Not All Board Certifications Are Created Equal

You may be surprised to find out that not all surgeons who advertise themselves as a “board certified” have the same level of training. A board-certified plastic surgeon, certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), has completed years of hands-on training by experts in the field and demonstrated mastery of their specialty through oral and written examinations.  At the completion of their training, they will have performed hundreds of surgeries like the one you are considering. Additionally, some board certifications can be bought while others are earned. Those who earn the board certifications are truly trained in the field, as opposed to those who are not truly trained but advertise as “Board Certified”. Taking the time to check and verify a board membership is definitely worth the effort and will help ensure that the doctor meets at least a minimum expertise.

What does it mean to be “board certified,” and is it really that important?

Once physicians complete medical school, they embark on a residency program in the specialty of their choosing. Residency programs consist of multiple years of hands-on training during which the physicians are guided by experts in the specialty with extensive experience.  After completion of these years of training, the residents are then eligible to take a rigorous examination that allows them to demonstrate their expertise in their chosen specialty.  Only after they have completed the years of hands-on training and passed their exams are doctors then able to advertise themselves as “board certified” in their chosen specialty. Additionally, to maintain their board certification, surgeons must engage in continuing education activities, so you know that they are constantly learning and improving in their practice.

The bigger organization that accredits and oversees the individual specialty organizations is the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).  The ABMS determines which programs are of sufficient rigor to guarantee proficiency in a particular specialty.  For patients considering cosmetic surgeries, the only ABMS-recognized board certification is American Board of Plastic Surgery. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not recognized by the American Board of of Medical Specialties.

So, what does this mean for you? If your physician is not “board certified,”by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, there is no guarantee that they have completed extensive hands-on training in their field or have been able to demonstrate proficiency in the requirements of their specialty.  The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not American Board of of Medical Specialties recognized. In fact, in many states, physicians who have not completed a residency at all can practice medicine, even performing cosmetic procedures.  But do you want a “cosmetic surgeon” who has not had years of hands-on guidance and demonstrated mastery to perform surgery on you? Unlikely. But, unfortunately, not all patients are knowledgeable about accrediting organizations, and some doctors are happy to take advantage of this.

So how do I know if my plastic surgeon is really board-certified?

Fortunately, there are a couple of questions you can ask to protect yourself:

  • Ask your physician about their board certification. For cosmetic surgery, you want an American Board of Plastic Surgery board-certified surgeon. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
  • Ask the doctor if they have privileges at the local hospitals should you have complications from your procedure. While most procedures are performed in stand-alone surgery centers or even in the office, your surgeon should be able to treat you if you were to be admitted to a local hospital with complications.  Physicians who are not board-certified are not given hospital privileges and would be unable to treat you.

When you are considering plastic surgery, don’t risk your health and aesthetic outcome to a surgeon who doesn’t have the highest level of training! Call 540.371.7730 to schedule your personal consultation today, and know that you will be treated by experts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why is a Mini Facelift Suitable for Younger Patients?

Facelift surgery is considered the “gold standard” in facial rejuvenation for a reason: It can treat even the most advanced signs of aging, and it produces elegant, natural results that last for ten or more years. Facelift surgery is, however, a complex operation that’s intended for older patients who have obvious loose face and neck skin. Patients under the age of 45 seldom need the extensive alterations offered by this procedure because the skin below their jawline and around their eyes is still fairly firm. That’s why we offer what is known as a “mini” facelift here at Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg; this procedure is ideally suited to younger patients who have only just started to notice visible signs of aging.

Understanding the Early Stages of Aging

Though collagen loss begins fairly early in life (the rate of collagen production drops by about 1% per year after age 30), it takes a while for skin to become stretched to the point of visible looseness. Most people don’t experience sagging eyelids, hanging neck skin, and other signs of severe skin laxity until they reach about 55-60 years of age. During the early stages of the aging process, most visible aging is caused by changes in the superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS).

