Have you ever listened to your voice on your voice mail and wondered, “Do I really sound like that”? We all have an idea of what we think we sound like. Similarly, we see what we want to see in the mirror. But what we think we see and what we think is the problem may not be what a surgeon would see. Dr. Mark Epstein, of Stony Brook, NY, says, “My focus, is not just on the area that is bothering them. Patients typically come in complaining about their abdomen, but the abdomen blends with the anterior flanks which is part of the posterior flanks which then is contiguous with the back and the buttocks. I look at the patient from a 360 degree perspective.”
Breaking Surgical Tradition
Taking an artistic view of body contouring is a refreshing change from the traditional static approach to changing the torso with an “either-or” mentality. Liposuction and abdominoplasty procedures are staples in the plastic surgery menu of services. Combining them has also been done for years; however, with new technology, like Vaser 4D liposuction, and new a fresh surgical vision that seeks to improve total torso definition, the results in body contouring procedures are showing a much more blended, total change.
How it’s done…
“Even though the procedure is quite detailed and extensive, it can be done in one day, with operating room times of 4–6 hours depending on the patient.” The surgery begins with the patient lying face down on the operating table which allows the surgeon to liposuction the back and upper arms, the flanks, the thighs and fat graft the buttocks if needed. The patient is then turned over and the suctioning continues on the abdomen. Once the abdomen has been sculpted, the tummy tuck portion of the surgery begins by tightening muscle walls and removing excess skin. Having a sculpted, tailored abdominal area is crucial to being able to achieve a better, more refined shape and result.
Marrying Technology to Art
“You want a surgeon who is marrying technology to art. This is medicine and science but we are also looking into the aesthetic proportions coming up with an aesthetic plan to rejuvenate the body,” says Epstein, a board certified plastic surgeon and member of The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). A surgeon must pay attention to the scientific and surgical principals so that the procedure is safe. “The most important factor is safety. The results are secondary.”
Recovery from total body contouring has taken a turn towards dramatic improvement with the advent and use of Exparel, a long lasting, local anesthetic. “Patients wake up with very little pain in the abdomen,” says Dr. Epstein, “We are seeing some very nice results with this approach to body contouring and patient satisfaction has been very high.”