Are antibiotics needed if you have breast implants for Dental Work?

Dr. Larry Nichter
Dr. Larry Nichter

This is a very controversial topic with no clear answer. To my knowledge there is not a definitive study or consensus on this topic. Here is the background information: Breast implants (and other implantable medical devices) are widely believed to increase a patient’s risk of infection or capsular contracture from bacteria entering the blood stream (oral bacteremia) and settling on the implant causing an infection or capsular contracture. As dental treatment bacteremia is a rare cause of metastatic infections it makes it difficult to attribute causality.

Some surgeons treat their patients with prophylactic oral antibiotics in the period directly after breast augmentation with breast implants as well as for any procedure that causes transient bacteria, such as dental surgery, colonoscopy, urological procedures (e.g. cystoscopy), and gynecological procedures. Probably a single dose, one hour prior to the treatment followed by single dose after the treatment should be sufficient, as long as the patient is not immunocompromised.

Whether this should be done for the first 6 months to 1 year after the breast implant placement is unclear at best. To my knowledge, there isn’t any compelling data to support this. Intuitively many surgeons treat breast implants like other implantable medical devices like pacemakers and total joint replacements.

Even vaguer is dental cleaning. One could argue that we cause a bacteremia when we simply brush our teeth and so dental cleaning is only a more aggressive cleaning. Some surgeon’s recommendations may differentiate between superficial dental cleaning (no antibiotics) and deep cleaning and periodontal treatment (antibiotics therapy). There have been anecdotal reports of infection and capsular contracture following dental treatment. Therefore some plastic surgeons and patients after considering the risk of 1–2 doses of antibiotics vs the unlikely but potentially irreparable problems with your implant is worth the risk. As there is no great answer to this controversy, my recommendation is to follow the advice of your plastic surgeon and or other members of your health care team.

Hair Loss After Surgery Explained

Dr. Larry Nichter
Dr. Larry Nichter

To understand why and how hair loss following surgery can occur, it is first necessary to understand the normal hair cycle. For example, everyone is constantly shedding hair (normal can be 100 scalp hairs shed per day) and this rate changes depending on many factors including surgery. Hair bulbs, the living part of hair, have three main phases: growth phase (anagen), involution/regressing phase (catagen), and the resting/quiescent phase (telogen). For the scalp the growth phase under normal conditions is 2-8 years, involution phase 2-3 weeks, and resting phase around 3 months. During times of stress such as surgery the majority of the hair can prematurely enter the rest phase, telogen, resulting in accelerated temporary hair loss. This is called telogen effluvium.

Stress and Hair Loss

Stress is a major factor in surgery-related hair loss. During stress our bodies shunt nutrients to our heart, lungs, muscles and other vital organs. As a result, hair may be weakened and in some cases, hair follicles stop producing new hair. This is called telogen effluvium. This is the most common form of hair loss and typically seen two to three months after a major body stress, such as major surgery, chronic illness, or significant infection. Other causes such as sudden change of hormone levels, especially in women after childbirth, or stopping hormone replacement. Hair may fall out from all parts of the scalp, and noticed on your pillow, shower/tub or on a hairbrush. Scalp hair may appear thinner, but it is unusual to see large bald spots. Unfortunately, all surgery involves some stress so it is important to minimize it to the extent possible. Suggestions like setting aside time in your day to both relax and exercise (walking in particular is a great stress reliever), taking part in calming activities all help. Educate yourself about your surgery and its recovery and discuss fears and concerns about your surgery with doctor, and try to focus on the final positive outcome.

Diet and Metabolism: During healing your body metabolism increases and there are increased needs for more nutrients such as protein, iron, zinc and biotin among others. Limited amounts will be diverted to wear it is needed the most with hair not being one of these places. To reduce the effects of stress on your hair, try to eat a more nutritious diet. Extra fruit and vegetables may help especially foods rich in zinc, biotin and (especially if a menstruating female) and iron. I recommend my patients take special perioperative vitamins made for this purpose as well as Arnica Montana and Bromelain to minimize inflammation.

