Dr. Franklyn Elliott Answers Frequently Asked Questions

Arm Lift:

What type of scar can I expect after an arm lift?
An arm lift (or brachioplasty) removes lax skin and, if needed, excess fat from the upper arms. The incision and the scar it leaves depends on the individual patient. In some patients, the incision is made along the underside of the upper arm. For patients who are looking for a subtler improvement, however, the incision may be limited to the armpit area. To discuss whether an arm lift can benefit you and what type of incision would be needed, schedule a consultation with Dr. Franklyn Elliott.

How much time will I need to recover after an arm lift?
Following arm lift surgery, patients typically need 1 – 2 weeks before returning to work. During the first week of recovery, try to get light exercise like walking and avoid activities that raise your blood pressure, as this could cause bleeding at the operative site. Avoid exercises and movements that directly stress the area of your surgery like weight lifting for 4 weeks after your procedure. After a month, patients can generally begin more strenuous cardiovascular exercise like riding a stationary bike or brisk walking. Avoid heavy lifting, contact sports and jogging for up to 6 weeks.

Where is the incision made during an arm lift?
During arm lift surgery (brachioplasty), there are three primary locations where an incision may be made depending on the individual situation, needs, and preferences of the patient. An incision can be made in the armpit, lengthwise along the front side of the arm, or lengthwise along the back side of the arm. A consultation with an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon is required before an arm lift to discuss the different incision methods and determine the most beneficial surgical path.

Breast Augmentation:

How do I know what size of breast implants to choose?
Patients who are considering breast augmentation have a wealth of options, from selecting the type of implants (like silicone, saline, or gummy bear) to choosing a size. The size of a patient’s breast implants depends largely on the patient’s preference, as well as what is medically safe and feasible. During your personal consultation, Dr. Elliott will guide you through your various options and help you reach a decision that you feel comfortable with.

Can breast augmentation be performed without breast implants?
For women who prefer a subtler breast enhancement, breast augmentation can be performed using fat transfer injections to the breast instead of implants. During the procedure, fat is removed from the patient’s body with liposuction. The fat is then purified and injected in to the breasts to create a modest, natural-looking increase in breast size. It’s important to note that only about 60% of the injected fat will survive over time, so the patient should anticipate some reduction in breast size relative to the results immediately following the procedure and may require a follow-up procedure for further enhancement down the road.

Are there are non-surgical alternatives to breast augmentation?
For women who want to increase the size and volume of their breasts, breast augmentation surgery is still the best way to achieve this aesthetic result. There are no creams, supplements, or medications that can effectively help a woman increase her breast size. Fat transfer injections to the breast that use a patient’s own fat that is removed with liposuction can help provide a modest increase in breast size, but they will not be able to replicate the results of breast implants.

What can cause a breast implant to rupture?
A rupture may occur when the shell of the implant breaks, but the fibrous capsule formed by the breast remains intact. A ruptured implant causes the fibrous tissue to become inflamed and form scar tissue around the breast. This is known as capsular contracture. The scar tissue can often produce pain or discomfort in the affected breast, as well as changes in size and firmness. This can be treated with a breast revision procedure.

Breast Lift:

Will a breast lift change the size of my breasts?
A breast lift procedure focuses on the height of the breasts, and generally does not affect their size. However, many mastopexy (or breast lift) patients do want their breasts to be larger or smaller in addition to looking younger. In this case, Dr. Elliott can often combine the breast lift with either a breast reduction or a breast augmentation. Having both procedures in one surgery can cut down on recovery time and costs and can help patients achieve the results they’re looking for sooner. However, each patient’s cosmetic goals and medical needs are unique, so the first step is a consultation with Dr. Elliott to discuss your surgical options.

What is the difference between a breast lift and a breast reduction?
Although it is common for patients to associate these two procedures with each other, they are very different surgeries with very different results. A breast lift is performed for patients who want to lift or reposition breasts that sag, whereas a breast reduction actually alters the size of the breast itself. During a breast lift, skin is removed to help reshape the breasts and then the breast tissue is repositioned to provide a perkier, younger-looking breast contour. A breast reduction procedure involves removing excess breast tissue, fat, and skin. Certain patients prefer to combine breast reduction surgery with a breast lift for more comprehensive results.

Who are good candidates for a breast lift?
Any woman who experiences significant breast sagging and wants to improve the shape and positioning of her breasts may be a good candidate for a breast lift. Breast lift candidates must be in good overall health to undergo the procedure. In addition to providing perkier, younger-looking breasts, a breast lift can also help patients who have elongated breasts, downward pointed nipples, enlarged areolas and/or stretched breast skin.

