cosmetic surgery preparation

What are the risks of smoking before and after plastic surgery?

It is well known that smoking is bad for your health and can have many negative implications on the body, both in the short, medium and longer term.

For people who are considering any form of cosmetic surgery, smoking is something that is likely to impact their surgical suitability evaluation because smoking affects how the body is able to recover from an operation and how quick the recovery is likely to be. If you are a smoker and you are considering cosmetic surgery you should be prepared for the fact that your surgeon will recommend that you stop smoking before, during and after your operation. If this is not possible you should at least make every effort to cut down as much as possible.

Advice backed by science

Due to the high proportion of data that exists which enables us to compare and contrast smokers vs non-smokers, there is a lot of knowledge about how smoking affects the body’s ability to heal. Smoking reduces the blood flow which has a direct impact on how wounds are able to heal. Blood carries critical oxygen molecules to different areas of the body and when smoking reduces the flow of blood, the result is that wounds take longer to heal and have a greater likelihood of being becoming infected.

Smoking also damages the body’s immune system meaning that smokers have a greater risk of developing an infection or becoming unwell in the period following the surgery.

Patients who smoke also have a heightened risk that scars will remain more visible once the surgery has been completed. The oxygen contained within the blood is also a key component in helping scars heal. In the same way that the reduced oxygen affects the initial wound healing it also affects the ability for scar tissue to form, meaning that scars can often be more significant and more visible in smokers vs non-smokers.

Interestingly even passive smoking can affect how well patients heal from surgery so if you live with a smoker and are considering cosmetic surgery you may wish to limit your exposure to breathing in their second-hand smoke as it will also be having a negative effect on your body.

In recent research published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, “smokers are more likely than non-smokers to have complications after undergoing cosmetic surgery on the body, versus the face or breasts.” These findings have come from a massive study, looking at data from 129,007 cosmetic surgery patients but recovering from any cosmetic surgery procedure can be compromised if you’re a smoker.

Cosmetic surgery preparation

The best advice is to begin cutting down as soon as you can. If you are thinking of booking a cosmetic surgery consultation, then making a concerted effort to reduce your cigarette intake now will mean you are giving your body the best chance of a full and effective recovery. Mr Alan Park also explains that this also covers all nicotine products, whether vapes, chewing gum or patches that contain nicotine. For more information, call 01926 436341 to arrange a consultation.

exercise after a breast enhancement

When can I exercise after a breast enhancement?

If you have invested financially and emotionally in a breast enhancement, then it is natural that you would want to do everything you can to ensure that the results remain as good as possible for as long as possible. Many patients ask us how soon they can get back into regular exercising following a breast augmentation, so this helpful guide aims to help give a steer for what is achievable and how soon after.

The first few days after a breast enhancement

In the first week, it is recommended that you take things very gently. You may wish to do some very gentle walks as it’s also a good idea to get moving, but the key to week one is to keep it low intensity. Do not be tempted to do any core or upper body exercises and refrain from high impact training as well.

In the second week following surgery, you can build on what you have begun to do in week one by adding some gentle leg exercises such as extending and stretching the legs. It is still very early days in terms of recovery, so it is still important to refrain from core and upper body exercises and it is still too early for high-intensity training.

Everybody heals at a different rate but at some point between the third and fourth week following surgery you should be able to add some lunges or slightly more vigorous leg stretches to your routine. You may also feel comfortable using light or small weights to reintroduce exercise to your arms shoulders and upper body area, but it is still very important not to overdo it and to refrain from exercising the core muscles.

Over a month post operatively…

Somewhere between five to eight weeks after the operation you may feel ready to do a gentle jog or incorporate some exercises such as squats or lunges. You may feel ready for some slightly more enthusiastic arm exercises as well. If you are exercising at a gym or with a class, it is advisable to speak to a trainer to ensure that you are not pushing yourself too far too soon. Even at this stage, it is important to refrain from any work that targets the chest muscles and do not be tempted to try more intensive upper body exercises such as pull-ups.

Around about the nine to ten-week mark, many people will have healed sufficiently that they can begin to weave in some high-intensity exercises such as sprinting, using a skipping rope and more vigorous workout techniques. The most important thing at this stage is to listen to your body. If you feel that it is too soon then be patient and wait until you feel physically ready.

