Why your diet and exercise regime are linked to cosmetic surgery suitability

weight and cosmetic surgeryDiet and exercise are closely linked to health and well-being, both of which are important to take into consideration when surgeons are assessing patients for cosmetic surgery suitability. For some operations, your diet and exercise regime are reasonably important – for example, a plastic surgeon will need to be satisfied that you’re in good shape overall before they will give you the green light to go under the knife. For other procedures, it’s absolutely imperative that you’re fit, healthy and not carrying too much excess weight.

What are the immediate dangers of carrying too much weight?

There are many serious health conditions that are linked with obesity, including:

  • Heart conditions
  • Cancer
  • Strokes
  • Diabetes

If you are very overweight and are looking to undertake surgical procedures then this can pose a real challenge. Any form of surgery puts stresses and strains on the body that your immune system will need to fight in order to recover and heal successfully. If you’re already putting your body under undue stress and are not in a good state of overall health, it can be much harder for your body to recover from surgery.

Surgeons will do everything they can to mitigate potential side effects. If your chosen diet and (potentially lack of) exercise have already put you at higher risk of serious conditions such as heart problems or a stroke, then it would not be wise to add additional challenges before steps have been taken to try and reduce the overall risk.

Another weighty issue

Being close to or at your ideal body weight and having maintained a stable weight for at least six months is also important in terms of your results. Body contouring procedures such as a tummy tuck or arm lift can produce fantastic results but these can be compromised if you put on or lose significant amounts of weight, as skin and muscles can become stretched. Even the results of procedures such as a breast augmentation or facelift can be affected by future weight fluctuations.

So, what can be done?

Looking carefully at your intake of calories versus the amount of exercise you do is the first step to addressing weight issues. It is not always best to rush into things with unrealistic goals. Take small steps to begin with, such as beginning to reduce portion sizes and walking to places where you would normally take the car. The danger with losing too much weight too quickly is that it is not usually sustainable, and can pile back on relatively quickly – causing the issue of ‘yoyo dieting’.

Keeping your weight at a sensible level and doing regular exercise will make a big impact to your overall health and your mental and physical well-being. Additionally, if you’re thinking that you might undergo any type of cosmetic surgery in the future, getting your body in good form now is a sensible first step.

Am I allowed sick leave if I am having cosmetic surgery?

Cosmetic Surgery and sick leaveMost employees are entitled to some form of basic sick leave as part of their contract of employment, and this ranges from statutory sick pay (set by the government), up to a more generous period of paid sickness absence. If your employer offers supplementary paid sick leave, how much this is and how long you receive remuneration for this depends entirely on your employer and the specific terms of your employment contract.

Sick pay and sick leave were originally designed to cover any form of unexpected sickness or illness, but now what classes as ‘sickness’ is a bit more of a grey area. Where, for example, does time off to recover from cosmetic surgery fall in relation to the agreed definition of ‘sickness’?

UK legal firm Penningtons outlines something that many people are not aware of, that employers are not mandated to give time off to employers for medical appointments of any kind (with the exception of some relating to pregnancy). Time off for medical appointments is something that is entirely discretionary, and it would be within the rights of an employer to ask you to take these from your holiday allowance:

“There is no statutory right to time off to attend medical appointments, except for certain ante-natal ones. Unless there is a contractual right to such time off, leave to attend an appointment with a cosmetic surgeon is likely to be at the discretion of the employer .”

It all depends on the cover you are entitled to from your employer

According to the Personnel Today, if you have elected to have cosmetic surgery then the recovery from this type of operation is not classed as ‘sickness’ in the conventional sense. This means that a patient would not be entitled to statutory sick pay. They could, however, be entitled to enhanced sick pay / sick leave if this was covered by the contractual terms offered by their employer.

If you elect to have cosmetic surgery and suffer complications as a result of your tummy tuck or facelift that means that you are then unable to work (for example, if you succumb to an infection in a healing wound) then this could class as a traditional form of ‘sickness’, therefore normal sick leave/sick pay rules would apply.

Open the channels of communication

Although some people may feel shy or sensitive about talking to their employer about a planned cosmetic surgery procedure, it is likely to be better in the long run if you are open with your boss. It is not necessary to make the details of your operation known to everyone within your workplace, although it would be sensible to discuss your plans and the expected recovery patterns with your line manager and your employer/HR manager.

When cosmetic surgery goes wrong it’s up to surgeons like Mr Park to correct the mistakes

Celebrity stories are big business in the world of mass media and the press love a good story about failed cosmetic surgery.