The SMAS plays a crucial role in supporting facial skin, the connective tissues below the skin, and the fat pads that give shape to the face. As the SMAS drops, as it does during our 40s, fat pads slide downwards, creating hollows around our eyes and under our cheeks. Sometimes, fat pads on the lower face form jowls and a double chin as they descend into the submental area. The weight of these fat pads can also make creases and folds of loose skin appear more prominent.

How Can a Mini Facelift Help?

The mini facelift is designed to treat just SMAS sagging, thereby reversing undesirable changes while keeping scarring and recovery time to a minimum. To perform a mini facelift, our surgeons make two small S-shaped incisions behind each ear. Through these incisions, they can access and lift the SMAS. This raises fat pads, restoring youthful facial contours, and minimizes the appearance of loose skin.

Mini facelift surgery usually only takes two hours to complete, and most patients recover from this procedure within just one week. Better still, mini facelift surgery produces subtle results that look natural on younger faces. Because no loose skin is removed during this procedure, your skin won’t look “tight” after having a mini facelift.

For best results, we recommend combining mini facelift surgery with one or more injectable treatments. Injectable treatments can target areas of the face not treated by mini facelift surgery, like the brow, lips, and nasolabial folds. BOTOX® injections can relax the muscles around the temples, smoothing out forehead lines and crow’s feet. Dermal fillers, on the other hand, are used to fill in creases and add volume to the lips and cheeks. Injectables don’t require any additional downtime, so they’re perfect for younger patients who have a demanding work schedule or active family life.

To learn more about these treatments and how they can help you manage the early signs of aging, just contact our practice; we’ll be happy to arrange a one-on-one consultation for you.

 

 

 

Last Minute Spa Treatments for All Your Holiday Events

We all want to look our best during the holidays—after all, more social events occur in December and January than at any other time of the year. Unfortunately, that same hustle and bustle make taking time out to pamper ourselves next to impossible. Few people can fit cosmetic surgery before the holidays, and even taking a full day out to visit the spa can be challenging. That’s why we offer several “lunchtime procedures” here at Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg. These non-surgical treatments can make a big difference in how you look, without impacting your busy schedule.

4 Quick and Easy Holiday Spa Treatments

1. Vampire Facials and Facelifts

If you’re looking for a refreshing and rejuvenating facial treatment before the holidays, vampire facial procedures may be right for you. While the name seems intimidating, these treatments utilize PRP (platelet-rich plasma) to encourage cell turnover and help the skin look renewed and youthful. Vampire facials utilize PRP in addition to microneedling, which allows for deep penetration of the PRP serum and improved collagen production by creating microscopic perforations that heal quickly. If you choose a vampire facelift, you can benefit from the plumping and lifting effect of a variety of dermal fillers with the use of PRP to improve the skin’s tone and texture. The result is vibrant skin that no longer looks hollow or drooping. Your procedure is customized to address specific areas of concern.

The vampire facelift does not require downtime for recovery. While the skin may appear slightly red after a vampire facial treatment, any residual side effects will quickly dissipate so you can enjoy the holiday season looking your best.

2. The Fraxel Laser

During Fraxel laser treatment, our doctors use a specialized medical laser to abrade the top layers of the skin gently. This removes damaged and highly pigmented skin cells while speeding up the rate of cellular renewal and boosting collagen production. Fraxel laser treatment is, therefore, a great way to get rid of fine lines, age spots, acne and acne scars. It will also make your skin firmer, smoother, and younger-looking throughout a few treatments.

Unlike a chemical peel, laser skin rejuvenation won’t cause your skin to peel or flake. You’ll be able to resume all your normal activities on the same day you have this procedure, making it an ideal last-minute spa treatment.

3. BOTOX®

Though most people have heard of BOTOX®, few realize how no-fuss this injectable treatment really is: Most BOTOX® appointments take just 15 minutes to complete, you won’t have to rest afterward, and this compound rarely causes any side effects. At the same time, BOTOX® is powerful enough to erase forehead lines and crow’s feet.

