Where there's a will...
I first met Sarah in the spring of 2005. Sarah’s story is not that unusual. She was 62 years old and, like many of us, the years had ticked by all too fast. A career in local body politics had been shelved when her children arrived and the next 25 years were devoted to family matters. At one time she had been proud of her appearance, enjoying the social life her job had to offer, but somehow time for herself has waned and her weight had steadily increased. Eventually, the last of her children left home and a chance meeting with an old friend raised the possibility of returning to the workforce. Of course she would leap at the opportunity – she didn’t feel any older than 25 and was sure she had plenty of enthusiasm to offer a new job. However, she knew that on the outside she wasn’t the girl she used to be. This is where Sarah’s story differs from the norm.
Sarah came to see me to try and regain some of what she had lost. We discussed what could be achieved surgically. A raft of possibilities existed including tummy tuck, facelift, liposuction etc but it was clear that what she really needed to do first was lose some weight. We estimated that she was about 15kg above her ideal weight. Our first meeting ended on this advice.
To my surprise Sarah returned a year later. She had taken on what we had discussed, changed her lifestyle, changed her diet, began to exercise again and had lost weight.
She hadn’t quite managed the 15kg but a little over 10kg had been shed. She said she felt much better, she had more energy, had stopped needing medication for high blood pressure and her borderline diabetes was gone. Now she wanted to complete her makeover. A much-loved ball-gown from some years ago was produced. “I would really love to fit this once again”.
We decided on a plan. This summer it would be tummy tuck followed by a facelift and eyelid surgery. Next year would be an arm and breast lift.
So far the plan is working out well. She says that the old Sarah is emerging again. The improvement in her self confidence and happiness is remarkable. I have a feeling I won’t see her much more. She is back in the workforce and busy with her new life. I suspect there may not be time for stage two.
Sarah is not alone in her desires to regain her old self. In fact most of our patients have similar feelings. For some it is a dislike of what nature provided, for others it is a dislike of what the years have taken away. Many can be helped by plastic surgery. For some, like Sarah, it is a partnership of lifestyle change and surgery. For most, surgery alone is suitable. What is common to all is that they make the step to do something about it. Many have thought about it for years but have found the idea of a consultation too daunting.
When they finally take the step they realise it wasn’t as hard as they thought and they leave with a smile on their face.
So the message is clear. You are never too young or old to change. What you need is the will to do something about it. Whether it is a change of lifestyle or surgery, you won’t regret it.
At the New Zealand Institute of Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery we want you to feel comfortable about your choices. A consultation is the first step towards change and does not commit you to a decision. As a first step, our nurses have a wealth of knowledge and are available for informal consultations in person or by phone.
Written by Glenn Bartlett FRACS.
For a consultation phone 09 529 5783.
VASER Lipo System Getting a Stamp of Approval
According to a recent study published in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal, the official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, VASER Lipo has been clinically proven to be a safe and effective treatment option for fat transfer procedures.
The lead researchers at Stanford University demonstrated VASER Lipo to be an enhanced fat removal and transfer system compared to 14 traditional suction-assisted liposuction. The study's findings illustrate that VASER Lipo removes and delivers sterile and viable fat primed for re-injection into areas of the body that require plumping, such as the face, buttocks and breasts.
"The VASER Lipo System is unlike any other device in that it emulsifies the fat and removes it in small clumps of cells. This emulsion re-injects more smoothly and easily than fat harvested via traditional liposuction," said Dr. Robert Schwartz, a plastic surgeon in private practice in Dallas, TX.
The Stanford University study investigated tissue samples of both male and female subjects between the ages of 18 and 65 who underwent lipoplasty of the abdomen, back and thigh regions. Detailed cellular viability analysis was performed on tissues collected from 5 patients, each having undergone VASER Lipo and suction-assisted liposuction on one area of the body. The researchers found little or no differences at the cellular level between the two treatments, leading researchers to conclude that VASER Lipo, a third generation ultrasound device, is just as effective in yielding viable fat cells as suction-assisted devices.
The study's findings dispute the common misunderstanding that VASER Lipo's ultrasonic energy destroys fat cells and prohibits the cells from successfully being re-injected during fat transfer procedures. Instead, many physicians assert VASER Lipo could be better for fat transfer procedures due to the fine cellular emulsion that is created through ultrasound action.
The results of the study further support VASER Lipo as a safe and effective alternative to traditional liposuction.
Founded in 1998, Sound Surgical Technologies placed the first VASER Lipo System on the market in March 2001.
VASER - Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance - Lipo is a highly sought after body contouring procedure that has long upheld a level of excellence when it comes to safety, efficacy and superior results and is versatile enough to treat all tissue types and anatomical areas of the body. In addition to maintaining the viability of fat cells for fat transfer procedures, the latest research also shows that the VASER Lipo System yields excellent skin contraction, minimizes surrounding tissue trauma and reduces the loss of blood.
The VASER Lipo System is FDA cleared for body contouring and has been used in more than 100,000 procedures worldwide.
Surgeons report Mr Glenn Bartlett
As summer nears, many of us will look to shed the accumulated weight of the winter comfort food.
There is no doubt that regular exercise and a healthy diet are the best prescription for weight loss and a trim figure, yet many of us find that there are areas of fat deposition that seem to defy our best efforts. In men this is often around the beltline and male breast, whereas for women the hips, thighs, saddlebags and buttocks are often the culprit. This is where body contouring surgery is of benefit.
At the New Zealand Institute of Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery our surgeons have extensive experience in all methods of body contouring including liposuction, tummy tucks, arm reduction, thigh lifts and body lifting procedures.
Liposuction has received much media exposure – often portrayed as a simple procedure lacking in sophistication. The reality is somewhat different. Performed properly it is a highly effective and refined technique requiring the skilled eye and attention to detail of a Plastic Surgeon to achieve optimum contour without dimpling or irregularities.
In addition to traditional liposuction we have utilised ultrasonic assisted liposuction since its introduction in the mid-nineties, finding it particularly useful for more fibrous areas or for revisional treatment. Recently modified and renamed as the VASER machine, this technology offers the same advantages of less bruising and is a useful adjunct to liposuction.
In many instances a fatty deposit is associated with laxity of skin that requires removal of both skin and fat. The commonest example is a tummy tuck where skin laxity following childbirth has never resolved. There have been significant advances in such “lifting” procedures over the past 5 years, often combined with liposuction to offer improved contour with faster recovery. After a significant weight loss, or after weight loss surgery, the shape of the body can change dramatically due to the extra skin. Body lifting procedures can be quite transforming for such people, and many of these techniques are directly applicable to those with more modest weight loss associated with adoption of a healthier lifestyle.
Our specialist Plastic Surgery nurses offer free no obligation consultations and can explain procedures, costs and recovery before you decide to see a surgeon.