g., reducing its size and/or width or turning an outie into an innie. It is also critical to preserve its natural shape—i.e., with a small hooding at around 2 o’clock or 10 o’clock, and it should be somewhat vertically oriented.