Any form of regular exercise is good for you, however gentle it feels.  If in doubt about the suitability of your chosen exercises, it is best to opt for something on the gentler side rather than risk pushing yourself too far too soon at this important phase of the healing process.

After any cosmetic surgery procedure, Mr Alan Park will provide you with comprehensive aftercare instructions and his team can always be contacted if you have any concerns in the post-surgery period. Call 01926 436341 for more cosmetic surgery aftercare advice.

tummy tuck expectations

What can a tummy tuck do and not do?

There are many of us who are not satisfied with the look of their abdomen – sometimes this is a result of factors that we can have some control over, and sometimes this is just the way we were born. Pregnancy and significant weight gain/loss can all have an impact on how firm and smooth the midriff is. Additionally, for some of us, the presence of more weight and softer, less supple skin around the optimum is purely down to genetics. Some people’s figures lend themselves to a leaner abdomen while others are not so fortunate and struggle to tone that area of the body.

Common reasons that people decide to opt for a tummy tuck include previous weight gain which has resulted in saggy skin, yo-yoing between weight gain and weight loss which can result in the same problem or multiple pregnancies where the skin around the abdomen has become stretched to such an extent that its natural elasticity is not able to restore the look of the abdomen to how the patient would like it. As you get older, collagen levels in the skin deplete and some men and women will notice a marked degree of skin sagging that fails to respond to diet and exercise.

A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure whereby excess fat and tissue are removed from beneath the skin and the abdominal wall is tightened to give a smoother firmer appearance. It is important not to mistake a tummy tuck procedure for a weight loss procedure. If you are carrying too much weight and are struggling to lose it then a tummy tuck is not necessarily the answer you are looking for.

Who is best suited for a tummy tuck?

Generally speaking, those who are most suited to a tummy tuck procedure are those who have excess, sagging skin and stubborn pockets of fat around the midriff that despite trying alternative methods such as diet and exercise, they are still not managing to shift.

There is also a condition known as rectus diastasis whereby the tummy muscles separate to accommodate a pregnancy or significant weight gain and then struggle to return to their original positioning. This can result in a gap between the abdominal muscles which can make a ‘pouch’ look more pronounced. There are exercises that can be done to strengthen the core and to try and encourage the muscles to join back together again. For some women, these exercises work effectively whereas others are left with a gap that will not fuse. A tummy tuck will be able to help where diet and exercise alone are not achieving the desired results. 

Setting tummy tuck expectations

As a tummy tuck is not designed to help you lose weight it should be regarded more as a ‘contouring exercise’ and expectations should be set accordingly. Ideally, you will be at a stable, target weight before undergoing a tummy tuck.

Some patients choose to couple a tummy tuck procedure with liposuction. This combination means that the contouring work and extraction of more fatty tissue happens in tandem and can make the end result more visually appealing. A tighter, leaner stomach, sometimes coupled with a liposuction procedure is also likely to increase your self-confidence and to make you feel much happier in the clothes that you choose to wear.

liposuction demand

New gym wear trend sparks rise in women demanding liposuction

Dubbed ‘athleisure’ clothing, a new gym wear trend has been cited as the reason for a sharp increase in demand for liposuction in female patients. Increasingly, women are wearing high fashion sports bras, leggings and training outside of the gym and, correspondingly, there is a perception of a certain physique required to pull off this new trend when out and about.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, one of the UK’s leading plastic surgery organisations of which Mr Alan Park is a member, have recently released their annual cosmetic surgery figures. BAAPS have noticed a sharp rise in liposuction procedures and the belief is that women are turning to lipo as a quick fix to get a washboard tum or sculpted behind.

Liposuction procedures to the stomach, buttocks, hips and thighs saw a 12% growth on the previous year, rising to 2,286 procedures performed by BAAPS surgeons. Other body contouring procedures also saw an increase, with tummy tucks growing by five per cent. Popular reality TV programmes such as Love Island, which is just about to hit our televisions again, are also blamed, with the emphasis they put on the body beautiful.

The term athleisure first officially entered the dictionary in 2016 and it is deemed as ‘a style of clothing worn as athletic apparel but also suitable for casual, everyday wear’.

What can liposuction do… and what can’t it do?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure to remove deposits of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise.

