If you’ve Zumba’d and kettle bell’d yourself down a few sizes and the mirror is still not offering the reflection you’d like to see, how about body sculpting with the help of cosmetic surgery? According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the demand for cosmetic surgery procedures increased almost 9 percent last year. And the most common areas of concern for female patients?  In their practice at West County Plastic Surgeons of Washington University, Drs. Terry Myckatyn and Marissa Tenenbaum hear “breast and tummies” most often. “The No. 1 complaint, after breast size or shape, would be the stomach,” says Tenenbaum. “Especially after childbirth, women notice a pouch, extra skin or stretch marks that appeared during pregnancy and did not improve afterward.” 

    Liposuction or abdominoplasty (better known as a tummy tuck) can help correct these concerns. “One of the most important considerations is determining which procedure would be the most beneficial,” Tenenbaum explains. The determining factor, she adds, is how much excess skin a patient has. “People sometimes think it’s all fat. They’ll grab their tummy and say, I just want to get rid of this fat! While they are grabbing some fat, there also is redundant skin, and liposuction alone isn’t going to get rid of the skin.” Tenenbaum cautions that, despite the claims in some advertising, there is no way to actually tighten the skin with liposuction alone.     Another advantage to a tummy tuck, she notes, is the opportunity to tighten the abdominal wall. “The muscles that get stretched can be tightened up, making the stomach appear much flatter.”

    Women who are considering cosmetic surgery of the breast also have procedural options, Myckatyn says, depending on the complaint. “Some patients tell us I don’t want them larger, I just want them ‘up.’  In a youthful, so-called ideal breast shape, the nipple would be a little above the lower breast crease,” he explains. “With age, gravity and weight fluctuation, the nipple  descends and drops below that crease. In a breast lift (mastopexy), the nipple is repositioned in a more youthful position.”

    Although a breast lift may achieve the desired results, it’s important for a surgeon to ask the right questions, Myckatyn notes. “We use photos and diagrams to get a better understanding of what a patient is looking for. Sometimes a breast lift will get the look you want. But sometimes a patient may think they just need a breast lift, but what they really want to achieve is more fullness. In that case, a breast augmentation is the correct choice.” For some patients, he adds, the two procedures can be combined.

    In addition to cosmetic surgery of the breast, the surgeons also perform reconstructive surgery for cancer patients, as well as revision surgery for women who are not satisfied with results of previous procedures,” Tenenbaum says. “Having so much experience in both has made us better.”  LN

On the cover: West County Plastic Surgeons of Washington University offers experienced cosmetic surgery for men and women. Conveniently located at 1040 N. Mason Road in Creve Coeur, the facility provides personalized treatment in a patient-friendly atmosphere.  For more information, call 996-8800 or visit westcountyplasticsurgeons.wustl.edu.

Cover photo by taka yanagimoto