Breast Reduction:

At what age is it safe to have breast reduction surgery?
Breast reduction is intended to reduce the size and volume of the breasts to create a more proportional body contour. Although there is no specific age requirement for women who are interested in breast reduction surgery, I normally recommend patients wait until their breasts have fully grown and developed before undergoing the procedure. Continued growth and development in the breast area can negatively affect the results of your breast reduction. Additionally, other changes that occur in the body over time like significant weight fluctuation or pregnancy can have similar adverse effects on a patient’s breast reduction results.

Can breast reduction surgery help treat back pain?
In many cases, undergoing breast reduction surgery can help women with larger breasts alleviate some degree of pain in their back or neck. It can also help with posture issues. Larger, heavier breasts can put a high level of stress on the spine. Breast reduction surgery can help reduce the volume and weight of the breasts to help women who experience these difficulties while also helping to achieve a more proportional silhouette.

Eyelid Surgery:

How does eyelid surgery improve the appearance of bags under the eyes?
Bags under the eyes are caused by fat deposits. Genetics are often to blame for these fat deposits, but they tend to grow more prominent with age when the rest of the face loses volume. Lower eyelid surgery, or lower blepharoplasty, removes the fat deposits to create a smoother, more youthful appearance.

How long does it take to recover from eyelid surgery?
Full recovery from eyelid surgery (AKA blepharoplasty) can take multiple weeks, but you will begin to notice progress soon after your procedure. The stitches are typically removed just a few days after your surgery. During the first week of your recovery, it’s important to give your eyes plenty of rest. Most patients can return to work after three to seven days, but this does vary from patient to patient. Any redness, swelling, or bruising that you experience after your procedure should fade within a week to ten days as well. You may begin exercising again after about two weeks, but there may be some restrictions that will be discussed in more detail during your post-surgical follow-up appointments.

Can a brow lift and eyelid surgery be performed at the same time?
As long as the patient is healthy enough to undergo their surgery, it is generally safe to combine eyelid surgery with a brow lift. Some patients prefer to have both procedures done at the same time to achieve more comprehensive aesthetic results, reduce costs, and cut down on overall recovery time. But every patient is different and combining procedures may not be the right approach for everyone. This is something we can discuss during your plastic surgery consultation.

Fat Transfer Injections:

What areas can be treated with fat transfer injections?
Fat transfer injections use the patient’s own fat that is removed from areas like the abdomen or thighs during liposuction to help add lost volume to different areas of the face and body. After it has been removed, the fat is then purified and re-injected to restore volume to the cheeks and lips, creating a similar effect to injectable facial fillers. Fat transfer injections can also be used to help patients who want to safely rejuvenate the appearance of the breasts, buttocks, and more.

Are Fat Transfer Injections Considered Safe?
When performed by an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon, fat transfer injections are typically very safe. Fat transfer can be a helpful way for patients who want to add volume to areas like the breasts, face, and buttocks. Since fat transfer injections only use purified fat that is removed from the patient’s own body during liposuction, there is only a minimal risk of an adverse reaction to your treatment.

Liposuction:

How long will the results of a liposuction procedure last?
Liposuction removes excess fat cells from a targeted area of the body, and can be a great way for patients who are already maintaining a healthy weight to minimize localized pockets of unwanted fat. The fat cells that have been removed will not return. However, if a patient gains weight after their procedure, the remaining fat cells in the treated area as well as fat cells in other areas of the body can expand, making the patient’s results less apparent. In other words, liposuction results can be extremely long lasting if the patient maintains their post-procedure weight, but subsequent weight gain in the treated area is still a possibility.

I’ve heard that breasts are largely made up of fat. Can’t I just use liposuction for breast reduction?
You’re correct that there is some degree of fat in the breasts. However, in order for breast reduction to truly be successful in providing the cosmetic results that you want while also relieving the physical burdens that excessive breasts cause, such as back pain and shoulder pain, the best option is a true breast reduction. Unlike liposuction, which uses a very narrow tube to remove fat cells alone without affecting other types of tissue, a breast reduction involves removing fat as well as breast tissue and skin for a comprehensive result. Not only will breast reduction surgery allow me as your plastic surgeon to remove the precise amount and type of tissue necessary, but it will also allow me to sculpt your breasts into an attractive and youthful shape, rather than leaving the significant laxity that liposuction would result in.

