You Are Your Biggest Advocate: How to Avoid Botched Botox®

Let me share a story I recently read: a 37-year old woman goes to a plastic surgeon who recommends she try a wrinkle-reduction treatment, Botox®.  She receives treatment below her eyes and in her lips.  Within hours the woman is rushed to the hospital for facial swelling and paralysis.  What was supposed to be a purified form of botulinum toxin A turned out to be none other than snake venom that was meant to be utilized in topical creams.  But as the picture below shows, snake venom is incredibly dangerous when injected into the face and ended up leaving this poor woman’s face paralyzed for an entire year.

Can you imagine not being able to cry, smile or laugh because of a single cosmetic injectable treatment, or any facial plastic surgery procedure for that matter.  This type of scenario unfortunately is not new.  The FDA has been cracking down on Botox® scamming since 2004 when they were called to investigate four separate hospitalizations in Florida after patients were injected with unapproved Botox®.  Physicians are trying to cut corners and are purchasing off-market brands that purport to be Botox® (often coming from foreign countries with labels that aren’t even in English).  It’s not until something tragic happens that it is later revealed that either the doctor never confirmed the product’s legality or simply chose to ignore and warnings of harmful effects clearly written on product labels.

Either way it’s wrong.  As a double board certified plastic surgeon it is my belief that we are meant to practice medicine for the greater cause of our patients; putting safety and well-being first and foremost.    While there are inherent risks associated with every surgical procedure, I want each and every one of you to know that you can help reduce these risks – it just takes being your biggest advocate and taking just a few steps can make all the difference in your safety:

  • Be cautious.  Have you ever heard the saying, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is?  Of course this doesn’t apply to everything, but if when it comes to invasive and non-invasive plastic surgery you get what you pay for.  Do your research on pricing; talk to friends, family or coworkers who may have tried Botox® to get an idea of what treatments generally cost.  Don’t jump at the first option just because you like the price tag.
  • Be proactive. What I mean by this is do your research and ask yourself a lot of questions.  Being a physician doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best at what they do.  When looking for a surgeon make sure you verify their credentials.  Are they board certified in their field of medicine; have they proven to the medical board that they have completed rigorous qualifications in order to attain board certification?  How many patients have they treated with Botox®?   Does the surgeon have excellent before and after photos from previous Botox® patients?  Have those previous patients spoken highly of the surgeon in their reviews?  Lots of things should be considered before you even meet with the surgeon.  Which leads me to recommend that you:
  • Be picky.  Meet with as many surgeons as you feel comfortable meeting.  Consultations are where you can get hard answers with your own ears and eyes.  When you go to the surgeon’s office make sure that the environment itself is clean and in a reputable location (meaning if you end up in a basement with no windows or a dilapidated shopping center, you may want to think twice about choosing that practice).  You have a right to decide who you allow to treat your skin care concerns and this is one instance where being picky is 100% encouraged!

Creating a long-standing relationship with your plastic surgeon, one who you trust and would entrust friends and family to visit as well, is important when helping ensure the best possible cosmetic results.  Sorting through lists of qualified surgeons can seem daunting, but trust me when I say all of the work is worth it.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding Botox®, patient safety or would like to discuss future goals you have for yourself, please don’t hesitate to contact Southern Plastic Surgery.  You can also follow me, Dr. David Whiteman, on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more updates and plastic surgery news in the future.

Breast Reduction for Men

One of the most common breast procedures performed on both men and women is breast reduction. Many patients often suffer from overly large breasts that may contribute to both physical and emotional health concerns. For men who suffer from gynecomastia (overly large breasts), a breast reduction is the ideal procedure to reduce the breast size, which does not respond to even the most dedicated nutrition and active regimens.

Breast Reduction for MenAccording to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), there were 22,939 male breast reduction procedures performed in 2013, with an 11 percent increase since 2012. Gynecomastia is a medical term that comes from a Greek phrase meaning “woman-like breasts,” and is typically caused by genetics, disease or a hormonal imbalance of estrogen and testosterone causing the breast glands to increase to an unusually large size. It can occur in one or both breasts, often leaving the breasts looking noticeably uneven.

I perform breast reduction to address the male patient’s underlying issue of excess fat, glandular tissue and skin. When performing a male breast reduction, I utilize liposuction and excision techniques in which a cannula (thin hollow tube) is used to loosen and eliminate excess fat with a vacuum suction through tiny incisions. Once the fat has been targeted, the remaining skin and glandular tissue is removed and tightened to create a smoother, more masculine chest. A nipple reduction may also be incorporated if the size of the patient’s nipple is too large.

Though male breast reduction results are permanent, excessive weight gain can cause breasts to become overly large again. I remind all of my patients that sustaining a healthy lifestyle is vital in order to preserve successful plastic surgery results.

If you are interested in male breast reduction or other plastic surgery procedures, contact Southern Plastic Surgery, P.C. today to schedule your consultation.  Also be sure to connect with me, Dr. David Whiteman, on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for the latest plastic surgery news and information.

Mommy Makeover Surgery: Now’s the Time

Although Atlanta is still too cold for us to think about warm weather and our desired “beach bodies,” if you are looking to pursue cosmetic surgery, now is the perfect time to start planning in order to recover before the temperatures begin to heat up. Mommy makeover surgery is one or more body contouring procedures I specifically recommend undergoing during this time of year.

TummyTuckAs most new parents will attest, having a baby is one of the greatest gifts. Most mothers will also agree, it can also take a major toll on your body physically. I will often recommend a mommy makeover for women who are looking to tighten up their waistline or undergo complete body rejuvenation. It is essential for female patients to wait until after they are finished having children before considering mommy makeover as additional pregnancies can reverse your results. Additionally, it is important for you to be in overall good physical and mental health before undergoing any type of cosmetic procedure. During your consultation, we will discuss your personal cosmetic surgery goals and what customized procedures will be performed in order to give you the look you desire.

Typically, mommy makeover is a comprehensive combination surgery incorporating both breast and body contouring procedures. If you suffer from sagging breasts or have lost volume, a breast augmentation or breast lift can be performed. To sculpt the areas on the abdomen where skin and muscle has stretched, I use tummy tuck surgery to target excess fat and skin and re-tighten weakened abdominal muscles for a firmer, more contoured outcome. Additionally, I can combine liposuction to remove stubborn isolated pockets of fat and help sculpt the midsection as well as the thighs, hips, and arms. By combining surgeries, the amount of downtime is significantly less than if you had individual procedures. Depending on the procedures performed, during your mommy makeover, each person’s recovery time will undoubtedly differ. I advise all my patients to regularly schedule follow-up appointments with me in order to receive recommendations for minimizing the risks of complications.

I like to remind all my patients that Southern Plastic Surgery, P.C. provides financing options for any reconstructive or cosmetic surgery service we provide. Included within our financing options is CareCredit℠. CareCredit℠ is an 18 month plan that charges no interest as long as monthly minimum payments are successfully met, and payment is received in-full within the 18 month promotional period. If you’re interested in mommy makeover surgery, or any of the other procedures I perform, please contact us today to schedule your consultation.  For the most up-to-date plastic surgery news and specials be sure to connect with me, Dr. David Whiteman on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.