Five Things That May Hinder Recovery after Plastic Surgery

Whether you have scheduled your plastic surgery procedure or you are still in the consultation phase, it’s never too early to plan for the recovery period. Sticking to the right habits — and avoiding the wrong ones — will affect both the length and intensity of your recovery. Dr. Samuel Pearl and Dr. Alexander Ereso have compiled some helpful advice on what to do and what not to do while recovering from surgery.

Smoking

If you’re a smoker, Dr. Pearl recommends that you quit smoking at least two weeks before and two weeks after your surgery. Nicotine has an adverse effect on the body, especially after surgery because it constricts blood vessels and prevents blood flow, which may cause problems with blood clots and prevent wounds from healing adequately. In severe cases, the effect of nicotine could cause necrosis, or tissue death, which can lead to skin loss.

Not Getting Enough Rest

Your body, including your immune system, needs to be operating at its optimal level so that you can heal and recover properly. If you try to rush the recovery period by not getting enough sleep or rest, it may lead to infection of the incision sites and even more serious complications. You should plan for someone to stay with you for at least the first 48 hours so that you can have an uninterrupted period of sleep and rest. After that, and depending on which procedure you have done, a period of at least a week (and more time for procedures like tummy tuck and liposuction) without work and exercise should be planned in order for you to recuperate fully.

Hitting the Gym Too Soon

Exercising too soon after having surgery could cause a number of problems, including opened incisions and risk of bleeding. Elevating your heart rate and blood pressure with aerobic exercise and lifting weight can have these effects on the body if they are resumed too quickly. Talk to your doctor about how long you should wait before resuming both light and more rigorous exercise. With some procedures, like tummy tuck surgery, you may have to wait six to eight weeks, whereas with other procedures like facelift surgery, patients can often return to exercise after two weeks.

Failing to Follow Up with Your Doctor

It is important that you return to your doctor within the first week after surgery so that they can exam you and see that your body is healing properly. During your consultation with Dr. Pearl or Dr. Ereso, they can map out a schedule for both your procedure and your follow-up appointments. Skipping these follow-up appointments is not advised, because if there are complications from surgery, they should be taken care of right away. If at any point during your recovery you have an unusual amount of pain, swelling or other effects, you should call your doctor immediately.

Not Protecting Your Skin

While it’s a good habit to get into anyway, wearing sunscreen — even on overcast days —is particularly helpful to the healing of your incision areas after plastic surgery. A sunblock with an SPF of at least 30 should be used, especially on exposed incisions, when you plan on being outdoors. Sun exposure can hinder the healing process and change the pigmentation of the skin on your incisions so that scars may become permanently darker in appearance.

Do you have more questions about the recovery period for a specific plastic surgery procedure? Learn more recovery tips in a private consultation with Dr. Pearl or Dr. Ereso. Schedule one today by calling Pearl – Ereso Plastic Surgery Center at (650) 964-6600.

The Dangers of Medical Tourism

“Medical tourism” describes traveling abroad for medical care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that nearly 750,000 Americans travel to another country annually for medical care. This is especially popular in plastic surgery circles, as patients choose to combine an international vacation with cosmetic enhancement. Also, plastic surgery is often advertised at cheaper prices in other countries.

However, medical tourism is dangerous and, in some cases, even deadly. Here, Drs. Samuel Pearl and Alexander Ereso explain why you should avoid traveling abroad for plastic surgery.

Communication Hurdles Are Problematic

Traveling to a country where you don’t speak the language fluently is a problem, especially when receiving medical care. If you do not understand your physician’s pre- or post-operative instructions, or you develop an inexplicable complication, the misunderstanding can be fatal.

The Standard of Care Is Different

Other countries do not have the stringent medical standards that we enjoy in the United States. Facilities may be disorganized or dirty, medications may be counterfeit and doctors may not follow hygienic practices.

Plastic surgeons in other countries are not subject to the standards that American doctors are. They may not have the training or skill set necessary to perform complex plastic or reconstructive surgery operations.

In the worst-case scenario that your surgeon is negligent or something goes awry during your procedure, you probably won’t have solid grounds for legal recourse, either. You don’t have any laws protecting you or mandating the training and qualifications of foreign plastic surgeons.