How much scarring will I experience after liposuction?
The incisions made during a liposuction procedure are quite small (sometimes only a few millimeters), meaning that post-surgery scarring is typically very minor. During liposuction, I work hard to make incisions in more concealed, less naturally visible areas to help keep them less noticeable. Keep in mind that liposuction scars will also fade considerably over time.

What areas of the body can be treated with liposuction?
As long as your surgery is performed by an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon, liposuction can safely and effectively be used on areas all over the body. This can include the abdomen, hips, back, flanks, neck, thighs, breasts, and more. Before any liposuction procedure, a consultation with your plastic surgeon will be required to determine which areas of your body can be safely treated with liposuction.

Male Breast Reduction:

Will I have extensive scars after male breast reduction?
Each man’s breast reduction is unique based on the type of tissue being removed. For men with the condition gynecomastia, the chest area may have excess breast tissue which creates an appearance similar to female breasts. In this case, the issue can often be resolved using a small, discrete incision around the bottom of the areola to allow for the removal of the breast tissue. For patients whose primary concern is excess fat in the chest area, liposuction alone may be able to produce a satisfying result. Liposuction only requires a few incisions that are large enough for the narrow metal tube used to remove the fat, so the incisions are only a few millimeters long and they leave little or no visible scarring. For men who have also lost extensive amounts of weight and, as a result, have excess skin in the chest that needs to be removed, a scar along the natural creases of the pectoral area may be necessary. Ultimately, it will depend on your unique needs, which I can evaluate during your in-personal consultation.

How long will the results of male breast reduction surgery last?
The results of male breast reduction can be extremely long-lasting. Gynecomastia, or enlarged breasts in men, is caused by an excess of glandular breast tissue. Since male breast reduction removes the excess breast tissue, the results from your procedure can last a lifetime. However, in order to maintain your results, it’s important to follow your post-surgery instructions closely. Steroid use, abuse of recreational drugs like marijuana, certain medical conditions, or even considerable weight gain can lead to a recurrence of your gynecomastia.

Can male breast enlargement be treated without surgery?
Unfortunately not. Gynecomastia, a condition in which excess glandular breast tissue causes an enlargement of the male breast, can only be successfully treated with male breast reduction surgery. Since the condition is genetic in nature and caused by an excess of tissue and not fat, diet and exercise will not be able to reduce the contour of the chest area. Additionally, there are no known medicinal treatments that can successfully treat gynecomastia.

Mommy Makeover:

What is a mommy makeover?
A mommy makeover is a plastic surgery which combines multiple procedures in order to improve the areas of a woman’s body that have been aesthetically impacted by past pregnancies. While every mommy makeover depends on the individual patient’s needs, these surgeries typically involve a breast procedure (whether it be an augmentation, a reduction, or a lift), a tummy tuck, and liposuction. Using a single surgery for multiple cosmetic procedures can allow patients to achieve the end result they’re looking for with less recovery time and expense than several individual surgeries would require, but a consultation is the first step toward determining whether you’re a candidate for a mommy makeover.

Will there be significant weight loss after a Mommy Makeover?
Unfortunately not. A Mommy Makeover and its component procedures (liposuction, tummy tuck, and cosmetic breast surgery) are meant to provide body contouring improvements, not weight loss. While it is true that excess skin and fatty tissue is removed during a mommy makeover, what is removed typically does not weigh that much. This is why I recommend that my Mommy Makeover patients reach their goal weight before undergoing their procedure in order to achieve the best results possible.

Is it safe to combine multiple plastic surgery procedures?
As long as the patient is in good physical and mental health, combining cosmetic surgery procedures can be a great way to achieve more comprehensive aesthetic results, while cutting down on overall recovery time and costs of multiple surgeries. As an example, many patients combine a cosmetic breast surgery with a tummy tuck as part of a mommy makeover. However, combining procedures is not necessarily the right approach for everyone. It’s important to consult with your board-certified plastic surgeon to find out if you are healthy enough to combine plastic surgery procedures.

Are there risks associated with a mommy makeover procedure?
While it’s true any cosmetic surgery procedure can lead to certain potential complications and risk, when performed by an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon, a mommy makeover is typically a very safe procedure. To help minimize your risk of surgery complications, it’s important to be in good physical and mental health before your surgery. It’s also very important to work with a board-certified plastic surgeon with considerable experience performing mommy makeovers and follow their pre and post-surgery instructions closely. Ask your doctor if he or she is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons.