Hormonal Changes and Hair Loss

Disruption to your normal hormonal cycle can result in hair loss. Though more pronounced in women but it can also affect men. Prolonged period of bed rest after surgery can affect this cycle, as can some of the drugs you may be given to help you heal after your operation. Limited exercise, such as walking frequently, is beneficial. Your doctor can let you know your limitations regarding exercise. It also helps to get back to eating in as regular a pattern as possible in the days after the surgery is complete.

Anesthesia and Hair Loss

It is inconclusive whether anesthesia causes hair loss, though both patients and many doctors believe there may be a link. If so, it is more likely with lengthy anesthetics periods lasting several hours rather than following shorter operations.

Limited research suggests that because anesthesia can slow down cell division, those cells which rely on fast cell division, such as hair follicles, are pushed into their resting phase. The good news is that this is temporary and the hair follicles will soon switch back to their normal irregular hair growth pattern. A large variety of things are associated with hair loss, including several diseases and hundreds of different drugs.

Field of surgery: Change of blood flow, and scarring (deep and at the skin level) can cause hair follicles to shut down restricting new hair growth. The current hair may go in the dormant phase (telogen) and fall out (telogen effluvium). Areas involved with scarring may result in areas of permanent loss of hair.

Medications: Literally hundreds of drugs may affect the growth of hair including some of which are necessary for surgical procedures. These can be direct effects or indirect effects (e.g. allergic reaction to a medication). Once the offending medication is stopped hair growth should slowly return to normal.

Other Factors: Other factors such as infection (bacterial, viral or fungal), scratching or too much pressure can result in hair loss after surgery (Positional Alopecia). All surgery represents an increased risk of infection. Once identified it needs to be treated quickly as can cause sudden hair loss. Positional Alopecia is uncommon, but can occur when the head is kept in one position for a prolonged time interval. This limits blood supply to the skin and hair follicles. Fortunately, when you sleep, you naturally move your head at intervals. This does not occur with surgeries that do not require or purposely restrict head movement. Typically this would apply to very lengthy surgeries lasting more than 6 hours.

The good news is that post-surgical hair loss doesn’t happen to most patients and, when it does, for most it comes back to normal within months.

Is Surgery Dangerous if you have Asthma?

Dr. Larry Nichter
Dr. Larry Nichter

If your asthma is optimally controlled the risk is very small and you can undergo major surgery without significant asthma complications. Most anesthesiologists I have worked with will recommend that you take your asthma medicine the prior to surgery with a sip of water and bring your inhalers to the surgery center. In addition, steroids are given just prior to anesthesia in most patients any way which helps prevent asthmatic complications.

On the other hand, if your asthma is poorly controlled, or you are steroid-dependent, you are at increased risk and therefore it is recommended that your asthma specialist provide any needed specific medical preparation prior to surgery including a written plan to give to your surgeon and anesthesiologist regarding asthma medication recommendations pre- and post-surgery. This will include a complete pre-surgical evaluation including pulmonary function test results, physical examination, and review of your medications and past medical problems. If your pulmonary function tests are not optimal your asthma doctor and/or anesthesiologist may choose to postpone surgery until your asthma is under optimal control prior to giving surgical clearance. In addition, it is advisable that you contact that anesthesiologist beforehand to discuss any issues that might arise and their management. . This is because surgery may cause an asthma flare or related bronchospasm during or immediately after surgery. Make sure you tell the anesthesiologist and your surgeon the amount and type of steroids you take so additional steroids can be given to prevent adrenal insufficiency which can result in a sudden blood pressure drop.

Capsular Contracture: Prevention and Treatment

Dr. Larry Nichter
Dr. Larry Nichter

Although capsular contractures following breast augmentation can occur just about any time, most women start having symptoms around three months after their breast implant surgery. This is because it takes some time for a capsule to form and then to scar down (contracture).

Capsular Contracture is a condition in which the capsule surrounding the implant thickens and contracts, squeezing the implant making it overly firm or hard and often changing the shape and position of the implant. As the capsule contracts it moves the implant further up your chest wall making upper portion of your breast too large and unshapely. It is more far more common in nicotine users (e.g. smoking, vaping or nicotine gum or patches).