Little Time/Energy for Tourism

Many people want to combine normal tourist activities with their operation, but recovering from a surgical procedure is challenging. You will feel groggy for the first day or so after surgery, and your range of motion will be severely limited. You will probably be confined to your bed or couch as your body heals. This leaves you little to no opportunities to explore your surroundings and soak up the local culture. And, even if you can walk around, you can’t participate in any physical activities (e.g., swimming, hiking). By the time you have enough energy to explore, it’s time to fly home!

Affordable and safe plastic surgery is available much closer to home. Dr. Pearl and Ereso are plastic surgeons who practice in Mountain View, Calif., and serve all surrounding areas. To schedule a consultation with the doctors and discuss your options, please call (650) 964-6600 today.

Why Does Board Certification Matter?

When selecting a plastic surgeon, board certification is a non-negotiable. Working with a board certified plastic surgeon ensures a certain standard of education, knowledge, experience and skill.

You must look for a plastic surgeon that is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), or board-eligible. This is the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties to govern plastic surgeons.

The distinction is critical because some doctors call themselves “plastic surgeons” or “cosmetic surgeons,” but aren’t actually certified by the ABPS. A board certified dermatologist or OB-GYN could market themselves as a cosmetic surgeon in order to cast a wider net for potential patients. This happens more often than you would think, and can lead to botched or even deadly outcomes.

Plastic surgeons voluntarily meet certain standards to earn their board certification. In this post, Dr. Samuel Pearland Dr. Alexander Ereso explain what this credential ensures.

The plastic surgeon is educated.

To become board certified, a plastic surgeon must have an undergraduate degree and a medical degree (MD) or osteopathy degree (DO) from an accredited university.

The plastic surgeon is trained.

The surgeon must complete six years of surgical training after medical school before becoming eligible for board certification. A minimum of three of those years must be dedicated to plastic surgery residency training. This training covers a wide range of procedures for the face and body. It also teaches the plastic surgeon to prevent and handle emergencies.

In addition to developing technical skills during their training, plastic surgeons refine their aesthetic judgement. Attention to detail and form is important, as plastic surgery requires a deep understanding of balance and proportion.

The plastic surgeon is knowledgeable.

A board certified plastic surgeon must pass rigorous written (and sometimes oral) examination to test their knowledge of the specialty. They must keep up to date on industry best practices and the latest advances within the specialty.

The plastic surgeon adheres to high professional standards.

Board certified plastic surgeons must adhere to strict safety and ethics standards. They must be licensed by the state(s) in which they work, and operate in accredited, state-licensed or Medicare-certified facilities. They must follow a strict code of ethics set forth by the medical board.

If you would like to schedule an informational consultation with Dr. Pearl or Dr. Ereso to discuss your plastic surgery options, please call our practice at (650) 964-6600 today.

Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Plastic Surgery

Preparing for plastic surgery can be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. You feel excited for the outcome, but nervous about what to expect (especially if you are a first-time patient). The best thing you can do to ease your nerves is prepare ahead of time.

To ensure a favorable outcome, Drs. Samuel Pearl and Alexander Ereso suggest the top five ways to prepare for your plastic surgery, so you go into the experience feeling calm and confident.

1. Stop Smoking

It is critical to stop smoking at least three weeks prior to and following surgery. Smoking is dangerous; it not only floods your body with toxic chemicals but also constricts the blood vessels and prevents them from delivering blood to the healing tissues. If you smoke, you put yourself at risk of post-operative complications, namely poor wound healing. In the same vein, stop drinking three weeks before surgery, too. Alcohol raises the risk of bleeding and other complications.

2. Get the Right Nutrition and Sleep

Strive for the healthiest lifestyle possible in the weeks leading up to surgery. Eating and sleeping well are important to boost your immune system, heart and brain health. The right diet can also help with your healing process.

Load up on lean protein, vegetables and fruit, while avoiding foods that are overly processed and high in fat, sugar and sodium (sodium can increase post-operative swelling and discomfort). Get as much restful sleep as you can. Hydration is also important before and after surgery. Drinking a lot of water is great for healthy circulation and flushing out toxins from the body.