4. Paraffin Wax Treatment

One of the first things most of us notice when the weather turns cold is painfully cracked, dry skin on our hands and feet. At Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg, we use paraffin wax submersion to treat this dryness while soothing raw skin effectively. Paraffin wax is a powerful emollient – it coats the skin and traps moisture, so it doesn’t evaporate. Paraffin wax treatment is also a great way to heal damaged cuticles, ease joint pain, and increase circulation.

The holidays will be here soon, so if you’re interested in having a few last-minute spa treatments, you should contact us to arrange a consultation. We’ll help you pick the best low-maintenance treatments to meet your needs.

 

 

Most Commonly Requested Liposuction Areas

Liposuction is as versatile as it is effective: This convenient, low-risk procedure can permanently remove unwanted fat from almost anywhere on the body. Liposuction is the best way to contour small areas, too; the thin cannulas used during this procedure can shape even the fingers, toes, ankles, and knees. Most non-surgical fat removal devices are too large to be used similarly.

If you’re considering having diet-resistant fat removed, it’s useful to know the most commonly requested liposuction sites. Having this information will help you work with our surgeons to develop a comprehensive body sculpting plan that meets all your objectives.

The 6 Areas Most Commonly Treated by Liposuction

1. The Abdomen

Unsurprisingly, the upper and lower abdomen are two of the most popular liposuction sites. Liposuction can quickly and permanently eliminate up to ten pounds of belly fat. Keep in mind, however, that this procedure is not meant to serve as a substitute for lifestyle changes. Removing more than ten pounds of fat at a time can cause surgical complications, so it’s not possible to use this procedure as a treatment for central obesity.

Eligible candidates use liposuction to treat age-related fat centralization or inherited fat distribution problems. Mothers also turn to liposuction to get rid of the lower belly “pouch” that often develops after pregnancy.

2. The Breasts

Both men and women can benefit from liposuction’s ability to contour the chest. Men frequently use liposuction to treat gynecomastia (enlarged male breasts). Women may use it to correct breast asymmetry or decrease the size of their breasts slightly (more dramatic reductions in breast size can only be achieved using breast reduction surgery). Some women also use liposuction to get rid of the small pocket of fat that sometimes exists between the breasts and the armpits. Removing this fat can reduce irritation while wearing a bra and make clothes drape in a more flattering way.

3. The Area Under the Chin

Though non-surgical treatments for submental fat exist, they don’t produce results as quickly as liposuction. They can also cause more localized irritation for some patients. Liposuction is therefore still the treatment of choice for most patients who wish to get rid of a double chin.

5. The Thighs

Some women have what’s known as an accentuated “pear-shaped” figure: Their upper body is very lean, while their thighs and buttocks retain stubborn bulges of fat. Liposuction can be used to slim the lower body, giving these women more balanced proportions.

6. The Upper Arms

High estrogen levels tend to increase the amount of fat that’s stored on the arms, as well as increasing breast size. Unfortunately, natural or not, this extra arm fat can make a woman look heavier and less toned than she actually is. Having arm liposuction can improve visible muscle tone and decrease upper body mass at the same time.

To learn more about how liposuction can be used to sculpt a shapelier body, contact PSSF to arrange a consultation. Our surgeons will be happy to answer any questions you have about this procedure.

 

 

Why is Fall Facelift Season?

Autumn offers many things to look forward to: Cooler days, the scent of frost in the morning, ripe pumpkins, and cozy socks and sweaters. For those interested in having facelift surgery, fall has the added advantage of providing a convenient, comfortable recovery period.

3 Reasons Why Fall is a Great Time to Have a Facelift

1. Finding recovery time is easier between September and November.

Most Americans feel like they’re busy almost all year long, and for good reason: Between summer and winter holidays, spring break, and peak times at work, finding time for rest and relaxation often proves challenging. Fortunately, for parents, in particular, fall provides something of a reprieve from constant activity. After September, any children you have will be back at school, making childcare help a bit easier to arrange. (You’ll need someone to assist you at home for a couple of days after you have a facelift.) At the same time, both your child’s school and your workplace will be in a post-vacation lull.

