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Dr. Thomas Haas' Blog Archive – December 2006


31 December 2006
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¿Plastic surgery addiction?
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I was talking to a patient the other day, and I hear this frequently, something like..."ya know, doc, this plastic surgery can sure become addicting". By that she meant that once you get some cosmetic surgery, it sure makes you want to have some more.

I know what she meant, but I told her 'addicting' is the wrong word. First of all, it has such a negative meaning. Secondly, once patients realize how much better they look, how much their self-esteem is improved, and how much 'happier' they are with their new look, they then go on to another procedure. Now this can take some time...just this week, I saw patients I hadn't seen in 3-4 years, and are now ready for another procedure. Patients may start with a breast augmentation, go away for a few years, say have some children, then come back for a tummy tuck or lipo...and send their mother in for a facelift or eyelids. I really develop a deep friendship/relationship/whatever with these patients...we get to know each other quite well and it is one of the best parts of my job.

The other problem I had with the use of the 'addicting' word, was that I think the general public just does not realize they don't have to live with breasts they don't like, or a large spare tire or saddle bags, or sagging abdominal skin, a turkey gobbler neck, etc. When I show them our before/after books in the office, it's obvious that anyone would choose the after if they could.

Anyway, hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year's Eve. Remember, at least one large glass of water between shots of Jaegermeister!

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26 December 2006
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2007 is almost here!
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Saw a patient today that I did a breast augmentation on last week. She's now 8 days after surgery and on cloud-nine.

She has the typical story of wanting to do this forever and finally the time was right. Of course, cosmetic surgery, like all surgery, has risks and that is part of our consultation. She opted for the recently-released silicone implants and they already look and feel great. She's ready to go bikini and lingerie shopping today!

Patients like this are a true joy and one of the biggest satisfactions I get out of being a plastic surgeon. It put a smile on my face and the entire staff to see this young lady's happiness.

So to all you out there...2007 is right around the corner. Remember, whether it's a breast augmentation, liposuction, facelift, tummy tuck, whatever...you have to plan ahead for your work and family schedule. Spring and summer are closer than we think.

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21 December 2006
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belt lipectomy
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Yesterday I did a belt lipectomy on a gentleman who had lost over 100lbs. A 'belt lipectomy' is removal circumferentially (completely around the waist...like a belt) of excess skin and fat hanging like an apron. This is cosmetic surgery, like all the breast augmentations, liposuctions, tummy tucks, facelifts, etc that we do. The piece of skin and fat was about 4-10" wide x 44" long and 2" thick. It weighed about 10lbs...patients are always disappointed to hear how much that piece weighs, but it makes a huge difference in how they look in clothes, etc...not having to tuck in some apron of skin, etc.

We started the surgery with him on his stomach, removing the back portion first, then flipped him over while still under anesthesia, and finished the front. Finally, I removed a large 'turkey gobbler' portion of neck skin to give him a jaw-line.

Saw him this morning and he looks great. He's got two of those on-q pain pumps which help tremendously with soreness, along with a few drainage tubes for a few days. We did this operation in the hospital instead of our JCAHO-certified in-office surgery suite because of the length of the procedure....took about 4 1/2 hrs.

He's not out-of-the-woods yet but it's always good to be doing well the morning after.

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13 December 2006
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What's stopping you?
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A recent cosmetic surgery patient survey showed that there are two main reasons holding people back from having these procedures: anxiety about post-op pain, and affording the cost.

First, about the pain. There is definitely some discomfort with every surgical procedure, be it breast augmentation, liposuction, facelift, tummy tuck, whatever. However, we use the new On-q pain catheters...these act like a 'soaker-hose' of Novacaine type medicine into the surgical area. The use of these pumps decreases the soreness tremendously and cuts way down on how sore people are and how much pain medicine they need. The usual reaction we hear is that our patients expected the soreness to be way worse than it actually was. And they all agree the soreness was worth it.

Cost - most of our patients finance these procedures. We work with three finance companies, and a typical cost of a $5000 procedure (breast augmentation) is about $111/month on a 60 month loan...of course this rate will depend on your credit, etc. Finance companies - www.mlendfinancial.com, www.carecredit.com, www.surgeryloans.com.

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12 December 2006
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Cosmetic surgery gift certificates
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We occasionally get calls for gift certificates for cosmetic surgery....husbands/boyfriends want to surprise their significant other with a breast augmentation, liposuction, facelift, etc. As you can imagine, the giver better have a good idea this is something the give wants. Could have a real downside.

More common are gift certificates for things like skin treatments, microdermabrasion, Botox, Restylane...procedures that are not as invasive as surgery. We can give a lot of improvement with these methods, but not as much as a surgical procedure.

Of course we do all our surgery here at IMAAGE in our JCAHO-accredited in-office surgery suite. It's a major plus for our patients.

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07 December 2006
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rhinoplasty (nose job)
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Everyone has seen someone whose nose is crying out for a rhinoplasty...or 'nose job'. As a cosmetic surgeon, it takes a lot of will power on my part sometimes to keep my mouth shut.

Usually when I ask the patient where they got that nose, immediately they respond 'my grandmother', 'my mother's side of the family', etc...they always know which genetic line produced it.

We routinely do nose jobs in our JCAHO-accredited in-office surgery suite. Lately, we have done quite a few of these in combination with breast augmentations, liposuctions, facelift...any cosmetic surgery.

Patients can be understandably squeamish about the breaking of the nose bones, but of course they do not feel it. Even though it is common to have bruising and swelling and 'black eyes' after a nose job, it is not very sore afterward...most patients only take a few pain pills.

It is always very exciting to remove the nose splint, or cast, a few days post-op and watch the patients reaction to their new look. I usually get a big hug of thanks. And I have to ask them, what took you so long to get this done?

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02 December 2006
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Combination procedures - having multiple surgeries together.
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Most of the new patients I saw this week are interested in some combination of cosmetic surgery procedures. Over the years we've had just about every different cosmetic surgery combination you can think of.

An unusual one from a few weeks ago was a charming lady who wanted a face lift and breast augmentation. She looks great!

A more usual mix is abdominal work, such as liposuction or a tummy tuck, along with some breast work, like a breast lift and/or augmentation. This is a very common procedure (think of the effects of a few pregnancies) and I love it. You can really see the improvement as we're changing the shape and size and proportion of these two areas.

Of course we do all of this regularly in our JCAHO-accredited in-office surgery suite. Generally these procedures take about 2-4 hours, and you go home afterward. I think people recover better at home...a hospital is a great place to go when you're sick, but not for these procedures. We use a lot of the new on-q pain pumps which eliminate nearly all of the discomfort.

Doing procedures together is less expensive than separately, as there are certain fixed costs that occur with each individual procedure. The patient also then has only one recovery period. We can also help you with any financing concerns.

There are limits to what I recommend as far as how many procedures to do together. As we have seen with a lot of our large weight-loss patients, sometimes it is better to do these procedures in stages....breasts and tummy first, then go to arms, then neck/face...of course the patient and I decide that together.

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