Plastic surgery is a surgical sub-specialty that deals with the healing and restoration of patients with injury, disfigurement or scarring resulting from trauma, disease or congenital defects. It includes aesthetic, or cosmetic surgery to correct or rejuvenate facial and bodily features not pleasing to the patient. Derived from Greek, the word plastic means molding or giving form and does not refer to the use of plastic materials.
How does a physician become a plastic surgeon?
Training to become a plastic surgeon is a difficult task. To become board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery a physician must complete a specialized post-graduate training course of five to seven years. Background training usually includes a thorough grounding in general surgery however, a background in ENT or orthopedics may be acceptable. The final two to three years of training must be in an approved plastic surgery training center. Prior to official certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery the physician must pass a rigorous set of both written and oral examinations. While numerous physicians use the term "plastic" surgeons only those certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery are true plastic surgeons.
Does certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery ensure that a patient will get a perfect result from an operation?
No. Healing of operated tissue is affected by several factors, and some of these are beyond the control of the surgeon. As in any other type of medicine, no guarantee of perfection or even a good result can be given. By making sure to do your homework before choosing a plastic surgeon, you can check out a surgeon's training, skill, and experience to better ensure your safety and desired results. Board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery means that the surgeon has completed the rigorous requirements for full time practice as a specialist in plastic surgery.
What questions should I ask before choosing a plastic surgeon to make sure he/she is qualified to operate on me?
Bringing a checklist of questions can help ensure the safety and quality of your procedure. Questions to ask are:
Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
This is important. Only the ABPS is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties to certify doctors in the area of plastic surgery. Dr. Slywka is a career-long member.
Do you have hospital access to perform this surgery?
Most surgical procedures can be performed in our private surgical suite which is fully accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities. Such accreditation means our facility has met strict requirements and denotes a high standard of care
How many procedures of this type have you performed?
Dr. Slywka has performed over 10,000 plastic surgical procedures. The numbers for a specific procedure will be provided upon request.
What are the risks involved with the procedure?
There are risks with any surgical procedure. These will be outlined for you in our pre-operative consultation.
What is the expected recovery time?
This depends on the specific surgical procedure. Generally, 6 months is considered usual for complete recovery in most procedures.
What is your policy on surgical revisions?
Some cases may require revisions to achieve the desired results. These will be outlined for you in our pre-operative consultation.
How much will the surgery cost?
Cosmetic surgery is not covered by insurance, and payment usually is required in advance. Costs include the surgeon's fee and fees for the surgical facility and anesthesia. Other possible costs are the preoperative physical and blood work, medications, surgical garments and private-duty nursing.
What is aesthetic (cosmetic) surgery?
Aesthetic surgery, also known as cosmetic surgery, seeks to improve an individuals appearance. These type of operations most often involve the face, forehead, eyelids, breasts, abdomen, hips and thighs.
Is a plastic surgeon a skin specialist?
Dermatologists specialize in skin, but the plastic surgeon has an equally important role of the treatment of benign and malignant tumors of the skin. The skills of a plastic surgeon are especially needed when large areas of the skin must be removed and replaced especially where disfigurement may result or when these areas are in conspicuous areas such as the face. Plastic surgeons also perform skin resurfacing techniques, for cosmetic purposes, in order to achieve healthier looking skin by reducing facial wrinkling and pigmentary changes of the skin.
Will I have a scar after plastic surgery?
Scarring is inevitable of healing, however a very fine lined scar placed in the correct orientation may be virtually invisible. A plastic surgeon spends years trying to master techniques to place scars in the most desirable location. Plastic surgeons will try to make incisions in areas that will not show, like under undergarments or along natural creases. Scars will normally fade over time, but certain areas of the body such as the back and chest, produce more severe scarring regardless of the technique used for reconstruction and closure. The severity of the scarring varies from person to person.
What aesthetic surgical procedures are performed to improve the aging face?