Other Facial Procedures:

What’s the difference between a traditional facelift and a short scar facelift?
Both of these procedures restore firmness to facial skin that has become lax and wrinkled by the aging process. However, a facelift traditionally uses an incision within the creases of the face and the hairline behind the ear. A short scar facelift, on the other hand, only requires small incisions concealed by the temporal hair and extending downward in front of the earlobe, so the procedure is less invasive and scarring is minimized.

How long will the results of ear surgery last?
Although the effects of anti-aging procedures like facelifts are inherently temporary, because new signs of aging are always forming, the structure of the ears changes very little throughout our lives. Therefore, the results of plastic surgery on the ears can easily last into the patient’s adulthood and beyond. Keep in mind, however, that in order for you to attain the results you’re looking for, it’s important to follow your post-surgical instructions closely, including keeping your bandages on for a specified period of time so they can support your ears’ new shape.

How long will I need to recover after chin surgery?
Patients can normally resume their daily routine about ten days after their chin surgery procedure, though they should refrain from more strenuous activities for a few weeks. Patients can typically begin more intense, high impact exercises again roughly four to six weeks after their surgery. Keep in mind that with any plastic surgery, it can take several months for all residual swelling to fade so that your final results are truly settled. It is important to closely follow all of your post-surgical instructions and maintain communication with your plastic surgeon in order to successfully heal and achieve the best possible results from your chin surgery.

Can a neck lift be performed on its own or does it need to be combined with a facelift?
Although neck lifts are commonly combined with other procedures like a facelift, chin surgery, or eyelid surgery to provide more comprehensive cosmetic results to the face and neck area, the procedure absolutely can be performed as a stand-alone surgery. During a neck lift, excess skin is removed, and sagging neck muscles are tightened to improve definition and create a more-toned, younger-looking appearance. Depending on the patient’s needs, I may also use liposuction to remove excess fat in the neck and jowl area. For men I often just take out the excess skin directly by simply removing whatever is excessive in the front of the neck under the chin. While this does leave a scar, it is hard to see in this location after 3-4 weeks and it is a simple procedure that can be performed under local anesthesia.

How much visible scarring will there be after ear surgery?
As with any other cosmetic surgery procedure (especially facial procedures), scarring is a common concern for patients undergoing ear surgery. During an ear lift (otoplasty), I am able to make very small incisions in the back of the ear, which helps keep visible scarring very minimal after ear surgery. Some patients may require their incisions to be made in the front of the ear. In these cases, I am careful to make the incision as discreetly as possible to help limit visible scarring.

Can I combine a short scar facelift with other facial rejuvenation procedures?
For many patients, a short scar facelift can be paired with another facial cosmetic procedure to help achieve even more comprehensive aesthetic results. For example, it’s quite common to combine a short scar facelift with eyelid surgery. In addition to achieving greater results, combining multiple surgeries into one procedure can help cut down on total recovery and surgical costs. However, not everyone is a candidate for this kind of combination procedure. So, it’s important to speak with a board-certified plastic surgeon first to confirm that combining your short scar facelift with another cosmetic procedure is the right choice for you.

Post-Weight Loss Surgery:

Is weight-loss surgery needed after considerable weight loss or can my skin recover on its own? 
Post-weight loss surgery is intended to help patients get rid of their loose, excess skin after their weight loss. For patients who experience sagging skin following their weight loss, post-weight loss surgery can provide comfort and an improvement to the appearance of their skin. While the procedure is not a requirement, it is highly unlikely that their skin will correct itself after massive weight loss without surgery. It’s a matter of personal aesthetic preference.

Am I a good candidate for post-weight loss surgery?
A good post-weight loss surgery candidate is typically someone who has experienced a considerable amount of loose, sagging skin in one or multiple areas of their body after significant weight loss. Ideally, you are a good candidate for post-weight loss surgery if you are at your healthy goal weight before undergoing your surgery. It’s important for patients to be in good mental and physical health and maintain positive, but realistic expectations for their procedure and recovery. Patients must quit smoking and other forms of nicotine before their surgery, as nicotine can lead to complications and affect the body’s ability to properly recover after surgery.

