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A plastic surgery Q&A with ASPS President Alan Matarasso, MD, FACS


Q&A with ASPS President Alan Matarasso, MD, FACSIf you are considering plastic surgery, chances are you have lots of questions. Patients have an opportunity to ask their plastic surgeon questions during the consultation, but sometimes there are questions you want answered before scheduling an appointment and going to the surgeon's office.

Last year, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) launched Ask a Surgeon so that people considering plastic surgery could submit their questions and have them answered by ASPS member surgeons before even scheduling a consultation.

We compiled six of the most popular questions from Ask a Surgeon and asked ASPS President Alan Matarasso, MD, FACS, to provide answers.

How much pain can you expect after a breast augmentation?

There is very little discomfort after breast augmentation and most people feel comfortable very quickly after surgery. In the early stages of recovery, many patients will receive medication to help ease any postoperative discomfort.

Each person's recovery is different, but generally you can return to your normal lifestyle within the first few days. Patients can typically walk and resume light activities within a couple days. Returning to full activity, such as exercise, gradually occurs over a period of weeks. For example, if you usually run five miles when working out, you may be able to run one or two after a few weeks. Most patients return to full activity in about a month.

Do tummy tuck scars go away?

Tummy tuck scars, like all scars, fade over time. No scar ever goes away completely. I always tell patients that the greatest ally for a scar is time. As you continue to heal after surgery, the scar will continue to fade, becoming less noticeable, but it will never go away. Your surgeon will give you instructions to care for your incisions, which should help minimizing scarring.

While scars are unavoidable, it is important to remember that tummy tuck scars are designed to be hidden. Your plastic surgeon will speak with you about your preferred style of undergarments and swimwear, then strategically make the incisions where scars can be discreetly hidden. There shouldn't be any need to worry about scars showing at the beach.

Can you do full-body liposuction in one procedure?

Plastic surgeons can perform liposuction on multiple sites in one procedure, but there are several factors to consider. As with any plastic surgery procedure, it is important to remember each patient is different. The number of sites where liposuction can be done will depend on the volume of fat removed.

Your surgeon will assess your overall health to determine how much fat can be removed and then how many sites can be addressed in one procedure. For smaller patients, it can be safer to perform liposuction on more areas because there isn't as much fat to be removed. For larger patients, there is more fat to remove from each site, so a surgeon may only be able to work on one or two areas safely. For safety purposes, it's very important that surgeons don't remove too much fat with liposuction.

Will a rhinoplasty change my singing voice?

A rhinoplasty for cosmetic purposes may not have an adverse impact on a singing voice. However, you should have a discussion with your plastic surgeon about the nature of rhinoplasty and if the nasal airway will be affected. Every patient patient is different, but most don't report any change in their singing voice.

If you are having an abnormal or damaged nasal airway corrected as part your rhinoplasty, be sure you speak with your surgeon about any concerns.

Can a breast lift procedure be performed under local anesthesia?

Local anesthesia can be part of the anesthesia used in a breast lift procedure. However, it's not common to do just local anesthesia alone. Local anesthesia done in conjunction with systemic anesthesia allows the patient to be more comfortable and allows the operative team to monitor vital signs.

To inject local anesthesia directly into the breast without some systemic anesthesia would be uncomfortable for most patients. The plan for anesthesia will ultimately depend on a discussion with your surgeon.

Is it safe for a mommy makeover to include a breast lift, tummy tuck, liposuction and fat transfer all at once?

By definition, a mommy makeover includes breast and abdominal surgery. A common example of this is a breast lift and a tummy tuck. Performing liposuction and fat transfer in conjunction with the breast and abdominal surgeries will depend upon how much you need done and your medical condition.

Multiple procedures can be considered based on your overall health status. For patients who aren't in ideal health, multiple surgeries can put an unhealthy strain on their body. BMI also plays a role in how many surgeries can be performed. Smaller patients may be more appropriate candidates for multiple surgeries. Heavier patients are generally considered to have more risk when undergoing plastic surgery procedures.


Do you have questions about a plastic surgery procedure? Are you hoping to get more information about a procedure before scheduling a consultation? Be sure to visit our Ask a Surgeon page and submit your questions. ASPS member surgeons from across the nation – including Dr. Matarasso – are ready to answer your questions.


The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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