Liposuction is not a weight loss procedure; patients are usually at or near their ideal body weight but are striving to enhance or improve their body contours. It’s typically performed on the stomach, buttocks and legs, but it can also be used to remove fat under the chin to improve the appearance of the jawline.

The fat cells that are removed during a liposuction procedure are permanently eradicated, but this doesn’t mean that you can abandon workouts and your diet and be able to maintain your results. The remaining fat cells can expand, undermining the results you’ve achieved.

After liposuction, you are not left with extensive scarring as you would after a tummy tuck, as small incisions are made through which the cannula is inserted, and the fat cells removed. However, this doesn’t mean that liposuction is without risk and you should be aware of all the possible complications and what your recovery would entail before you make the decision to go ahead. Liposuction is not a quick fix, but it can produce really satisfactory results for the right candidate.

For more information on liposuction, please call 01926 436341 to arrange a consultation with Mr Alan Park at his Warwickshire cosmetic surgery clinic.

patient expectations from cosmetic surgery

Patient expectations, body image and cosmetic surgery

Body image and emotional wellbeing have been the focus of much media coverage at the moment as Mental Health Awareness Week has just taken place in the UK. In a recent survey carried out by the Mental Health Foundation to support awareness, they focused on the undeniable impact that how we think and feel about our appearance has a profound impact on our mental health.

Some startling and troubling statistics were released; one-third of respondents said they had felt anxious or depressed about their body image at some point in their lives. One in eight of us has even experienced suicidal thoughts as a result.

The continued growth in the cosmetic surgery and non-surgical aesthetics industry is an indication that men and women will often seek help to change something about themselves that might have been bothering them for many years. Plastic surgery can be a positive, life-changing decision that greatly enhances quality of life, as long as it is made for the right reasons and the patient has realistic expectations about what can be achieved and the impact that surgery will have on them.

Why do you want to undergo cosmetic surgery?

There are many reasons why people want to undergo cosmetic surgery, whether that’s to look younger and more dynamic, to change a feature that they have never liked, or to reverse changes to their appearance due to weight gain or loss or pregnancy. Cosmetic surgery is elective which means it’s not medically necessary and so your reasons for undergoing this procedure will be very personal.

Therefore, it is important to realise that cosmetic surgery will not solve personal problems, although it should hopefully give you greater self-confidence and boost self-esteem. The ideal candidate for cosmetic surgery is a well-motivated individual who has considered and researched this decision for a long time.

Patients that are doing it to ‘please’ another person in their life or who are going through a major life change and are looking for a boost are generally not in the right place to make this decision. Being honest about your motivations is important as you will have to communicate these to your cosmetic surgeon. What are your expectations from cosmetic surgery? Are they realistic?

A key part of your cosmetic surgery consultation with Mr Alan Park is establishing patient expectations from cosmetic surgery and Mr Park may advise you that it is not the appropriate time for you to undergo surgery at this point. To arrange a consultation with Mr Park, call 01926 436341.

facelift timing

What is the right age for a facelift?

Choosing to have a facelift is a very personal decision and there isn’t really a right – or wrong – age to undergo facial rejuvenation surgery. Every patient has different requirements and expectations and Mr Alan Park will always offer unbiased, expert advice to each individual patient. However, here are some factors you may wish to consider if you’re thinking about undergoing a facelift.

Facelift timing: Too young for a facelift?

Patients in their mid to late 30s are typically too young for a facelift but there are a number of non-surgical aesthetic treatments, such as anti-wrinkle injections or dermal fillers, that can help you maintain a more youthful appearance. Often genetics can bestow a heavy brow or marked eye bags and so a subtle brow lift or lower lid blepharoplasty might be suitable for younger patients.

Facelift timing: Upper age limit on facelifts

If you’re in good health and have realistic expectations about what can be achieved, there is usually no reason why you can’t undergo a facelift in your 60s or 70s. Some patients will undergo a secondary facelift as facial rejuvenation surgery will not stop the skin from becoming laxer in the future although it can minimise the effects of the ageing process.

Facelift timing: But don’t leave it too late

Although many women and men undergo facelift surgery in their 60s and beyond, it’s also worth bearing in mind that facelift patients in their mid to late 40s or early 50s will often achieve the optimal results as there is still good skin elasticity and it is possible to produce a more ‘natural’ rejuvenation. A SMAS or Deep Plane facelift is ideal for lifting jowls and improving any sagging in the mid-face.

