Will tattooing cover up a scar?

I’ve written previous blog posts about what makes a scar good or bad, but I never addressed the topic of tattooing. Tattooing done to camouflage a scar is referred to as medical tattooing. This is in contrast to cosmetic tattooing, which is done to apply permanent makeup, and the tattooing of artistic designs for body modification.

Tattooing does have a role in scar camouflage, but it must be done after the scar has completely matured. Scars may be raised up and appear red or purple during the initial healing period. They then begin to settle over a period of 6-12 months, eventually becoming flat. The final scar may be lighter than the surrounding skin (hypo-pigmented) or darker than the surrounding skin (hyper-pigmented).  Hypo-pigmented scars may benefit from tattooing, which essentially adds pigment to match the surrounding skin. This should be done on un-tanned skin, so the scar is pigmented the correct color. Remember, however, that if the surrounding skin is exposed to sun, the resulting tan will make the scar more noticeable.

hyper-pigmented scar

hyper-pigmented scar

hypo-pigmented scar

hypo-pigmented scar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In contrast to a hypo-pigmented scar, a hyper-pigmented scar is darker than the surrounding skin. In this case the treatment is to remove pigment rather than adding it. This can be done with laser or broad-band light (BBL) treatments. I would recommend waiting at least a year to allow your scar to mature, and then seeing a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon to evaluate your scar. He or she can recommend the best course of treatment, and refer you to a tattoo artist with experience in scar camouflage if necessary.

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.

What is the recovery after liposuction?

As with any operation, your recovery will be unique to you. Everyone has a different pain tolerance and recovers at a different rate. That being said, the recovery from liposuction is generally very tolerable.

Image courtesy of office.com

Image courtesy of office.com

  • Pain is usually less than with an abdominoplasty, C-section, or other types of surgery that go through the muscle layer. You’ll likely have moderate pain the first one to two days after surgery, and then you’ll experience more soreness than anything. Most of my patients take narcotic pain medication for the first couple of days, and then transition over to ibuprofen or Tylenol within a few days after surgery.
  • You will have a large amount of drainage from your incisions over the first 24-48 hours. This will taper off and stop by day two after surgery. This fluid is the numbing fluid which is used to break up the fat during liposuction. It is tinged with blood, so it is usually pink or red.
  • Liposuction also causes quite a bit of swelling and bruising. The bruising fades within a couple of weeks, but you will have to wear a compression garment for up to three months after surgery to help the swelling resolve.

If you are considering having liposuction, be prepared to take from several days up to a week off work, depending on how physically active your job is. Walking and light exercise are fine after the first week, but I do recommend my patients avoid any heavy cardio (e.g. running) or weightlifting for a full month after surgery.

 

Any questions regarding liposuction? I’d love to hear them in the comments section!

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.

What is the difference between Botox and fillers?

I perform many minimally-invasive procedures to treat wrinkles in my office, and I’ve noticed that there is often a lot of confusion about exactly what the difference is between a neurotoxin such as BOTOX, and a filler such as Juvederm or Restylane. My blog post today is written with the intent of clearing up that confusion.

Confusion is understandable, as the two treatments do share many similarities. Both neurotoxins and fillers are injected in the office. Both treat wrinkles. And both are temporary, meaning the results wear off over time. But the two products actually work quite differently.

As I mentioned before, Botox is a neurotoxin. This means it is actually toxic to nerves, thereby preventing muscles from contracting in the areas where it is injected. Muscle contraction is responsible for what are called “dynamic wrinkles”, i.e. wrinkles resulting from motion. Dynamic wrinkles are commonly seen between the eyebrows, over the forehead, and around the eyes. Preventing the muscles from moving stops the wrinkle from forming. Because neurotoxins cause localized muscle paralysis, I do not like to use them around the mouth as this may result in drooling or difficulty speaking and eating.

Fillers do what their name implies: they fill volume. Volume loss in the soft tissues contributes to an aging appearance. This is partially responsible for the formation of the “smile lines” which run from the nose to the corner of the mouth, and the marionette lines which run from the corner of the mouth to the chin. Ptosis or droopiness of the overlying tissue secondary to gravity is the other main contributing factor, and this can be corrected surgically. But adding volume directly under a wrinkle can significantly soften the appearance. Unlike neurotoxins, which require several days to take effect, the results from fillers are immediate.

If you’d like to learn more, check out my previous posts on Botox and other neurotoxins as well as fillers.

Any questions? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to get back to you.

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.

My hands make me look old!

 

People often focus their attention on keeping the face looking young. But your hands can also give away your age. I’ve discussed treating sun damage to the hands, but what about if your hands are starting to look too thin, with prominent bones, tendons and veins? You may not know this, but filler can be used in not only the face, but the hands as well! Radiesse has recently been approved for use by the FDA for use in the hands. It was commonly used in the hands prior to this approval as an “off-label” use, and it is the first filler to obtain FDA approval for this use.

Radiesse is injected in the office. The entire procedure takes about 20-30 minutes. Numbing cream is placed on the hands before injection to help make the procedure more comfortable. And I think the results speak for themselves- check out the photos below!

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.

What if my family doesn’t want me to have Plastic Surgery?

Having Plastic Surgery is a big decision, and it is common for families to want to weigh in on the topic. But what do you do if your family is against you having surgery? This is actually a scenario that I see a few times a year. Before I delve in to how I help patients through this type of situation, let’s talk first about the financial aspect. Cosmetic surgery can be expensive. If your family or spouse doesn’t support your decision because they don’t think you as a family can afford it, you need to approach this like you would any big budget decision. Finances affect the entire family, so this is definitely an area where you and your spouse need to be in agreement. But if you’re single, and you are responsible for your own finances, it really doesn’t matter what other people (e.g. your grown children, friends, you parents) think. Your finances are your decision.shutterstock_325360154

With that out of the way, there are two other common objections that I see family and friends make.

  1. They worry about your health and safety. Whether you are medically a good candidate for surgery is a decision that should be made by your surgeon, possibly with input from your primary care physician. I have had family members tell me that they don’t think their mother or father is medically healthy enough to have surgery, but when I review the patient’s medical history, there is actually nothing concerning that would increase the risks of surgery. The only thing you can do here is to reassure your family that your doctor thinks you are medically healthy enough to have surgery. Seeing your family doctor for additional input may put your family’s mind at east, as this information would be coming from a trusted and known source, rather than a doctor you’ve just met.
  2. They don’t think you need surgery. This objection comes up quite frequently. And this isn’t really surprising, because it’s a value judgement. If something bothers you, that is all that is important. Now granted, people do sometimes obsess over an area of the body that actually needs minimal improvement. And this is where your surgeon’s judgement is important. If I think that I can make a visible improvement that will make a patient happier, then I recommend surgery. But if I think that no improvement is possible or that the patient won’t be happy regardless of the results, that is not a patient I offer surgery to.

To summarize, the financial aspect of surgery is a decision that should be made as a team if you are married or otherwise share finances with someone. But if finances are solely your decision, then the opinions of other family and friends don’t matter. The other aspects of the decision to have surgery are 1) whether you are medically healthy enough, and 2) whether you’ll be able to achieve the results you want. Those parts of the decision should be made in collaboration with your surgeon and your primary care physician.

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.