From celebrities such as Tara Reid showcasing her rather unfortunate breast augmentation, to entire TV series such as Botched illustrating some rather gruesome and peculiar failed operations, it is clear that mistakes do happen, and when they do, it’s a big problem for the patients involved.

cosmetic surgery mistakesThe makers of the reality series Botched are now into a second season of trying to ‘remedy extreme plastic surgeries gone wrong’. From medical burns and bizarre looks following facelifts, to leaking lip fillers and overly large breast implants, once problems have been caused, it’s down to someone else more reputable to step in and fix the problem.

In the case of Tara Reid, the problems she faced have also been put down to the surgeon she chose. What a concerning prospect for patients who are considering going under the knife for an appearance changing operation. Trust in your cosmetic surgeon has to be one of the most important elements when deciding to undergo any type of operation, so stories such as this are worrying.

How to avoid problems like this

Here in the UK, it is important that you choose a reputable plastic surgeon and, helpfully, there are many things you can look out for that can help you make an informed decision.

The first place you should look is the surgeon’s website, where you’ll be able to see the qualifications and professional memberships held by the surgeon you’re considering. Mr Alan Park, for example, clearly displays his ‘postnominals’ at the top of his website, which indicates the level of qualifications held. In the case of Mr Alan Park, ‘F.R.C.S. (Plast)’ indicates that he holds a Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons, the professional membership organisation that governs, regulates and educates surgeons in the UK and Ireland.

It is also important to look for the logos – on the front page here you will see links to other regulatory and professional associations that Mr Park is associated with; the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) and the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS).

If you have any concerns at all or wish to seek further reassurance, a quick call to any of these associations will validate membership held and will give the necessary guarantee that the surgeon you’re interested in is operating to a British approved standard of cosmetic surgery.

What to do if I suspect a breast implant has burst?

breast implant riskCosmetic surgery procedures in the UK are regulated and carried out to the highest possible standard; however, no operation is entirely risk-free. At your consultation and throughout your cosmetic surgery journey, the risks will be fully explained so that you hold all of the information regarding the pros and cons of each operation. In the case of breast implant risk, it is very rare that one ruptures and bursts, yet as they are man-made components, this is a risk. So, what should you do if you believe a breast implant is leaking?

Signs to look out for

Breast implants are typically made from one of two materials: silicone or saline. Silicone is a rubbery substance that is used widely in the manufacture of household products as well as in cosmetic surgery. It is a hardy material, so despite being available as a soft substance, it is hard wearing and malleable. Saline is a liquid which is comprised of salt and water.

One of the clearest indicators that your breast implant may be leaking is if one of your breasts changes size/shape. This is not a ‘normal’ thing to expect from implants, so a change would suggest that something has gone wrong and one of the implants is no longer holding as much silicone or saline as the other.

If a silicone implant leaks then this tends to happen slowly so any changes are seen more gradually. This is because the material inside the implant is thicker and therefore will take longer to leak out. In some instances, it can be years before so much silicone has leaked that it becomes noticeable. Saline on the other hand has the same properties as tap water, so if a leak happens then you’ll know about it fast. There will be a rapid deflation of the breast where the leak has occurred. As saline is purely a mix of salt and water, this is absorbed by the body and will cause you no harm.

What to do if you suspect a problem with your breast implants

If you suspect this possible breast implant risk then it is important to contact your cosmetic surgeon quickly so that this can be assessed. If you are correct in your diagnosis, a replacement implant will be required, so you will need to be booked in for a follow-up procedure.

As with any medical concerns, it is always better to be safe rather than sorry. If you suspect something isn’t right then don’t hesitate to get an expert opinion sooner rather than later. The sooner the problem is caught, the easier it is to fix.

Latest in scar therapy… a little help from a surprising little creature

All cosmetic surgery procedures come with the risk of scarring after the procedure has taken place. This is because these operations involve making incisions and working beneath the skin to tighten, enlarge, decrease or remodel areas of the body.

Over time, surgeons have become increasingly skilled at making and repairing incisions in a way that means that they heal quickly with minimal scarring. Despite these advances in scar management, scientists are always looking for ways to push the boundaries even further, making practices and procedures even better for the patient to recover from.

Ways of dealing with wounds

During wartime, superglue was found to be an effective means of sealing a cut, and was used particularly prevalently during the Vietnam War as a clever medical trick while soldiers were out in the field. If used correctly, the superglue can bond a wound seamlessly and the resulting scar is minimal. It does, however, come with risks such as infection and the challenge of trying to precisely glue a wound with one of the stickiest and fastest setting components known to man. Although it can work, it is widely agreed that it is much better to leave it to the professionals.