Keep in mind that many patients prefer to take one to two weeks off work if they’re having a full facelift. Facelift recovery isn’t usually uncomfortable (as long as patients consume soft foods and take their pain medication on schedule), but some patients experience redness and swelling that lasts from 10 to 14 days. For aesthetic reasons, you might want to remain at home until the signs of facial swelling completely subside. (Note that the recovery time required after a mini facelift is typically much shorter. Most patients return to work just seven days after having a mini facelift.)

3. Covering incisions is easier during the cooler months.

Facelift incisions are usually made along the hairline and around the ears so that visible scarring is greatly reduced. Still, patients need to take certain precautions in order to ensure that their scars fade away over time. Foremost among these precautions is avoiding direct sun exposure: Sun damage is the number one cause of thickened, darkened, and raised scar tissue.

For best results, you should keep your face protected any time you go outdoors, even on cloudy days. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and a medical grade sunscreen with a high SPF value. (You may also want to wear a scarf, both for added protection and to hide any facial swelling you’re experiencing.) You should make sure to limit your sun exposure as long as your incisions are pink. Incisions are still vulnerable to sun damage for several weeks after they have closed up.

3. Having surgery in the fall will help you prepare for the holidays.

Facelift surgery can take up to three months to completely “settle,” but most of this process is completed within six weeks post-surgery. As such, if you have a facelift in September, you can rest assured that you’ll look completely revitalized by the time the winter holidays arrive.

Autumn is already on our doorstep, so if you’d like to have facelift surgery this year, you should act quickly. To begin your personal transformation, contact Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg either online or via the telephone at (540) 371-7730. If you’re a resident of Virginia, we’ll be happy to help you achieve the youthful, graceful results you deserve.

 

 

 

BBL Safety : Why PSSF is Your Safest Choice for Buttock Augmentation

Medical scare stories are one of the most popular types of “clickbait” on the internet. Whether they’re warning us of hidden toxins in our food or calling attention to the purported risks of popular cosmetic treatments, these articles play on our most basic instincts in order to drive revenue. Unfortunately, while these kind of stories often contain a nugget of truth, they’re typically heavy on exaggeration and light on factual information. This can make it difficult for the average person to make informed, rational choices.

One of the trendiest plastic surgery procedures in the world—the Brazilian Butt Lift—found itself at the center of such unwanted attention last year, after reports of postoperative casualties hit the media. The BBL was dubbed “the most dangerous plastic surgery procedure in the world,” and a number of otherwise eligible candidates decided to avoid it in favor of alternatives. This has, however, simply led to worse problems: Many people are now turning to much riskier treatments, like implants and injectables that have not yet passed FDA approval, in their quest to get the perfect posterior. Meanwhile, there are safe ways to have the buttocks augmented through surgery. Before you rush into having any cosmetic procedure, it’s important to do your research, learn the facts, and decide for yourself whether the rewards outweigh the risks.

BBL Surgery Explained

Underneath all the hype, the Brazilian Butt Lift is actually a fairly straightforward procedure: A plastic surgeon first extracts some of the patient’s own body fat (via liposuction), then he (or she) prepares it for injection back into the body. Once the fat has been processed in a centrifuge, it’s inserted into the patient’s buttocks and the healing process begins. This surgical technique—which is known as a fat transfer—is actually nothing new. Plastic surgeons have been safely using it for years, usually to augment the breasts or combat age-related fat loss on the hands, feet, and face.

It’s not a particularly high-risk operation if performed properly by a board-certified or board-eligible plastic surgeon.   At Plastic Surgery Service of Fredericksburg, we are very knowledgeable on appropriate techniques to achieve maximum safety.

Why Choose Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg for Your BBL?

