Fixing 4 Problem Spots
When exercise doesn’t do the trick, plastic surgery is an option.
You eat right, work out—and still can’t get rid of a certain unflattering sag, pooch or patch of fat. Or maybe there’s a place where you’re flat but you’d like to be curvaceous. It’s not your fault: most likely, your body is merely acting under the influence of genetics, the effects of aging, or a major event such as pregnancy or significant weight loss. Hey, nobody’s perfect. But if these intractable bulges or other flaws cause you real distress, plastic surgery may be the answer. Martin Moskovitz, M.D., of Image Plastic Surgery in Paramus, explains the options:
The abdomen: “This is the place people work hardest on, particularly women who have had kids or people who were once obese,” says Dr. Moskovitz. “They go to the gym, get in shape, but just can’t get rid of this extra pooch and skin. If this is a concern, you really should consider traditional liposuction if it’s in an isolated area, or perhaps even a tummy tuck.”
A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a major surgery that removes excess fat and skin and tightens stretched-out muscles. “It takes two or three hours and requires a long incision in the lower abdomen that can be well hidden,” Dr. Moskovitz says. “You will need a good two weeks off from your normal routine afterward.” For some people, a mini tummy tuck, or partial abdominoplasty, is an option. Focusing only on the skin of the lower abdomen, it requires a smaller incision and involves a shorter recovery time.
The spare tire/lateral thighs: “The spare tire is an issue for men,” says Dr. Moskovitz. “It can start in the lower back and come around the side to the lower abdomen. For women, the lateral thighs are a very tough area. Once you get fat in either of these places, it is extremely hard to get rid of. Fortunately, liposuction is very effective in those areas.”
In liposuction, a small tube is used to literally vacuum fat out through a tiny incision. It is generally an outpatient procedure requiring only local anesthetic. Liposuction removes fat but does not remove excess skin; the younger the patient, the sooner the skin will regain elasticity and re-tighten over the area. For smaller areas of fat, CoolSculpting is effective, according to Dr. Moskovitz. This patented process literally freezes fat cells under the skin, causing them to die and eventually be eliminated from the body.
The upper arms: “I always tell women to exercise this area before undergoing surgery,” Dr. Moskovitz says. “You can potentially get very good results as muscles get built up and fill out the extra skin. If there is fat but minimal extra skin, carefully done liposuction is a good choice.
“If a patient has a ton of extra skin in that area, there’s no miracle—we have to cut it out,” he adds. “But this surgery, brachioplasty, does leave a significant scar in that zone.”
The flat butt : “Everybody wants a rounded, lifted butt these days,” Dr. Moskovitz says. “What I’ll do is take fat from somewhere else in the body and inject it into the buttocks.” This procedure, gluteoplasty, is sometimes called a Brazilian butt lift, though no lifting is actually done. “The other possibility is buttock implants, but I don’t like that option because there is a very high complication rate.”
Before undergoing any surgery, it is critical to do your homework: Get recommendations and tap into word-of-mouth; ask in-depth questions at the consultation; and be sure your surgeon is a board-certified plastic surgeon. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has a search tool on its website, plasticsurgery.org.