Professionals such as cosmetic surgeons can use a variety of scar management techniques to seal a wound or incision after an operation, and these range from convention stitches to legitimate medical glue. There is a new discovery that has recently been announced though, that could make gluing of wounds even more effective.

mussel secretion for scar managementAccording to a report published recently by the New Scientist, it has been discovered that under-water mussels secrete a liquid that shares the same properties as powerful glue, and scientists believe that this could be used as a way of repairing wounds and incisions with minimal scarring.

What causes scars to look unsightly in the first place?

The reason that scars can look unsightly is because of the way scar tissue forms. The skin is made up of many layers of a substance called collagen, which criss-crosses neatly to create the different layers of the skin. When this is broken, the collagen tries to repair the damage, but instead of being able to fuse together neatly, the result if often a messy, tangled mass of collagen strands, rushing to try and fix the problem. The result is that scars can look and feel raised and bumpy.

According to this new study into mussel secretions, the use of this substance as a glue helps the skin to “promote normal collagen growth because negative charges on the decorin fragments hold the fibres apart. In doing so, the fibres are more easily able to weave in and out between each other instead of sticking together randomly”.

Cosmetic surgeon Mr Alan Park is highly experienced and skilled in producing the least visible scarring and managing how the scar is progressing is an integral part of his aftercare programme.

What are sun spots and can they be treated?

sun spotsSun spots are coloured areas of pigmentation on your skin that is caused by excessive exposure to the sun’s UV rays. They are typically flat, oval marks that are brown in colour, and once these have developed they will darken with continued exposure to the sun. They are also known colloquially as ‘liver spots’ or ‘age spots’.

Different types of sun spots

There are actually three different types of sun spots, each of which presents themselves slightly differently.

  1. Lentigines
  2. Cherry hemangiomas
  3. Seborrheic keratoses

Lentigines look rather similar to freckles and are often flat, roundish marks that are brown coloured. These are typically the size of a small pea up to the size of a 10p piece and are often found on areas of the body that have had frequent exposure to the sun. As the name would suggest, cherry hemangiomas are red-coloured spots. They are often much smaller (a lot smaller than a small pea) and are actually caused by a malfunction within the blood vessel. Unlike lentigines, these can appear anywhere on the body. Finally, seborrheic keratoses are a bit more unsightly. They are sometimes flat but can be raised, and vary in colour from quite pale to very dark, almost black. They are often scaly too, so are more textured than lentigines or cherry hemangiomas.

Should I be worried if I develop sun spots?

Sun spots are harmless, but it is very hard for a novice to tell the difference between a harmless sun spot and a potentially life threatening skin cancer. If you have developed any coloured patches on your skin or have developed an oval-shaped brown mark, there is a good chance that this is a sun spot, but it is extremely important to get this checked out by an expert.

A GP, dermatologist or a plastic surgeon such as Mr Alan Park will be able to help you understand the nature of the mark and will be able to advise if you need to see a specialist. With any change in the surface of your skin, the sooner you get it checked out, the sooner you’ll be able to understand exactly what it is and whether or not you need to be concerned. If it is something serious, the quicker you act the greater the likelihood that you’ll be able to do something about it.

Can I breastfeed with breast implants?

breast implantsThere has been a marked increase in demand for body altering procedures such as breast enhancements, with more and more people considering going under the knife to change the way they look and feel.

However, the breast augmentation procedure is very popular with younger women who feel that their breasts haven’t developed sufficiently and many of these women in their late teens and early twenties have not yet started or certainly finished their family at the point they are considering surgery.

Therefore, one question which many women are keen to understand when they are considering breast enhancement surgery – will they still be able to breastfeed if they decide to go under the knife?

As I always explain to patients who attend my Warwickshire breast augmentation consultations, no cosmetic surgeon can give you a 100% guarantee that you will be able to breastfeed after undergoing any form of breast surgery. The type of implants you choose, where they are placed and how the procedure is performed can all be factors and we can discuss this in full at your consultation before you make the decision to go ahead.

The type of breast implants you opt for

Some breast implants are inserted underneath the breast. This approach is more likely to result in visible scar tissue, however it is less likely to damage your milk ducts. Another way of inserting an implant is through an incision made around the darker area near your nipple, known as the areola. This approach often results in a less viable scar, as the darker skin helps to conceal it; however, there is a greater likelihood that this will damage the milk ducts as they are found in abundance in this area.

