Taking the Taboo Out Of Tummy Tucks

April 10, 2018
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According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, cos- metic procedures and surgeries are on the rise.

Advances in Cosmetic Surgeries and Procedures Attract Many

By Judy O’Gorman Alvarez |

There was a time when cosmetic plastic surgery was only spoken about in hushed tones.

Nowadays the prevalence of surgeries, procedures and treatments available can help combat the effects of age, time and gravity to make us look, and most importantly, feel better.

“As we age, our bodies age before our minds and how we feel and want to be perceived,” said Negin Griffith, M.D., plastic surgeon in Red Bank. And more and more people are looking into the spectrum of cosmetic procedures.

Among the options available are breast reconstruction, reduction and augmentation, tummy tucks to tighten and liposuction to remove unwanted fat. And that’s just for the body.

Tweaks to the face run the gamut from face-lifts to brow lifts, chin tucks and hair transplants, to Botox injections and dermal fillers.

While considered more mainstream, many people still hide their procedures. “Cosmetic patients don’t generally discuss details,” said Griffith. “That’s more of a private matter.”

Potential cosmetic candidates may wrestle with an unhappiness or displeasure with a particular area of their face or body.

“Cosmetic surgery can be a lot of fun and can be transformational in some ways,” said Griffith.

And some patients find their way to the operating table in ways they wouldn’t have imagined.

Lori Anvalone, a 6th grade teacher and avid spin enthusiast, suffered from degenerative disc disease among other conditions that, combined with her large breast size, was causing excruciating pain. “I was in severe pain 24/7,” she said. “I could not even write on the board.”

Her health issues she said were getting worse as she grew older.

“I was never in favor of cosmetic surgery,” Anvalone said. “So I was hesitant about the process and wasn’t looking to make myself look better.”

She tried various options including holistic remedies. Nothing helped.

At the suggestion of her chiropractor, and after consulting with her gynecologist and her family, Anvalone underwent a breast reduction, a five-hour surgery performed by Griffith at Riverview Medical Center six months ago.

“I was pain-free immediately,” she said. “I had not been able to turn my head from left to right,” and immediately she could.

“It was life-changing.”

Some people take advantage of their time in surgery for nonemergency medical procedures. For example, when they undergo a hernia repair they may have an abdominoplasty –  a “tummy tuck” – to make the abdomen thinner and more firm.

Many plastic cosmetic surgeons offer Mommy Makeovers, touted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons as a way to “get your pre-baby body back.” Most common areas addressed are the breasts, abdomen, waist, genitalia and buttocks.

But for those who don’t want to go under the knife, there are a host of noninvasive options to reshape the body and correct its perceived flabs, flaps and flaws.

Nonsurgical and minimally invasive options for fat reduction include technology that uses heat or cooling or an injected medication to reduce fat cells. Ultrasound, radio frequency, infrared light, vacuum massage and injectable medication are all among the choices for nonsurgical fact reduction.

Cryolipolysis, a treatment that destroys fat cells by freezing, such as CoolSculpting, and Strawberry Laser lipo treatments, are other options.

“Our procedure is meant to motivate someone to go on to the path of healthier living,” said Renee Whiteman, owner of Shrink Me Center in Monmouth Beach. “Cold” lasers shine on the skin, passing into the fat tissue and stimulate the fat to “melt.”

“It’s sort of a jump-start for someone who wants to change their lifestyle,” said Whiteman. “It motivates people to go in that direction and continue to exercise.”

The procedure aims to help clients quickly and painlessly lose a few inches and requires about eight to 10 sessions. The most popular target sites – for women and men – according to Whiteman, are the waist and thighs.

As with many of these cosmetic procedures and surgeries, insurance often does not cover the costs.

Above the Neck

To help combat the effects of aging, Griffith points out that it all starts with good skin care, which can treat fine wrinkles.

“It can start from something very noninvasive, treat minor issues and be preventive and then progressively invasive, if desired,” she said.

Nonsurgical procedures such as injectables, like Botox that relax the muscle, or dermal fillers that fill in facial wrinkles restoring a smoother look, can help rejuvenate the skin.

Many of these procedures can be administered by dermatologists and dentists and other practitioners.

Griffith said looking into noninvasive options can be a good idea. “If you can achieve something noninvasive – an eye lift or brow lift and we can achieve that with Botox, if you can avoid surgery and accomplish your goals with noninvasive (procedures), that’s a prudent path to take,” she said.

“Cosmetic surgery is immediately gratifying and results are extremely enjoyable, but it’s important to remember surgery is still surgery and to take it seriously when preparing and post-operatively,” said Griffith.

Griffith suggests those contemplating it do their homework. “Once you go down the path of surgery, make sure you go with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Not every surgeon is board certified.”

Preparing for a transformation – no matter how small or complex – requires research and preparation.

“We talk a lot about perceptions – both visually and psychologically,” Griffith said. “Cosmetic surgery or procedures don’t make one’s problems go away. It might make you feel a little more youthful; maybe bring back energy and strength.”

But, she cautions, if there are social issues, it’s not going to make those go away.

This article was first published in the Apr. 5-12, 2018 print edition of the Two River Times.



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