Everyone ages differently and so age is not the primary deciding factor in whether you’re a suitable candidate for a facelift. During your facelift consultation, Mr Alan Park will analyse volume loss, skin laxity and quality and discuss various lifestyle factors, as well as talk to you in-depth about the results you’re hoping to achieve.

To find out if you’re a suitable candidate for a facelift, call  01926 436341 to arrange a consultation with Mr Alan Park at his Warwickshire cosmetic surgery clinic.

breast augmentation scarring

What kind of scarring can I expect after a breast augmentation?

One of the most common questions that get asked in a breast augmentation consultation is, ‘what kind of scarring can I expect?’ A breast augmentation is a surgical procedure and, like any other surgical procedure, involves incisions and therefore scarring is an inevitable consequence.

The good news is that for most patients, breast augmentation scarring will eventually become very thin, flat and be positioned to be as least noticeable as possible.

Location of breast augmentation scars

There are a number of approaches Mr Alan Park can take in regard to the incisions he makes. During a breast augmentation procedure, implants are placed inside the breast pocket, and the most common incisions to make is the inframammary incision.

An incision is made in the natural curve underneath the breast. This incision is preferred because scarring is usually well hidden once healed.

Another incision is the periareolar incision where the incision is made around the edge areolas; again, when fully healed, this scar is usually well camouflaged. A less popular incision is the transaxillary incision, which is made under the arms, but this can allow for less accuracy in placing the implants.

How will my scars heal?

The most important thing to realise about breast augmentation scarring is that it can take over a year for your scars to fully mature. At first, they will appear pink and slightly raised and, over time, they will flatten and fade.

Certain factors will influence how you heal, including your age and skin tone. You can help with scar healing by not exposing the wound area to the sun. Mr Park always advises his breast augmentation patients to stop smoking in advance of their procedure and for a period afterwards. This is because nicotine is a vasoconstrictor and reduces the amount of oxygenated blood that will reach the wound, an invaluable part of the healing process. Adopting a healthy and nutritious diet and drinking lots of water during your recovery is also important.

Keloid scarring is a type of scar where collagen is overproduced and the scar will often appear very red, swollen and larger than the original incision. During your consultation, Mr Park will ask about how you’ve healed in the past when the skin has been injured to assess whether you’re at risk of keloid scarring. If your scar isn’t healing as expected there are measures that Mr Park can take to help.

If you would like more breast augmentation advice, call  01926 436341 to arrange a consultation with Mr Alan Park.

cosmetic surgery scars

New device developed that could minimise cosmetic surgery scars

All cosmetic surgery procedures, whether they are to the face, breasts or body, entail making incisions in the skin and, therefore, scarring is an inevitable side-effect of the surgical operation you decide to embark on. Even though scars can fade and flatten over time, it is not possible for them to disappear completely.

This is why new developments in how to minimise cosmetic surgery scarring are always greeted with interest and researchers in the US have developed a device that will help cosmetic surgeons plot their incisions.

However, it can also be very difficult to predict how a patient will scar as it depends on their body’s unique healing response, but there are certain steps that can be taken to ensure optimal scar healing, on behalf of both the patient and the surgeon.

How your cosmetic surgeon approaches scarring

The first step is to take a full medical history during the pre-surgery consultation because there are certain pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer or thyroid problems, that could affect how the patient heals.

Mr Alan Park will also ask how any previous scars have healed. If you have a susceptibility to keloid scarring than it may be advisable to avoid surgery or for your post-surgery scar management to be considered beforehand.

Mr Park will carefully plan your cosmetic surgery procedure, particularly in terms of placement of the incisions. For example, the incisions of a facelift will be made in the hairline or follow the face’s natural creases. A tummy tuck incision is a lengthy scar that stretches from hip to hip, so the incision is made below the bikini line.

The skin is made up of lines of cells which stretch in one direction and Mr Park will use his knowledge of these lines of tension to plot the incisions as wounds heal better and produce less scarring when a cut is made along the direction of the aligned collagen. This new device, developed in the US, proposes to quickly scan the skin and indicate exactly how the collagen is aligned and might be of use in the future.