Where the breast implants are placed

There are two different approaches to the positioning of a breast implant. They can either be inserted in the space between your chest muscle and the breast tissue, or they can be placed underneath the chest muscle itself. There are aesthetic reasons why women choose either one of these options, which generally comes down to how natural they wish the implant to look once the operation is complete.

The way the operation has been undertaken

Breasts are complicated and delicate, so there is a risk that some of the internal components may become damaged during surgery. Inside your breasts are milk ducts, milk glands and many sensitive nerve endings, all of which are essential to supplying a baby with milk and all of which risk damage during incisions made to carry out this type of operation.

One consideration, though, is that women can often find breastfeeding challenging, whether they have undergone breast surgery or not. Although I can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to breastfeed after a breast augmentation, I can promise that I will fully cover all aspects of the procedure, so you’ll be a

Misleading aesthetic advertising: the miracle non-surgical eyelid lift

non-surgical eyelid liftAs we get older, the unmistakable signs of age start showing on our faces. Lines and wrinkles appear around our eyes, and some people develop excess skin underneath their eyes, commonly called ‘eye bags’ and are understandably very keen to find a solution. A non-surgical treatment that promises miracle results would definitely catch the eye.

An advert for a product called ‘My Perfect Eyes’ recently snagged my attention. This product claims to be ‘a non-surgical cosmetic miracle which temporarily erases puffiness, fine lines, dark circles and wrinkles in minutes, yet lasts for hours!.’

This sounds impressive and I found the use of the word ‘miracle’ interesting.

The advert is bold and although clearly suggests that the product is revolutionary, in the small print it is noted that the product is only expected to work for up to eight hours. But just how many people pay close enough attention to notice the small words at the bottom of the screen?

So how does this work?

This product works by creating an invisible film underneath the eye, which gives the illusion of tighter, lighter and firmer skin. The result promises a non-surgical eyelid lift, and if the claims are to be believed, 100% of the testers who tried out this product noticed an improvement in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around their eyes. Impressive indeed.

However, if it is indeed a miracle, it is a short-term miracle, and product users must be aware of that before expecting that this product will be a longer-term solution to eye bags and wrinkles.

Longer-lasting alternatives

As impressive as this product may be compared with other anti-wrinkle creams, it will still only help for a short period of time. This may be great for special occasions (daily use of the product would be expensive, it is around £50 for a small bottle), but if you want something with more longevity then speak to an expert such as Mr Alan Park who will be able to talk to you about the more permanent solutions.

Procedures such as Botox can offer much longer-lasting results for those seeking a smoothing in dynamic wrinkles in the upper third of the face, and surgery such as facelifts, eyebrow lifts, or eyelid surgery can help turn back the clock for a longer period of time.

What to do if I suspect fluid is being retained after a tummy tuck?

tummy tuck risksEvery type of operation carries a series of risks and rewards and, as a patient, it is important to understand exactly what these are.

For patients who wish to undergo an abdominoplasty, one of the tummy tuck risks is fluid retention following the surgery.

Why would fluid gather after an operation?

One common side effect of many different operations is that the body becomes unable to control fluid around the site of the operation and the result is it begins to pool. This is known as a ‘seroma’. When this happens, it forms a blister-type scenario underneath the surface of the skin. Sometimes this will drain naturally as the body continues to heal, but in other cases you will need to return to surgery for some professional help in draining the fluid.

What will this look and feel like?

If you have liquid pooling beneath the skin it will probably feel like a large lump, which is hard and tender if you press it. Generally speaking, if you have developed a seroma it will ooze a clear liquid from the incision site when you press down gently on it. In some cases, the seroma may have become infected too, and if that’s the case this clear liquid will become cloudy or streaked with blood, and more often than not will start to develop an unpleasant smell.

When to seek help

Many seromas will drain naturally as part of the healing process following a surgical procedure, so keep an eye on it and you probably only need to consult a doctor or your plastic surgeon if it looks to be getting worse. Indicators that you have developed a more serious problem are if your seroma is accompanied by a fever, has fluid that has turned white in colour or contains a lot of blood, feels very sore around the site, swells quickly or is hot to touch.

If any of these warning signs are present, seek medical help quickly as you have probably developed an infection and this will need to be treated quickly to avoid it developing into something more serious. The process for draining seromas is quite simple; the surgeon will insert a series of small tubes to drain the fluid away. This may need to be done over several appointments, as the problem may continue to persist after the first draining, before the site is fully healed and the body can return to dealing with fluids in the normal way.