The concern over the BBL highlights the need to always select a surgeon who is both qualified and experienced, no matter what procedure you plan on having. Because the BBL is still relatively new, there aren’t many surgeons in the United States who are well versed in BBL techniques. PSSF is a rarity in that our practice employs three experienced plastic surgeons who thoroughly understand the intricacies of fat transfer techniques. (One of our surgeons, Dr. Aflaki, also completed two years of research at the Laboratory of Tissue Repair and Gene Transfer at Harvard Medical School.) Furthermore, we perform all of our surgeries in fully accredited facilities. These practices have allowed us to perform a number of BBL procedures safely and successfully.

Fat transfer procedures, while they’re invasive, have a number of benefits when they’re performed correctly. Because they use the patient’s own fatty tissue, they produce a completely natural look and feel. They also carry no risk of allergic reaction, unlike synthetic implants and injectables. In summation, if you want a noticeably fuller buttocks, the BBL is probably the safest way to achieve it—as long as you’re in the capable, caring hands of our board-certified plastic surgeons.

 

Which Procedures are Trending this Summer?

As a society, our concept of beauty is dynamic and ever-evolving—that’s what makes it so exciting. Hot trends vary from season to season, reshaping our idea of what it means to be gorgeous. At the same time, cosmetic treatments are becoming safer and less invasive than ever before. Today, we have the freedom to experiment with modifications that we could only have dreamed about a decade ago. If you’re ready to start living your best life, we recommend checking out this summer’s trending procedures:

4 Must-Have Procedures for Summer 2018

1. CoolSculpting

What, other than the little black dress, never goes out of style? Non-surgical fat removal. Men and women alike swear by the benefits of CoolSculpting, a procedure that freezes away fat cells without requiring a single incision. CoolSculpting destroys the lipids inside fat cells, painlessly breaking them down. After several treatments, most patients experience a 24% reduction in the size of targeted fat deposits. CoolSculpting can be used on the belly, back, thighs, arms, and even the area under the chin.

2. The Mini Facelift

Most people under the age of 50 don’t need a full facelift. If you’re a healthy non-smoker and you’ve always taken good care of your skin, you probably only need a little “nip and tuck” to tighten the muscles that support your cheeks. The mini facelift does exactly this: It adjusts the SMAS (superficial muscular aponeurotic system), restoring the contour of the cheeks. The mini facelift requires just two small incisions (which will be hidden by the folds of the ears), and most patients only need to spend a few days resting after having this procedure. For this reason, it’s sometimes called the “weekend facelift.”

3. Juvéderm® Voluma

As we get older, facial fat deposits shrink; this can cause under-eye hollows and make the cheeks look sunken. Juvéderm® Voluma is designed to restore this lost volume, creating a fuller and more youthful look.

4. Breast Implant Removal

Today, some women are choosing to downsize. It’s not that breast implants don’t look great—they absolutely can—but changing tastes and lifestyles just have some women rethinking their proportions. The popularity of fitness, for example, has made having smaller, lighter breasts the easier option for many people. Fortunately, breast implants can be removed and replaced with a smaller size. Implants can also be removed completely, and the breasts can be lifted in order to recreate their pre-surgery shape.

5. Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are making a comeback. Out of all of the non-surgical skin rejuvenation procedures currently available, they’re probably the most convenient way to generate noticeable results. It takes just one deep chemical peel to visibly reduce the appearance of wrinkles, sun spots, scars, and other blemishes. (Conversely, most forms of skin rejuvenation require three or more treatments.) If you can’t wait to get fresh, glowing skin—and you’re willing to put up with a bit of flaking—the chemical peel is probably right for you.

Summer will be over before you know it—so if you want to make a few changes, now is the time to do it. Contact us to schedule a personal consultation, where you can explore more of what these four procedures have to offer.

Best Practices After Your Plastic Surgery

Your surgeon plays an essential role in the success of your plastic surgery procedure, but so do you. Taking proper care of your body after surgery can improve the results from your procedure. Do too much, too soon and you can cause permanent damage to your healing body.