Rhinoplasty:

At what age can a teenager safely have rhinoplasty?
Medically, the nose reaches nearly its full adult size by around age 14-15 (or sometimes a couple of years older for boys), and at this point, surgery may be an option to make cosmetic changes to the shape and/or size of the nose. However, keep in mind that rhinoplasty is a true surgery, so it requires patients to be firmly committed to their health throughout the preparation and the recovery. As a result, a teenager’s maturity level and their comprehension of the procedure will determine whether or not they are a candidate, so some patients may achieve a better result if they wait until their later teen years or into adulthood. All the factors that affect cosmetic nose surgery will be discussed at a pre-surgical consultation, where I can meet the potential patient (and the parents, if applicable), examine the patient’s nose, and make a confident recommendation.

How long will the results of rhinoplasty last?
Regardless of whether it was performed to alter the shape or size of the nose, smooth out bumps or depressions, or correct issues with the nostrils, the results of a rhinoplasty are intended to last a lifetime. As you age, your nose may experience normal drooping, however a rhinoplasty can strengthen the nose and allow for more graceful aging. If properly performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, a rhinoplasty should not require any additional maintenance over time.

Does a rhinoplasty procedure offer any medical benefits?
In addition to providing outstanding aesthetic results for patients who want to alter the size, shape, or contour of their nose, rhinoplasty surgery can also offer certain medical benefits for some people. Breathing issues caused by a deviated septum or structural nasal obstructions can often be corrected with a rhinoplasty. Rhinoplasty surgery can also help patients who have experienced a nasal fracture in the past.

Thigh Lift:

Who are good candidates for a thigh lift?
Thigh lift candidates are people who experience excess loose or stretched skin on their thighs as a result of considerable weight loss. A thigh lift can help remove excess skin from the inner (medial) thigh region and/or the outer (lateral) thigh. Since a thigh lift is a body contouring procedure and not weight loss surgery, patients should be at or near their ideal weight before the time of their surgery. Thigh lift patients should be non-smokers in good general health who maintain realistic expectations before and after their procedure.

How much time will I need to recover following thigh lift surgery?
Recovery time after a thigh lift depends on the type of thigh lift procedure you undergo as well as your anatomy and healing ability. Speaking generally, most patients can resume their normal daily activities (including work) within two to three weeks after surgery. It’s important to go easy on your legs and not put them under too much stress in the weeks following your thigh lift, as this can negatively impact your aesthetic results. Patients can normally return to more strenuous exercise routines after six to eight weeks. Following your pre and post-surgery instructions is crucial to a good recovery from your thigh lift.

Tummy Tuck:

What is the difference between a tummy tuck and liposuction?
Essentially, liposuction specifically removes unwanted fat. A tummy tuck, on the other hand, focuses primarily on removing excess skin on your abdomen, which often becomes stretched due to pregnancy or weight fluctuations. A tummy tuck can also repair abdominal muscles which have changed shape as a result of pregnancy, and which can create a “pooch” on even a slender midsection. For patients who would benefit from skin firming and muscle repair as well as fat reduction, liposuction can often be combined with a tummy tuck for a more comprehensive result.

Can I get a tummy tuck and then become pregnant in the future?
Though every woman’s body may respond differently to pregnancy and surgery, I recommend that all my patients wait until they are finished having children before undergoing a tummy tuck or any other body-contouring cosmetic procedure. During a tummy tuck, excess skin and tissue is removed from the abdomen and the abdominal muscles are tightened. By repairing any separation in the abdominal muscles that results from pregnancy or weight gain, a tummy tuck is able to create a flatter, trimmer midsection. The effects that pregnancy can have on the body before or after a tummy tuck (including weight gain, stretching of the skin and muscle separation) can negatively affect or even reverse some of the results of your procedure. Some patients may require an additional tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck to re-achieve their initial results before any subsequent pregnancy.

Will a tummy tuck help me lose weight?
A tummy tuck is a body contouring procedure and not weight loss surgery. This means that undergoing a tummy tuck will not help patients who seek to lose a considerable amount of weight. Although fat is sometimes removed during a tummy tuck, the procedure primarily removes stretched, excess skin. The total amount of fat and skin removed during a tummy tuck doesn’t weigh very much. This is why tummy tuck patients should reach their goal weight before having their surgery.

Could a tummy tuck potentially help alleviate posture issues?
In addition to providing the outstanding aesthetic results it is most commonly known for, a tummy tuck can also provide a number of medical benefits including potentially improving posture. Posture issues are very common for people who experience a loosening of the abdominal muscles. By surgically tightening these muscles (while also removing the excess skin and fat), a tummy tuck can add stability to the abdominal muscles, which may improve back support and posture.

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