Treatment for capsular contracture often involves en bloc capsulectomy, complete removal of the capsule, or making the pocket larger by capsular incisions (capsulotomy) with implant replacement. Recent studies suggest that using the same implant may increase the chance of recurrence. Placement of the implant in an new pocket is also often done as well as using textured implants. In the past, closed capsulotomy, in which the breast is squeezed until the capsule breaks, was used but has been associated with implant rupture and other complications and few surgeons use this technique any more not to mention that your warranty will be void. On occasion, the use of a biological fabric like Strattice or Acellular Dermal Matrix (ADM) may be required to prevent continued problems. Although the published risk of capsular contracture is approximately 9–11%, in my practice it is significantly lower after the primary implant placement. Once capsular contracture occurs, the risk of problems with secondary surgery rises to between 25% and 40%. Capsular contractures are lower with non-smokers, and with use of textured silicone implants placed below the muscle. The location of the incision also plays a role. Inframammary incision also has the lowest and periareolar and axillary (arm pit) incisions have the highest capsular contracture rate. Smoking/nicotine use greatly increases your risk for capsular contracture greater than 10 times the incidence of a non nicotine user.

Non-surgical management includes prophylactic massage to prevent it and if it occurs, the use of certain anti-asthma medications: Singulair and sometimes Acculate as off-label FDA usage to treat Capsular Contracture and in some cases of recurrence of capsular contracture in a preventative fashion. In my experience this works best for early diagnosed early contractures and used as a prophylactic, perioperatively when doing a capsular contracture surgery. The price for capsular contracture surgery varies greatly by geographical location, experience of the surgeon, whether in an outpatient surgery center vs hospital (hospital more expensive), type of breast implant, whether it is ruptured or not, estimated length of operating room time, and other factors.

‘Bottoming Out’ and Lateral Displacement of Breast Implants Explained

Dr. Larry Nichter
Dr. Larry Nichter

Cause: Large Implants due to their weight, gravity, thinning of tissues, chronically not wearing a bra, loss of elasticity and other factors may cause continued stretching so that your breast implant is no longer supported in its ideal position. This results in the progressive lowering of the inferior breast crease (inframammary fold). When the implant moves South to an undesired inferior position it results in the loss of volume and flattening of the upper pole of the breast, too much volume at the lower pole, increasing the distance from the fold to the nipple and finally the nipple position being abnormally high ( pointing up) and not centered. Similarly, the pocket can also stretch to the side (lateral) so that when lying down your implants fall towards your arm pits or sides, causing the “Side Boobs” appearance.

Bottoming out and Side Boobs Contributing Factors:

  1. Larger/Heavier Implants
  2. Implants placed above the pectoralis muscle
  3. Chronically not wearing a bra when upright
  4. Over dissection of the Implant Pocket
  5. Smooth Implants
  6. Large swings of weight including pregnancy
  7. Skin and soft tissue laxity, loss of elasticity

Repair: Surgery is the only effective remedy. Revision surgery is almost always more complex than breast augmentation. Correction techniques vary based on your plastic surgeon’s experience and skill sets. Always choose a board certified plastic surgeon with expensive revision experience as even in the best of hands recurrence is frequent especially if larger implants are used. Repair techniques include some of the following techniques and recommendations:

  1. Textured implants (“Velcro effect”)
  2. Use of Smaller Implants
  3. Maximum Submuscular Position (not just the pectoralis major but abdominis rectus below and serratus anterior on the side)
  4. Capsulorrhaphy (tightening the pocket by sewing in-folded capsular tissue together)
  5. Use of Biologic fabrics and other materials such as Acellular Dermal Matrix, “ADM” Alloderm, Strattice, “Silk” and others that can be used to reinforce the bottom of the pocket.
  6. Change of position of implant to a new pocket location “neo pectoral pocket”
  7. Internal Ryan Procedure (sutures binding the inferior mammary fold to stronger underlying tissues (e.g. fascial, periosteal)
  8. Removal of Implants and replacement of volume using your own fat (Fat Transfer).

The procedure is performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis most often using an existing scar or making an incision beneath the breast. Recovery is similar to your original breast augmentation procedure. Use of taping after surgery and prolonged use of a support bra is often recommended. It is far more important to pick the best plastic surgeon rather than trying to pick the best procedure as they are in the best position to guide you to the right decision. See this article for help in selecting the best breast revision specialist.