3. Plan for Recovery

Your plastic surgery procedure will likely be performed on an outpatient basis, meaning you will be released from the surgical center the same day as the operation. Initially, you will feel groggy and your range of motion will be limited. Make all arrangements ahead of time so you can return home and immediately go back to sleep or resting comfortably.

Stock your fridge with healthy, easy-to-digest foods, and fill any prescriptions. Cover your car, bed or couch with plastic sheeting if you are worried about fluid drainage. Place ice packs, medications, water, gauze, portable electronic devices and any other needed items in an easy-to-reach location near your bed or couch. Make sure you have loose, comfortable clothing nearby. As you set up your recovery area, keep in mind that you may need to sleep in an upright position (if you undergo facial surgery); extra cushions are helpful.

4. Stop All Medications That May Thin Your Blood and Cause Bleeding

Reducing complications after surgery is of the utmost importance. Bleeding in the first 24 hours after surgery is probably the most common of all serious complications seen in the immediate post-operative period.

For two weeks PRIOR to surgery, please stop taking all anti-inflammatory medications. This includes aspirin (including baby aspirin) and all aspirin-containing compounds, ibuprofen (Advil, Nuprin, Motrin and others), Naprosyn (Aleve) and all NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications). It is also important to stop taking Vitamin E supplements (400 or greater units per day). Most multivitamins have 30-90 units, which is fine. Omega 3 and fish oil supplements should also be stopped two weeks prior to surgery. There are many other supplements that increase the likelihood of bleeding. If you are unsure whether you should continue to take these medications, either stop or call the office for more information.

5. Wash with Chlorhexidine (Hibiclens) Prior To Your Procedure

We have been having our patients wash with Hibiclens three times prior to surgery for more than 20 years. This is the same antibacterial scrub that we use in the operating room. Washing the operative area with Chlorhexidine, which is the generic form of Hibiclens, decreases the bacteria count of the skin. This has been shown to significantly decrease the incidence of post-operative wound infections. Chlorhexidine scrub is an over-the-counter medication not requiring a prescription, and can be found in most pharmacies.

If you would like more information about plastic surgery recovery, or if you would like to schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Pearl or Dr. Ereso, please contact our practice by calling (650) 964-6600 today.

Treat Yourself to Cosmetic Enhancement with Your Tax Return

According to CNN, nearly eight out of 10 federal taxpayers are entitled to a cash refund. As of February 2015 (one month into this year’s tax filing season), federal tax returns were averaging $3,120.

If you’re entitled to a refund, how do you plan to spend it? You could pay down debt, or cushion your savings account. If you’re already in good financial standing, you could opt to spend your tax refund on a more personal matter such as rejuvenating your appearance.

You wouldn’t be the only one to do so — according to the popular forum RealSelf.com, 29 percent of the site’s users plan to put at least a portion of their tax return toward a cosmetic procedure.

If you do decide to invest some or all of your tax return into cosmetic enhancement with plastic surgery, Drs. Samuel Pearl and Alexander Ereso invite you to consider their services. Even a minor, non-invasive treatment can help you look and feel your best. Here, the surgeons share ideas:

Correct Skin Imperfections with SilkPeel Dermalinfusion

SilkPeel dermalinfusion is ideal for treating a wide array of noticeable skin flaws, including hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin texture and acne scars. Treatment is similar to microdermabrasion in that it gently sloughs away the upper layers of dead skin cells to reveal fresh, radiant skin underneath. Unlike microdermabrasion, SilkPeel does not use harsh abrasive particles, so treatment is gentle and comfortable.

Add Youthful Cheek Volume with Voluma Treatment

One of the most exciting dermal fillers available at our practice is Juvederm Voluma XC. This is the first and only FDA-approved filler intended to plump and lift the cheek area for a more youthful-looking face. Voluma XC can be injected into the apex, apples or hollows of the cheek to restore volume and correct areas that look sunken-in. Treatment is quick and convenient, and does not require downtime. Results can last up to two years.

