We all want to make smart purchases and get the most for our money. And when we’re talking about investing thousands of dollars, the stakes are even higher, whether we’re shopping for cars, vacations or plastic surgery.
We asked three area plastic surgeons for their suggestions regarding the one procedure they think offers the most potential for major physical improvement. If they could recommend only one surgery to the majority of their patients, what would it be? Granted, individual needs and budgets have a lot to do with the answers, but there are a few overall stars in the plastic surgery firmament.
“One type of cosmetic surgery that offers immediate, visible results is traditional liposuction,” says Dr. Judith Gurley. She notes that liposuction has been around long enough to have a proven track record as a “safe, painless outpatient surgery. Because patients are anesthetized, liposuction is painless, and surgeons can make dramatic improvements in your shape in just minutes,” she says.
“Liposuction removes inches of fat, whereas many of the other in-office procedures remove only millimeters, sometimes so negligible patients notice no difference at all,” Gurley says. The procedure is followed by two to four days of pain medication, and all physical restrictions are lifted after two weeks.
Taking things a step further in both complexity and cost, Dr. Michele Koo of Aesthetic Surgery Institute recommends abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, along with liposuction of the entire torso, midriff, hip and waist region. “This is the absolute most dramatic change one can achieve in a single surgery,” she says. “In one recovery time, with one surgery, my patient can change several clothes sizes, remove excess skin and stretch marks, and get into an entirely new wardrobe.”
Koo likes the abdominoplasty/liposuction combo for many patients because it is capable of delivering a flat abdomen and smaller waist and hips, while improving firmness and the overall appearance of the torso. She says the dual procedure can tighten abdominal muscles that may have stretched with age or as a result of pregnancy.
“What most people don’t understand is that once there is a significant amount of skin in the abdominal area, there is nothing one can do to flatten it without surgery,” she adds. “This is very safe, can be done in one procedure, and provides the motivation for my patients to stay with their healthy eating and exercise routine.” Four weeks of recovery is needed before a return to active pursuits.
Dr. L. Mike Nayak limits his practice to procedures from the neck up. When asked for his suggestion regarding the facial plastic surgery that has the most remarkable effect, he responded with one word: eyelids. “Well-done eyelid surgery can make a tremendous difference in appearance,” he promises. “It can change a tired, angry or sad look to a brighter, more energetic, vibrant look. The eyes are usually the first thing people notice about you, and they contribute greatly to how people interpret your age, mood and health.”
Nayak adds that eyelid surgery is also one of the most straightforward facial procedures, able to be performed in an outpatient setting without general anesthesia. The surgery involves removing excess upper eyelid skin and lower eyelid bags or bulges, filling lower eyelid hollows, and tightening wrinkles in the lower lid. “Recovery is usually pretty painless, and bruising is mild and usually gone within a week,” he says. “Eyelids are also great because they have durable results, often lasting 10 years or more.”
Nayak also offers good general advice for anyone seeking plastic surgery: “Determine whether the procedure is time-tested and whether the surgeon you choose performs the procedure frequently. Practice makes perfect.” By being a careful shopper and doing your homework, regardless of the purchase you’re planning, you’re likely to make the best choice for long-lasting satisfaction.