Breast Augmentation (Mammoplasty)

Overview

Dr. Larry Nichter
Dr. Larry Nichter

Many women who would like to restore or enhance the size and shape of their breasts may benefit from breast augmentation, also known as mammoplasty. It is one of the most common procedures performed annually by members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Breast augmentation is performed to enhance the breast size and shape due to lack of development, congenital abnormalities, changes or asymmetries following aging, weight loss, and/or pregnancy. In addition, there may be personal reasons for augmentation mammoplasty. For example, some women may perceive their breasts to be underdeveloped and not proportional to their body size and image they wish to project. Women may also decide on breast augmentation, though they may be happy with their breasts, just because they would like them to be fuller. A positive impression of their body image is important to most women, and breast augmentation may aid in offering a more proportional breast size and shape as well as in improving self-confidence.

Would I be a good candidate for breast implants?

A variety of factors may indicate that you are a good candidate for breast augmentation. Some of these feelings and/or conditions include:

  • You feel bothered and/or have low self-esteem that your breasts are too small.
  • After giving birth, your breasts have become smaller and have lost their firmness.
  • You notice that clothes that fit well around your hips are too big at the bust line.
  • You feel self-conscious when wearing a bathing suit or other form-fitting apparel.
  • A weight loss/fluctuation or pregnancy has changed the shape and size of your breasts.
  • There is an asymmetry where one of your breasts is noticeable smaller than the other.

How does the procedure work?

Breast implant surgery is accomplished by surgically inserting either a silicone or saline implant (prostheses) behind each breast. The breast implants are placed either in front or behind the pectoralis major muscle and breast tissue. General guidelines suggest that women with larger drooping (ptosis) breasts that do not want a breast lift should have the implant placed above the muscle to prevent contour problems (double contour deformity). Those patients with minimal breast tissue usually have the implants placed beneath the pectoralis muscle for more soft tissue padding. In any case, your plastic surgeon will determine which placement is best for you and explain why. When you come in for a consultation, the different options will be explained in further detail as well as the three choices of implements currently available: silicone, standard saline, and IDEAL® double lumen saline implants (a new double lumen saline implant made to feel like silicone).

Is the procedure safe?

For the vast majority of patients undergoing breast augmentation, the procedure is extremely safe and involves minimal side effects. In my practice using board-certified anesthesiologists and FDA approved prostheses are always employed to ensure a successful surgery. A general anesthetic is used but a local anesthetic is also placed prior to awakening for postoperative pain relief. The implants, breast prostheses, are made of safe, non-reactive silicone material which have been studied by the FDA and worldwide, and used since the 1970’s. So much so, in fact, that they are the most studied medical device in the world. There is no link to date between silicone prostheses to other diseases like auto-immune disease, arthritis, cancer, or other connective tissue diseases. These problems occur to the same extent and at the same rate in women with breast augmentation as those who have not had the procedure. For instance, cancer occurs just as frequently in women with augmented breasts as it does in those with natural breasts.

What choices do I have with my breast augmentation?

Breast implants come in a variety of shapes, sizes, firmness and profiles in order to offer a custom-fit and natural-looking physique. It is also important to consider the substance and texture of an implant. The surface of round implants can be smooth or textured whereas shape implants are all textured to maintain their alignment. In particular, those implants approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are filled with silicone or saline. All implants at this time use cohesive silicone gel meaning that the gel maintains its shape like “gummy bear” candy or jello with more anti-leak properties unlike the gel prior to 2006 which was more like honey or molasses in consistency. These materials impact the feel and look of a breast implant, and thus are an important consideration in determining the desired appearance of your breasts.

For example, silicone is most popular world-wide as their feel and appearance most closely mimics the desired breast feel with less rippling. Standard saline implants have a higher rate of becoming hard (capsular contracture) and tend to exhibit more waviness or rippling if there is less breast or fat covering the implant. A newer breast FDA approved saline implant, IDEAL Implant^®^, is a double lumen “hybrid” implant that has the feel close to silicone, less risk of capsular contracture, and the peace of mind of saline; that is, if there is a leak, you can tell, just by looking in the mirror rather than requiring a MRI.

What results can I expect form breast augmentation?