Sculpt Body Contours with SAFELipo

If you feel like you’re always dieting and exercising, yet cannot achieve your desired fat reduction results, Drs. Pearl and Ereso want to introduce you to the SAFELipo procedure. The innovative liposuction procedure can remove excess fat from the thighs, knees, waist, upper arms and neck. The special SAFELipo technique enables our surgeons to produce results that look smoother and more natural than traditional liposuction treatment.

Add Cleavage with Autologous Fat Transfer

Do you want bigger, fuller breasts and softer-looking cleavage without implants? Drs. Pearl and Ereso recommend the fat transfer, or fat grafting process, which involves harvesting donor fat from another area of the body (e.g., the abdomen, back or thighs) and injecting the fat into the breasts to add volume and shape. Fat transfer is a less invasive alternative to breast implant placement, and produces a more natural looking and feeling breast.

Learn More about Your Cosmetic Treatment Options

For more information about these cosmetic treatments, or another procedure of your choosing, please contact the plastic surgery practice of Dr. Samuel Pearl and Alexander Ereso. Call (650) 964-6600 today.

Introducing the Liposuction S.A.F.E. Technique

Are you frustrated because you consistently make healthy diet and exercise decisions, yet you aren’t seeing the fat reduction results you desire?

Unfortunately, some problem areas of the body simply won’t respond to lifestyle efforts. It might be time to explore a surgical alternative with liposuction. Traditional liposuction is generally a safe procedure, but it has its limitations. Dr. Samuel Pearlhas discovered an advanced liposuction system that improves upon traditional liposuction and provides smoother, more natural-looking body contouring results. Dr. Pearl is pleased to offer SAFELipo to his Mountain View liposuction patients.

More about SAFELipo

S.A.F.E. Liposuction is a technique developed by Dr. Simeon Wall from Shreveport, La., and has truly improved Dr. Pearl’s results. S.A.F.E. stands for Separation, Aspiration and Fatty Equilibration!

SAFELipo can be used to remove excess fat around the thighs, knees, waist, upper arms and neck. It can also be combined with another body contouring procedure, such as abdominoplasty or breast enhancement surgery.

Treatment Steps

First, Dr. Pearl will use special power-assisted liposuction probes to carefully loosen the targeted fat and separate the cells from each other and the supporting framework, without damaging the delicate surrounding structures. No suctioning is used during this portion of the procedure and no fat is removed. SAFELipo does not use thermal energy, which means that there is no risk of any heat damage.

Then, Dr. Pearl will use gentle suction to remove the fat cells from the body. Because the targeted fat has already been separated from the surrounding structures in the previous stage, Dr. Pearl is usually able to remove the fat with less effort. The approach is less traumatic than traditional liposuction and reduces post-operative bruising, swelling and internal scarring.

The final, crucial step of the SAFELipo procedure is what differentiates it from other liposuction approaches. Dr. Pearl will treat the remaining thin layer of subcutaneous fat that remains in the body and is essential for smooth, natural-looking results. He will use special probes to equalize this fat, therefore preventing the skin from adhering to the underlying muscle layer. This helps to prevent contour irregularities (e.g., lumps, divots, “wavy” skin) that can compromise the cosmetic effects of traditional liposuction treatment.

Schedule a SAFELipo Consultation

If you would like more information about SAFELipo, please contact Dr. Pearl at our Mountain View plastic surgery practice. Call (650) 964-6600 or send us an email at pearlmd@pearlmd.com.

Fat Grafting for Buttock Augmentation

Full breasts and toned tummies have always been attention-grabbing body parts, but in the past few years, another area of the body has garnered plenty of attention: the buttocks.

If you desire a shapely buttocks, but were not born with a lot of natural volume in your backside, there is a procedure designed specifically for your needs — and it offers some incredible benefits!

The Brazilian Butt Lift uses fat grafting, a technique that involves transplanting surplus fat from another area of the body (e.g., thighs, abdomen) and injecting it into the buttocks to add shape and volume.

Brazilian Butt Lift is quickly growing in popularity. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the procedure saw a 16 percent increase last year. What’s more: the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery claims it is the fastest-growing procedure in the country. This year’s statistics will almost certainly show the trend continuing.