There are various degrees and stages of facial aging that can be caused by the natural aging process, heredity, and lifestyle choices. Plastic surgeons have undergone training to address all areas of facial rejuvenation. A face lift tightens and lifts the redundant skin in the face and neck. Additional procedures are available to improve the aesthetics of the forehead, eyes, mouth, chin and neck. Minimally invasive endoscopic techniques are also available. Fine wrinkles of the face may be best treated by skin resurfacing techniques, like laser resurfacing, chemical peels or other skin care treatments.
How is a face lift done?
During a face lift incisions are made in the hair line, temple region extending down in front of the ear and then around the back of the ear into the hairline. These incisions vary depending on the technique used by your plastic surgeon. Many plastic surgeons are well trained in more than one face lift technique. The skin of the face and neck is dissected into the cheeks and neck allowing it to be mobilized upward producing a tightening and smoothing result. Many plastic surgeons can now also tighten the muscular layers underneath the skin as well during a face lift procedure. Years of specialized training are necessary to safely perform this procedure. The results can be subtle or drastic depending on the condition of the facial area prior to the surgery and the desired results.
Does a face lift leave scars?
Yes, but as with other scars plastic surgeons have been trained to place them in areas that are very inconspicuous. Your plastic surgeon will be able to show you exactly where your scars will be following your surgery. Normally your hair will cover up most of the scars and makeup can touch up any leftover marks.
How is excessive wrinkling and bagginess of the eyelids corrected?
Eyelid surgery can correct this condition. Excessive skin and fat may be removed from both upper and lower eyelid. Tightening of the lower lid may also be done in concurrence with this procedure. Three to Four weeks of bruising and swelling is expected from this procedure. Eyelid surgery may be done in combination with or separate from face lifts or other types of aesthetic surgeries of the face such as brow lifts to better proportion your facial features.
What surgery can improve the appearance of breasts?
Three common procedures are performed: breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reduction.
Augmentation mammaplasty is a procedure that can safely enlarge a small breast or increase an undesired size. Different techniques are used, but in general this is performed using a saline breast implant, after the FDA ruled silicone unsafe in 1992. Implants may be placed in different positions depending on the physical make-up of the patient and her breasts. The implant may be introduced through three different incisions: below the breast, around the nipple areolar complex, or in axilla (arm pit).
A breast lift is used when the patient is happy with the size of her breasts however due to aging and pregnancy the breast gland has begun to droop. Various techniques are employed to accomplish a breast lift and results are generally excellent.
Breast reduction is designed to make overly large breasts smaller. Patients seeking this type of surgery often have multiple severe physical symptoms secondary to their large breasts including neck, shoulder, back pain, paresthesia of the arms and bra strap grooving of the shoulders. The technique of breast reduction requires lengthy incisions; however, they may be placed in inconspicuous locations such as the fold underneath the breast. Typical symptoms of back pain, neck pain etc. are almost always improved after a breast reduction if not completely eliminated. This procedure is often covered by insurance.
Am I a good candidate for liposuction?
Liposuction is not used for weight loss, rather to correct problem areas or fat bulges. A candidate will be close to their ideal weight because a liposuction is typically performed in patients that have an area of fat they find hard to lose. The fat removed does not weight a lot, so patients should expect a shape change, not a weight change.
Do the results of liposuction last?
As long as the patient maintains a healthy life-style, including exercise and a sensible diet, liposuction results are long lasting. Once the fat cells have been removed from an area there is no longer a preferential fat storage area and any fat gain will be distributed more evenly over the rest of the body.
What areas of the body can be treated with liposuction?
Most body areas can be treated with liposuction, though the most common areas in females are the abdomen, hips, and thighs. Men are often treated for liposuction in the breasts, hips, and abdomen. Liposuction is not limited to these areas, though other places may include the upper arms, under the chin and the buttocks.
Does liposuction leave scars?
Incisions made during liposuction are generally very small and put in areas that are more inconspicuous. Most cases of liposuction will heal well and it will be difficult to see where they were originally made.