According to studies, more than 90% of women are satisfied with the results of a breast augmentation. This is largely because the procedure often improves a woman’s self-esteem, not to mention quality of life. We aim to custom-tailor your breast augmentation based on your preferences for perkiness, firmness, shape, and size. Our goal is to match the appropriate implant type with the right procedure so that patients with realistic expectations are completely satisfied.

Breast augmentation will enhance the shape of your breasts as well as make them fuller. You may find yourself more comfortable wearing different types of clothing and may enjoy a boost in self-confidence, as is the case with most of my patients.

Usually, you can expect your breast augmentation surgery to have long-lasting effects, unless implant deflation requires surgical replacement with a new implant. Nonetheless, the effects of aging and gravity will eventually alter the shape and size of a woman’s breasts over time. As a result, you may later elect to undergo a breast “lifting” to restore the more youthful shape, size, and firmness. A breast lift of course can be performed at the same time as a breast augmentation or implant exchange.

Prospective patients should know that the final texture, shape, and appearance are not exactly the same as natural breasts. Many patients in fact prefer the firmness and slightly different contours than natural breasts. However, these differences may be more noticeable in some patients than others. The intended result of the procedure is to enhance the size and shape of the breasts to achieve the body image desired by the patient.

What are some considerations I should take into account when selecting a plastic surgeon?

The most popular way to improve breast size and shape is breast augmentation performed by experienced plastic surgeons. Generally speaking, seek out board-certified plastic surgeons by the American Board of Plastic Surgery with a great deal of experience and good reviews for best results. Those plastic surgeons that have specialized in breast and reconstructive surgery including breast revision surgery, such as the surgeons at Pacific Center for Plastic Surgery, are a great fit for your breast augmentation needs.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS

Diastasis Recti and Its Correction Explained

Dr. Larry Nichter
Dr. Larry Nichter

Diastasis Recti simply means a separation of the paired midline abdominal muscles also called the Rectus Abdominis muscles. Although not dangerous this condition makes your tummy stick out even if you have good core strength. Paradoxically with greater separation of these muscles, when you try to tense your muscles to tighten your tummy the center part bulges between the separated muscles. Here are some simple ways to determine if you have a significant Diastasis Recti: If you have a midline muscle gap of more than a few finger breadths when you contract your muscles and if you have bulging or protrusion in your midline between your muscles, especially if made worse when you contract your muscles. In my experience the vast majority of women after pregnancy have a Diastasis Recti, the same goes for massive weight gain/loss regardless of sex.

Repair of Diastasis Recti is typically done as part of a Tummy Tuck or Mommy Makeover procedure (regardless of technique) and consists of bringing the Rectus Abdominis muscles together by suturing (sewing) the inside edges of the muscle fascia together. I have found that it makes no difference if the suture material is absorbable or permanent, and typically I perform a two layer repair to insure that the correction is secure. Single layer closures may have a higher tendency of dehiscence (separation) that would require reoperation for repair. Although Diastasis Recti Repair can be done endoscopically for minor separations, this is no longer as popular of a procedure as there is a tendency for midline redundant skin unless there is wide undermining. Recovery is similar to most plastic surgical/muscle repair procedures: no heavy lifting or vigorous exercises for 4-6 weeks depending on your plastic surgeons wishes. With core exercises as part of your daily routine following this procedure you are well on your way to develop a “six pack Abs of Steel”.

Dr. Larry Nichter featured in Time Magazine’s Article “Nip. Tuck. Or Else.”

time

 

 

 

 

Hitting newsstands today and Monday is an interesting article featuring Dr. Nichter and his patient, written by Joel Stein for Time Magazine, discussing the evolution of cosmetic surgery and it’s undeniable relevance in today’s world. The article titled “Nip. Tuck. Or Else” points out how thanks in part to social media we are now on the red carpet 24/7 posting pictures of ourselves on Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Vine, and more, so it’s imperative to look our best at all times. The social media frenzy is one reason why there has been a spike in the number of non-invasive procedures performed on the younger demographic.  It can certainly be said that no longer are cosmetic procedures just for the aging population.