What you can do to minimise cosmetic surgery scarring

Post-surgical infection can affect the healing process, so if you notice the wound is not healing well or there is discharge, swelling or pain, then make an appointment with our medical team to check all is well.

The most important step you can take to promote good scarring post-procedure is to stop smoking. Nicotine constricts the blood vessels which means there is less oxygen reaching the wound and this can affect the healing process. A healthy diet of foods rich in iron, zinc and vitamin C is also recommended.

Wearing a specially-designed compression garment in the post-surgery period is also recommended as it supports wound integrity as you heal and can prevent the overgrowth of scarring tissue.

During your cosmetic surgery consultation, Mr Alan Park will discuss the potential scarring that you can expect as well as give advice on how best to promote the healing process and minimise scarring. Call 01926 436341 to arrange your cosmetic surgery consultation.

botox results

How long will Botox last and should I be worried about any longer-term side effects?

Botox injections remain the most popular aesthetic procedure since they were approved for the treatment of glabella wrinkles, also known as frown lines. They are a minimally invasive, but highly effective way to temporarily paralyse the muscles under the skin, giving the appearance of smoother, firmer, less wrinkled skin.

How long do Botox injections last?

Botox treatments usually last between three to six months. Factors such as how fast your metabolism is and where the product is placed can have an effect on how soon the effects of Botox injections wear off.

Other factors can affect it too. Regular use of sunbeds can cause the effects to be weakened, so can regular gym usage, as this causes the body to break down the components faster.

How long can I keep using Botox for?

Within sensible parameters, you can keep using Botox for as long as you wish, but bear in mind that the older you get, the less effective the treatment will be. It is suggested that the ideal age for Botox treatment is your mid- to late-thirties, up to around age 50. After that, there are more permanent surgical treatments that are usually considered more effective.

If you have been using Botox for a while then it is a good idea to have a chat to your cosmetic surgeon about what other options are available, as they will be able to guide you based on factors such as your age, skin type and your expectations.

Are there any longer-term side effects?

Repeated use of Botox can cause the facial muscles to weaken over time – which might mean you need less – but that doesn’t mean they will atrophy as only small amounts of Botox are placed in the target area.

Assuming you visit a regulated cosmetic surgeon, who adheres to professional guidelines and standards, the amount of Botox contained within each dose is considered perfectly safe for patients.

lipo results

Can fat return after liposuction?

Liposuction is one of the most popular forms of body contouring, with thousands of consumers in the UK opting to have this done every year. Every the slimmest of people who eat well and exercise regularly can be troubled by stubborn pockets of fat, which is why liposuction is ideal, as it allows people to target specific areas with much more accuracy. During the operation, fat is extracted via a suction device through a small cannula inserted into the area of the body you wish to target.

One of the questions Mr Alan Park is asked during a liposuction consultation is whether it’s possible for the fat to come back again after you have had the procedure?

Looking after your lipo results

The most effective way to maintain the results of your lipo procedure is to stay healthy. Ideally, you need to have reached your target weight at the time you have liposuction and plan to maintain it. If you yo-yo with weight gain and weight loss following the procedure than you will find that this affects how the results look. The liposuction will be carried out with your current weight in mind and will be designed to fit your frame at the time of the procedure. It cannot maintain the look it has achieved if you gain a lot of weight afterwards.

Although liposuction is a permanent procedure in that the fat cells will not ‘grow back’, the remaining fat cells can expand. Or weight gain will become more apparent in other areas of the body where more fat cells are present. So, gaining weight won’t put you back to square one, per se, but it could give you a different area of the body to fixate on.

Over time, the effects will also soften as the ageing process continues and skin and other tissues start to sag. This is unavoidable but will not occur overnight. The area(s) you have had liposuction will remain looking better, but the effectiveness will wear off as the years creep by.

Optimising the look

It is very important to follow guidance and instructions of your cosmetic surgeon after the surgery. Eating well and exercising regularly are recommended, as is drinking lots of water to ensure you’re well hydrated. Wear a specially-designed compression garment which will help with the healing process and help produce optimal results.

Liposuction is regarded as a permanent fix, but the effects can be diminished if you do not take good care of your post-surgery body. During your liposuction consultation, Mr Alan Park will discuss how best to look after your lipo results. Call 01926 436341 to find out more.