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A Beginner’s Guide to Plastic Surgery

: Dr. Cash, Houston plastic surgeon, shares a glossary of terms, including mommy makeover and breast augmentation¬.

Lift, tuck, enhancement …

While these words are common in our daily conversations, they can take on a whole new meaning when it comes to plastic surgery. One of my goals as a plastic surgeon is to make sure my patients are as educated and informed as possible about the treatments they seek. For example, if you’re considering a mommy makeover in Houston, I hope to educate you about each part of the procedure, from consultation, to surgery, to life after recovery. I understand there are lot of terms to know, so for quick reference, I’ve created this glossary of the treatments you want to learn more about.

  • Arm lift: An arm lift, or brachioplasty, involves the removal of fat and extra skin in the upper arm. It can be combined with liposuction to remove unwanted fat.
  • Board certified: In plastic surgery, doctors bearing the label “board certified” have been certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. Double board-certified plastic surgeons are certified by an additional board, such as the American Board of Surgery. Plastic surgeons who are board certified must pass a series of reviews and exams by the certifying board, proving their enhanced level of training and skill. Any cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures you receive should be performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon.
  • Body lift: Body lifts are often performed on patients who have lost significant amounts of weight and seek treatment for the extra, loose skin that has been left behind. The procedure lifts and removes excess or sagging skin in the midsection and lower body.
  • BOTOX® Cosmetic: This injectable liquid solution is made with botulinum toxin type A. When injected, BOTOX inhibits movement of muscles that cause wrinkles and fine lines between the eyebrows, across the forehead, and at the corners of the eyes (crow’s feet). Dysport® is an alternative treatment that offers similar results.
  • Breast augmentation: Breast augmentation uses breast implants to increase the volume and adjust the shape of breast tissue. This procedure can help women achieve the fuller breasts they’ve always wanted or reverse volume loss caused by aging, weight loss, or pregnancy.
  • Breast lift: Breast lift surgery, technically called mastopexy, lifts the breast tissue and nipples to a higher position on the chest and removes extra sagging skin, common with aging. It is often combined with breast implants to restore volume in the breast tissue.
  • Breast reconstruction: Patients who have undergone a mastectomy for cancer treatment or prevention may receive breast reconstruction to restore their contours. The procedure involves rebuilding a natural-looking breast mound using either breast implants or tissues taken from elsewhere in the body.
  • Breast reduction: This procedure removes extra tissue to reduce breast size. Most patients who choose this procedure have overly large breasts that cause them chronic back and shoulder pain, and the treatment makes a big difference in their quality of life. It may be combined with a breast lift (mastopexy) for enhanced results.
  • Brow lift: This procedure lifts the muscles and skin around the eyebrow area. Brow lift surgery is often appropriate for people who feel they look tired or angry due to their sagging brows. The procedure is performed endoscopically, meaning there are only tiny incisions hidden within the hairline.
  • Dermal fillers: Dermal fillers are made of a gel material and injected into various areas of the face, such as under-eye hollows or cheeks, to add or restore volume and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Eyelid surgery: Also called blepharoplasty, this treatment removes extra skin and fat pads from the upper or lower eyelids. It helps reduce sagging eyelids or treat the bags that may develop under the eyes and cause a patient to look tired.
  • Facelift: This surgical procedure repositions the muscles and skin of the lower face to create a refreshed, more youthful appearance. A facelift also often includes a neck lift, and younger patients with minimal to moderate signs of aging may be candidates for a mini facelift with shorter scars. These options all address the lower two-thirds of the face, including the cheeks and jowls.
  • Gummy bear implants: These silicone gel breast implants come in round and shaped forms, as well as a variety of sizes. Many patients believe these types of implants best mimic the feeling and appearance of natural breast tissue.
  • Liposuction: During this body contouring procedure, cannulas (thin tubes) are used to break up unwanted fat cells and remove them. Liposuction can be performed on various parts of the body, including the hips, thighs, buttocks, back (or bra line), and arms, to create more smooth, toned contours.
  • Mommy makeover: A mommy makeover combines multiple procedures into one designed to reverse the effects of pregnancy, nursing, and aging. It may include a tummy tuck, liposuction, or breast augmentation, lift, or reduction, among other options. The goal is to reduce unwanted areas of fat, smooth contours, and enhance the breasts for a restorative full-body procedure.

The before-and-after image below is an example of a mommy makeover, where I performed both a tummy tuck and a bilateral breast lift to tone and contour her lower abdomen and lift her breasts to a higher position on her chest. Click on the image to read her patient story.

View the results of this mommy makeover procedure at our Houston practice.

  • Natrelle™ 410 implant: This popular type of breast implant made by Allergan is comprised of cohesive silicone gel filling to feel similar to natural breast tissue. Many shaped breast implants are this type of implant.
  • Neck lift: This procedure lifts and tightens loose, sagging skin around the neck, which may occur after weight loss or aging. Although a neck lift can be performed on its own, it is most commonly done in conjunction with a facelift.
  • Secondary or revision breast augmentation: Revisionary procedures are common after pregnancy, a dramatic loss or increase in weight, or just the common symptoms of aging. Sometimes aesthetic preferences change. Sometimes a patient is dissatisfied with the results of a previous breast augmentation. Additionally, breast implants do not last forever, with the common “lifespan” being about 10 to 15 years. In revision breast augmentation, implants can be replaced and other aesthetic adjustments made.
  • Teardrop or anatomic breast implants: These types of breast implants are shaped to mimic the appearance of real breast tissue, with more volume at the bottom. They may create more natural-looking results than round implants.
  • ThermiRF™: This nonsurgical, noninvasive system uses radiofrequency energy waves to treat a variety of symptoms. It can be used on the skin and body to tighten and tone tissues, as well as boost the production of collagen. ThermiVa™, one of the treatments available through the ThermiRF system, can be used in and around the vaginal area to tighten skin, manage incontinence, increase sexual pleasure, and more.
  • Tummy tuck: This surgical procedure, also called abdominoplasty, reduces loose skin, excess fat, and stretched muscles in the lower abdomen that may be difficult to treat with diet and exercise. It restores contours after pregnancy, weight loss, or simply the aging process.

I hope you’ve found this guide to be a short, sweet way to reference some of the common plastic surgery terms you’ll find throughout my website and other resources you use. You can learn more about the treatments I specialize in throughout my blog. Click here to see the latest posts and explore.

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