Here is the full article – Nip. Tuck. Or Else.”

by Joel Stein 

Time Magazine Plastic Surgery Shoot You’re going to have to do it. And not all that long from now. Probably not a full-on, general-anesthesia bone shaving or muscle slicing.

But almost definitely some injections into your face. Very likely a session of fat melting in some areas and then possibly moving it to some other parts that could use plumping. Not because you hate yourself, fear aging or are vain. You’re going to get a cosmetic procedure for the same reason you wear makeup: because every other woman is.

No, it’s not fair that–in 2015, with a woman leading the race for the Democratic nomination for President–in addition to dieting, coloring your hair, applying makeup and working out, you now have to let some doctor push syringes in your cheeks just to look presentable. It’s not fair that you have to put your surgery on your credit card just so the other moms on the playground don’t overestimate your age. It’s not fair that you may risk your life going under general anesthesia just to keep up.

Then again, maybe it’s not fair that some women are born straight-nosed and full-breasted. That some people don’t have trouble staying thin. That workers with above-average looks will make $230,000 more over their lifetime than people who are in the aesthetic bottom seventh, as a study by University of Texas economics professor Daniel Hamermesh found. Maybe it doesn’t feel fair that a man is writing about this, even if more and more males are starting to feel the same kind of pressure that women have dealt with for decades.

“It’s becoming harder and harder to say no without being read as irrational or crazy,” says Abigail Brooks, the director of women’s studies at Providence College, who recently completed research comparing women who undergo antiaging interventions and those whom she calls “natural agers.” The former group described the latter using phrases like “let herself go” and “not taking good care of herself.” Brooks worries that that pressure is not only exhausting but also keeps women forever 21 emotionally. Continue reading “Dr. Larry Nichter featured in Time Magazine’s Article “Nip. Tuck. Or Else.””

The “Skinny” on Non Invasive Body Contouring and Fat Reduction

Dr. Larry Nichter
Dr. Larry Nichter

Body contouring techniques can be separated into non-invasive and invasive techniques.

Liposuction, though “invasive”, still remains the gold standard in body contouring. The procedure uses small suction cannulas sometimes assisted by lasers, ultrasound, propulsive jet sprays, radiofrequency energy or vibrational movement (power-assisted liposuction) to actively remove fat by suction from localized areas of fatty accumulation. Liposuction, also called suction assisted lipectomy or “lipo”, is still by far the most successful and predictable way to quickly, safely and effectively create the contouring figure that you desire. However, compared to non-invasive techniques there is some risk, increased recovery time, and discomfort associated with liposuction. Less invasive techniques involve inserting a Radiofrequency (RF) probe (e.g. ThermiRF™ to melt fat for smaller areas without liposuction, but still has more risk than non-invasive techniques). This has led to the growth of non-surgical, non-invasive body contouring.

Non-invasive body contouring technologies use an energy delivery system to injure, destroy, “convince cells to die slowly over time” or alter the architecture of the fat cells without any incisions or placing any device under the skin, and without performing any surgery. Other techniques that are evolving include injecting a substance to reduce fat (Kythera®, FDA approved to reduce fat under the chin).

The common non-invasive energy types utilized to create non-surgical body contouring include RF, focused ultrasound, infrared, RF-coupled suction and massage, and diode laser energy. These non-invasive energy sources that reduce areas of enlarged fat concentrations such as tummy, hips, thighs, and the back — reducing fat without harming other structures like nerves and blood vessels. Some are more effective than others. For example, Zerona® claims that its cool diode laser has a generalized “whole body” slimming technology by making fat cells leaky rather than using thermal mechanisms or cavitation energy to alter or break apart the fat cell. To scientist physicians like myself, it is hard to believe that low level cool laser light waves will be able to penetrate more than a millimeter or two, much less where the majority of the fat lies. It is no wonder that at the time I write this it is ranked as only having 28% satisfaction rating on RealSelf.

On the other hand, there are many effective non-invasive fat reduction technologies available.

CoolSculpting® is effective but has some discomfort noted by many patients, and the applicator paddle sizes can only treat a few areas at a time, require several treatments (3–5), have to wait between treatments, and takes several weeks to see the full effect and occasionally fat ridges are seen above the treated areas.