Brazilian Butt Lift is available at the Mountain View plastic surgery practice of Dr. Samuel Pearl. Dr. Pearl is always on the lookout for the latest, greatest and safest procedures and techniques, and is happy to incorporate the revolutionary butt lift procedure into his repertoire.

More about the Procedure

Brazilian Butt Lift is a two-part procedure. First, Dr. Pearl uses liposuction techniques to remove excess unwanted fat from the donor area of the body. This could be the abdomen, hips, lower back or thighs. Then, he purifies the fat and prepares it for re-injection. Finally, he injects the fat into the buttocks, with a focus on enhancing the upper quadrant of the behind to give it a “lifted” appearance. A multiple pass technique is used injecting small amounts of fat with each pass of the syringe into the soft tissues of the buttock. This increases the “take” or the survival of the fat injected.

If you are very thin and do not have enough donor fat to use, Dr. Pearl may advise you to gain weight. Or, he may explore your alternatives to fat injections.

Why You Will Love the Brazilian Butt Lift

There are several advantages of Brazilian Butt Lift over traditional buttock augmentation with an artificial implant. First, since the BBL uses your own fat, there is reduced risk of infection or adverse reaction. (With traditional buttock augmentation, placing a foreign implant device can run the risk of complications.)

Another advantage to using your own fat? It produces a much more natural result, which is important to many of Dr. Pearl’s patients who want to avoid an over-exaggerated or “cartoonish” look.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of Brazilian Butt Lift is that the donor area of the body receives liposuction to look slimmer. By redistributing the fat, Dr. Pearl simultaneously enhances the shape of the buttocks, hips and thighs. Suctioning the fatty tissues of the lower back, flanks and the superior most part of the buttocks with special attention to detail, is essential to obtain the best appearance and provide a comprehensive body sculpting result!

Schedule an Informational Consultation

Dr. Pearl would be happy to tell you more about buttock augmentation with fat grafting. Please contact our office to schedule a personal consultation with him. Call (650) 964-6600 or send us an email at pearlmd@pearlmd.com.

The Non-Surgical Shoelace Breast Cast Technique

In the July 2014 issue of Aesthetic Surgery Journal (ASJ), Dr. Daniel Mills and Dr. Alexander Ereso describe an innovative technique that nonsurgically treats breast asymmetry and double bubble-deformities that may appear after implant-based breast augmentation in the early post-operative period. Previously, the only methods that could fix these types of problems involved undergoing revision surgery, which is not without its risks, including the risks of surgery and anesthesia. Furthermore, revision surgery may involve further financial costs to patients. The Shoelace Breast Cast is a technique that effectively treats the asymmetry while eliminating those factors that accompany revision surgery. When worn continuously, the shoelaces act as an external breast cast that allows the inframammary fold to be set and heal in the correct position.

The technique utilizes the placement of shoelaces around the breast in a manner that acts as a “cast” to allow the inframammary fold of the breast to heal in the correct position. Two wide-bodied, flat shoelaces are tied together and then wrapped around the neck, under the breast, around the back, and then tied together and worn for a prescribed length of time. The shoelaces effectively create a new inframammary fold in the location on the chest that will yield symmetry with the opposite breast. The shoelace breast cast, if placed and worn properly, has been shown to be a cheap and effective technique that solves a significant potential complication. Furthermore, the technique can be utilized to raise the inframammary fold on both breasts if the implants are considered to be placed too low. Based on almost 20 years of results, the shoelace breast cast has a success rate above 90%, meaning the vast majority of patients can have their asymmetry or double-bubble deformity corrected without the need for undergoing revision surgery.

About Alexander Ereso, MD

Dr. Ereso graduated from the University of California at Berkeley before earning his medical degree from Meharry Medical College, School of Medicine. He then completed a full residency in general surgery at UCSF-East Bay followed by a residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery at Wayne State University. Dr. Ereso received further subspecialty training completing a fellowship in reconstructive microvascular surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and an aesthetic surgery fellowship with Dr. Daniel Mills in Laguna Beach, CA. Dr. Ereso is available for interview upon request.

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