How do you take care of your body after procedure? We’ll give you detailed plastic surgery recovery instructions as we prepare for surgery. We’re also here to answer any questions that may arise. This guide highlights some important best practices that you can use to ensure good healing and a stunning aesthetic result. We’ll do our part by providing top-notch surgical technique and superior patient care; you do your part by following the recovery instructions.

Use Those Vacation Days

You’re great at your job and you love what you do, but everyone will have to get by without you, at least for a few days. After plastic surgery, your body needs to heal, not work. Depending on the procedure you receive, you may be back to work in just a day or two. Other treatments require more downtime, as much as 1-2 weeks.

We’ll talk about time off from work during your consultation, so you can plan ahead and arrange the needed coverage so you can get some rest.

No time for time off? If you really can’t miss work, but still want to rejuvenate, come see us. One of our non-surgical, no downtime treatments, like BOTOX®, may be the right fit for you.

Don’t Smoke

Everyone knows that smoking is terrible for your health and body. What you may not realize is how much smoking affects the healing process. Smoking shrinks the size of your blood vessels. During plastic surgery some blood vessels are cut, forcing the ones that remain attached to work double duty. With healthy blood vessels, your body will rise to challenge.

If your blood vessels are smaller from smoking, they may be unable to supply the necessary blood to treated areas after plastic surgery. This slows healing and can lead to tissue death. Smoking also increases the risk of blood clots after surgery. We typically recommend that patients stop smoking a few weeks before and a few weeks after surgery.

Nicotine products are a no-no after plastic surgery, too. Avoid vaping, chewing tobacco, and nicotine patches and gums.

Use Pain Medications

If we prescribe pain medications, we want you to use them if you need them. Controlling pain properly can speed healing, allowing you to get out of bed and resume mild-activity sooner. We’ll discuss your options for pain relief including:

  • No Pain Relief- Some of our treatments, especially our non-surgical treatments, require no pain relief or anesthetic. If you’ve received a surgical treatment and are feeling uncomfortable, you should use a pain relief option. Don’t try to tough things out as this can slow healing.
  • Over-the-Counter Pain Relief- Over-the-counter products like ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen can control mild to moderate discomfort after plastic surgery. Over-the-counter treatments can also be used to bridge the gap after you no longer need prescription pain medication, but still feel mild discomfort.
  • Prescription Pain Relief- Prescription pain medications can provide powerful pain relief after plastic surgery. Most prescription pain products contain an opioid and can be addictive. We understand your concerns about opioid pain medications and use careful practices to reduce the risk of dependency. Always use prescription pain relief exactly as prescribed.
  • Exparel- Exparel is a slow-release analgesic that is injected into your incision after surgery. It can minimize pain and increase comfort for up to 3 days after surgery. Exparel is not an opiod pain reliever and brings new pain control options to patients that want or need to avoid opioid pain medications.

Proper pain management can help you feel better and heal faster after plastic surgery.

Get Help

Plastic surgery isn’t something you can do alone. You’re going to need some help during the recovery process. Arrange for help before your procedure, so you’re not scrambling to fill needs after surgery.

  • Transportation- If your procedure uses anesthesia or sedation, you won’t be able to drive after. You’ll need someone to pick you up from our accredited surgery center and take you home.
  • Care and Monitoring- After a surgical procedure we recommend that you have someone around for the first few days. They can help with medications, keep your company, and alert us should any unexpected complications occur.
  • Help with Children and Daily Tasks- Many of our mommy makeover patients need to arrange care for small children. You may need to arrange for transportation to and from school and childcare. If you have children that need care, you may need some help for a few days.

Come See Us

Our relationship doesn’t end after the surgery. We plan to meet with you several times during recovery to assess your healing. After some procedures we may recommend a yearly check-in. Make your follow-up appointments a priority. If you have questions, please get in touch. We are here for you.

Taking care of yourself after plastic surgery can improve your results and your recovery experience. To get started on a journey to your best body, call our offices and schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced plastic surgeons in Fredericksburg, VA: Dr. Heppe, Dr. Bautista, or Dr. Aflaki.