UltraShape® by Syneron Candela uses focused ultrasound energy, can treat at three different levels, and the different size applicators can treat just about anywhere on the body and even do lipo-sculpting. It is painless and the results are seen quickly with treatments a few weeks apart (series of 3 is typical, more depending on desires may be recommended). It is great for localized areas.

BTL Vanquish uses RF energy to heat the fatty layer precisely, painlessly and selectively to a temperature that causes fat cells to undergo early cell death (apoptosis) by destroying the integrity of the fat cell. Like other techniques that accomplish the same effect, the body then clears the remnants by the lymphatic system.

The VelaShape III, is new technology and much more effective than its predecessors (VelaShape I and II). It is a non-invasive body shaping device used to reduce cellulite, and reduce (slim) the area around the tummy, back, hips and thighs. The machine combines four different technologies — infrared, bi-polar RF, pulsed vacuum, and massage rollers — to improve skin texture and reduce the overall volume of the treated area. It is often used alone for cellulite reduction but often used in conjunction with the other devices I mentioned to magnify their efficacy by smoothing and warming the tissues and clearing much of the edema and fat breakdown products using as an advanced lymphatic massage device. Please note RF devices cannot be used for patients with pacemakers.

For large areas of troublesome fat collections as well as specific areas of focal fat and accumulation you may be best served by the various forms of liposuction. The non-invasive focal fat contouring technologies now in the market place may not be as effective, but have reduced risk and recovery time. Deciding between these options should be done on a case-by-case basis between patient and physician.

How to Best Determine the Optimal Breast Implant Size

Dr. Larry Nichter
Dr. Larry Nichter

It is very difficult to determine the exact size and shape implant you will require to best match your ideal breast image without an examination by a board certified plastic surgeon. Not just any board certified plastic surgeon, but one with many years of frequently performing breast augmentation surgery including different approaches, techniques and implant choices. This is because several measurements not to mention your breast characteristics are needed to determine the optimal implant size to obtain your goals. Without knowing these dimensions it would be difficult to make this determination. For example, the existing base width of your breast will determine, in many cases, the maximal volume per implant profile that you can accommodate. To illustrate; a 100 cc difference may make a significant difference with a narrow base width breast, but much less of a difference if you have a wide chest wall and wide breast “foot print”. Therefore, just because your friend may have a great result with let’s say a 350 cc implant to make her go from a “A” cup to a “C” cup size does not mean that you will have the same result with the same size implant. . Further simply placing implants in a bra to determine the size best for you is not always accurate as the bra often distorts the size, is dependent on the pressure the bra places plus the implant is outside your breast and not under it among other variables. Computer software morphing programs that automatically determine the best implant size can be helpful in some but not all cases (e.g. doesn’t work well in my experience with existing implants, sagging or asymmetric breasts). Using “want to be” photos however are useful if simply provided to the surgeon as I will further explain in a bit.

Saline-filled Breast Implants
Image: FDA

Additional critical decisions will also be made by your plastic surgeon such as: whether your implants will be above or below your pectoralis muscle. These choices are recommended to you based on the look you desire, the amount of sagging you may have, and other deciding factors. For more than 25 years, I have tried just about every method to best understand and achieve the patient’s optimal goal. The following is what I have found to be most accurate: To start with, I have found it most helpful for patients to bring in photos from my or other plastic surgeons’ websites to illustrate what they would like to look like. This gives me detailed standardized views and information both qualitative (shape, perkiness) and qualitative (size) and allows me to discuss with my patients how I can best achieve their objectives as well as realistic expectations. For example, though I always tell my patients that I cannot make them exactly the same as a photo because everyone has different anatomical constraints. However, these ”ideal” breast photos are brought to the operating room for reference during surgery so that I have the advantage of “seeing through my patient’s eyes” to best achieve their wishes. Even if the photo does not match their height or weight, I and most plastic surgeons are very good at translating the proportionality of the photo to your features.

I personally order more than one set of implant sizes and use sterile implant “sizers” (temporary implants) placed in the created implant pocket during surgery to know in advance exactly which implant would work best for you in both a sitting and lying down position. This also allows me the opportunity to modify the pocket to meet some of the more subtle shape features desired. This enables me to use my full artistic potential to achieve your desired goals.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS