Your Breast Reduction Questions Answered

Your Breast Reduction Questions Answered

Breasts come in every shape and size. But for some people with large breasts, they can be a nuisance. Large breasts might contribute to back pain and inhibit certain lifestyle goals. Breast reductions reduce the size of your breasts. Here are some of your top breast reduction questions answered.

How Does the Breast Reduction Procedure Work?

Breast Reduction

The surgeon will remove excess skin and a certain amount of breast tissue from the breast. They will then reshape the existing breast and lift it so that the breast is smaller and has the correct proportions to the body. If the surgeon didn’t lift the tissue, the breasts might sag.

Who is a Candidate for Breast Reduction?

If you live a healthy lifestyle and know that you want smaller breasts, you qualify. Realistic expectations are key. Cosmetic surgery might not be able to achieve everything you want, but your surgeon can talk about how to get the closest results.

These are some reasons that you might choose to have your breasts reduced:

  • Your neck, shoulders, or back experience chronic pain with no other explained cause.
  • Your breasts make it difficult to keep ideal posture.
  • Your breasts are so heavy that your bra straps cut into your shoulders.
  • Your bra causes your arms to feel numb and tingly.
  • You can’t be as physically active as you want because of your breast size.
  • The skin below your breasts is constantly irritated due to sweat and shedding skin cells.

Will Health Insurance Cover Breast Reduction?

Your health insurance coverage typically depends on your reason for choosing breast reduction. If you are experiencing physical symptoms like pain and discomfort, that qualifies the surgery as a medical necessity. In this case, many insurance plans will cover at least part of it. But if you’re only getting a reduction for aesthetic purposes, that is considered a cosmetic procedure that will not be covered.

Before booking your surgery, you should find out what kind of coverage your health insurance offers. There is a good chance that you will need to document the hardship that your physical symptoms cause you. You will also need to prove that there are no non-surgical alternatives that can help with the problem.

Different insurance plans also cover different amounts of tissue removal. You need to reach a certain threshold of tissue removal if you want the surgery to be covered as a reduction. The minimum tends to be about 200 grams, but some insurance policies will only cover surgeries that remove 800 grams per breast.

How Dramatic is the Reduction?

Different people will have different amounts of tissue removed. These will depend on what your original breast size is, along with the ratio of fat to blood supply. Your surgeon’s goal is to remove fatty tissue without removing too much blood.

You can’t plan for a certain cup size; a lot depends on how your breasts heal. With that said, most people go down a cup size for every 200 grams or so of breast tissue that is removed from the chest.

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about breast reduction surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Carpenter by calling (301) 724-5885 or contacting us online.

Why Facelifts are Growing More Popular with Younger People

The facelift is a cosmetic treatment that was once largely pursued by people well into their 60s. Currently, however, this surgery is gaining greater interest from far younger patients. For instance, in the U.S. in 2019 alone, almost 6,000 facelifts were performed on patients who were under 54. Surprisingly, this younger group of patients actually accounted for 34 percent of all facelifts performed in 2019. As facelifts grow increasingly popular among younger consumers, it’s vital to know why.

The Benefits Of Having A Facelift Performed Early On

Many people wait until facial aging is quite advanced before finally seeking surgical solutions in their 60s or even their 70s. Although having a facelift performed at this time can indeed produce impressive results, extensive adjustment and repositioning of facial tissues tends to lead to long and fairly complicated recoveries. Conversely, a younger patient with less advanced facial aging can usually expect a much shorter and easier period of recovery, and far more youthful-looking results overall.

It’s additionally important to note that patients in their 60’s who get facelifts are often trying to reverse nearly two decades of facial aging with a single procedure. These efforts can produce far more dramatic changes in a person’s appearance than if he or she was only seeking to reverse facial aging by just five to 10 years. Given that younger patients aren’t trying to turn back the proverbial hands of time quite so far, they’re often able to get far more natural looks from their treatments.

The Best Anti-Aging Solutions For Younger Patients

In your efforts to fight or reverse facial aging, considering the ongoing evolution of your skin is important, especially while you’re still relatively young. People who are younger than 30 should already be taking steps to protect and preserve the integrity of their skin, such as using sunblock on a regular basis and limiting their direct exposure to sunlight. By minimizing damage from the sun’s UV rays, you can stave off fine lines, deep facial creases, sagging skin, and sunspots among many other cosmetic issues.

As the first signs of facial aging start to rear their heads in your 30’s, products like Dysport and BOTOX can provide safe, simple, and non-surgical solutions to superficial wrinkles and fine lines. These injectables have the ability to relax wrinkle-causing muscles for several months. They also prevent contractions in the treated muscles so that any existing facial creases don’t worsen. These popular, injectable cosmetics are great for anyone who’s looking to slow or reverse the early signs of facial aging.

As people enter their 40s and move into their 50s, getting a mini facelift may be the best choice. In comparison to full facelift surgeries, mini facelifts are significantly less invasive. In fact, the recovery time for a mini facelift is approximately half that of a full facelift. Moreover, a mini facelift can often be performed as an outpatient procedure and while using local anesthesia only. Patients can get natural-looking results when choosing mini facelifts. With a mild recovery, the mini facelift can be ideal for anyone who’s looking to maintain a youthful appearance at this stage of life.

Looking Ahead To The Future

With such a vast range of facelift options for addressing a decidedly diverse array of age-related issues, it’s certainly no wonder why younger patients are increasingly interested in these treatments. Every patient has unique anatomy and unique aging concerns. As such, each patient requires needs-specific anti-aging solutions.

Looking ahead to the future while you’re still young is always a wise choice. It can help you enjoy a more youthful and natural-looking appearance as you grow older. If you want to know how to preserve your youthful good looks, scheduling a consultation appointment with a board-certified plastic surgeon at Allegany Plastic Surgery is the best way to start.

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about the best anti-aging solution for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Carpenter at Allegany Plastic Surgery by calling (301) 724-5885 or request your appointment online.

What’s New in Plastic Surgery? A Move Toward Individuality, Not Celebrity

When most people think about plastic surgery, they think about celebrities and their quest for eternal youth. While plastic surgery has a long history with celebrities, it’s more recently become about giving people the opportunity to look and feel like themselves. The shift toward individuality is reflected in the many different types of procedures and accessibility you can enjoy with the help of a board-certified plastic surgeon. If you’re considering plastic surgery, then here’s what to know about it and what’s new.

What Are the Most Popular Plastic Surgery Procedures?

The most popular plastic surgery procedure remains breast augmentation which is up 14% from last year. Other popular procedures include:

  • Liposuction has seen an increase in popularity as people look to sculpt their bodies
  • Nose jobs are also on the rise as people look to improve their breathing and appearance
  • Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, is increasingly popular as people look to improve their appearance and reduce the signs of aging
  • Breast lift surgery is popular among women who look to improve their breast shape and size.
  • Tummy tuck surgery is popular among men and women who want a better look and function of the stomach.
  • Facelift surgery is popular among those who want to reduce signs of aging

What Are the Newest Trends in Plastic Surgery?

Plastic surgery procedures are all about helping people achieve a unique look. In the past, patients would choose to have procedures designed to make them look like a celebrity or models. Nowadays, patients are more likely to want a natural look that enhances their features. There are a few reasons for this shift in thinking. First of all, celebrities are airbrushed and Photoshopped to perfection; it’s no wonder that people think they need to look like them. Secondly, social media has made it easier for people to see what their friends and family look like; they can compare themselves to real people, not celebrities. Finally, people realize that plastic surgery is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s essential to choose a surgeon who will take the time to understand your individual goals and help you achieve them.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are considering plastic surgery, the first step is finding a reputable surgeon you feel comfortable with. Make sure to do your research and ask around for recommendations. Schedule consultations with your plastic surgeon; this will allow you to ask questions, learn about their experience and training, and get a feel for their bedside manner. After meeting with several surgeons, you’ll be able to decide which one is right for you.

Contact Allegany Plastic Surgery today to schedule a consultation. Dr. Robert Carpenter is a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience helping patients achieve their desired results. Fill out our online form or give us a call to get started.

What You Should Know About Neck Lifts

A neck lift is a surgical procedure that involves removing excess fat and stretching the underlying tissue to tighten the skin around your neck and jowls. It’s also known as a rhytide lift or a platysmaplasty. A neck lift is an effective way to restore your natural V-shaped profile when you have developed jowls or loose skin from aging, weight gain, natural growth, or an accumulation of sun exposure. A neck lift may be the perfect solution if you feel self-conscious about your jawline and double chin appearance. Here is what you need to know about neck lifts before making an informed decision.

How Can a Neck Lift Alter Your Appearance?

A neck lift can eliminate sagging skin and excess fat from your jawline, making your face appear more youthful. This procedure can also help you achieve a more defined jawline, making you look slimmer and more attractive. A neck lift can also make your chin appear more prominent and improve the appearance of lines around your mouth.

Who is a Good Candidate for a Neck Lift?

A neck lift can be beneficial for both men and women of any age, ideally, those who want to reduce the appearance of sagging jowls and a double chin. A neck lift procedure is recommended for patients who do not smoke, have no medical conditions that may slow down the healing process, and are generally in good health.

What Happens During a Neck Lift Procedure?

The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and can last for a few hours. A neck lift surgeon will make incisions to remove excess skin and fat to restore the natural shape of your face and neck. The surgeon will lift and reposition the underlying muscles and connective tissue during a neck lift. The surgeon will then use sutures, staples, or clips to close the incisions.

Recovery Time After a Neck Lift

You will need to arrange for someone to drive you home from the hospital and help you with daily activities for a few weeks. You can expect to experience swellings, bruising, and discomfort after the surgery but your doctor will prescribe pain medication to alleviate this pain. Avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting so the stitches can remain intact. Your surgeon will provide detailed instructions on caring for your incisions and what you can do while recovering, speeding up the process, and minimizing pain and scarring.

How to Find a Qualified Plastic Surgeon

When choosing a plastic surgeon, you must find someone with whom you feel comfortable and confident. It would be best to choose a board-certified surgeon who operates in an accredited facility and has the proper training while doing the procedure. Before your consultation, you should do some research on the surgeon and the practice to make sure they are qualified and reputable.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are interested in learning more about the neck lift procedure, contact Allegany Plastic Surgery today to schedule a consultation appointment with our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Carptenter. His artistic touch and exceptional care for his patients will reassure you as you plan for your neck lift procedure.

What you Need to Know About Botox

BOTOX is currently one of the most popular and trusted cosmetic injectables in the world. Millions of people use it each year to diminish the appearance of dynamic, movement-related creases at the upper and lower face. BOTOX has also proven effective for alleviating migraines, treating hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), and minimizing spasms and twitches in overactive muscles. This injectable is a safe and purified form of the botulinum type A toxin. This is a fast-acting and incredibly potent neurotoxin that temporarily immobilizes targeted muscles. With procedures that last just 20 minutes on average, virtually no downtime, and the ability to achieve impressive results without incisions or tissue removal, the BOTOX brand has fast made itself a household name. Following is everything you need to know about BOTOX.

Why BOTOX is So Effective for Treating Dynamic Wrinkles

Dynamic wrinkles are movement-related creases that typically develop in a person’s mid to late thirties or early forties. They often manifest as crow’s feet, frown lines, or noticeable creases that travel horizontally across the brow. When muscles in these areas are moved to create facial expressions, they produce tension and stress in the smooth collagen layer that both defines and supports the skin. Over time, this tension causes the smooth collagen to develop cracks. Once these cracks exist, they’ll appear at the surface layer of the skin every time the related facial muscles are engaged. Unlike static wrinkles which are deeper and more pronounced, dynamic wrinkles are only visible when the expressive facial muscles are used. For instance, if you have crow’s feet, these lines will only be visible when you’re laughing, smiling, or squinting your eyes.

BOTOX injections release the muscles that cause these dynamic wrinkles. Best of all, given that BOTOX is strategically injected into only very select facial muscles, people who’ve been treated with this solution retain the ability to make a diverse range of natural-looking expressions.

Top Reasons to Include BOTOX in Your Anti-Aging Plan

BOTOX treatments are easy. In fact, they’re so easy that many people have them performed on their lunch breaks or immediately after work. Apart from mild swelling and redness, there aren’t many after-effects to contend with. For most people, BOTOX results begin manifesting right away. In most instances, gradual improvements will appear over the course of the first three to 10 days that follow treatment. As targeted muscles are immobilized, dynamic facial wrinkles are released, and the visage takes on an increasingly youthful appearance. Given that this procedure is so quick, and because there’s virtually no downtime, BOTOX can be the perfect way to refresh your looks ahead of your wedding, your next big vacation, your high school reunion, or even an important job interview.

One of the greatest attributes of the BOTOX cosmetic is the fact that its results are only short-term. The average BOTOX treatment lasts approximately three to four months. This means that if you don’t absolutely love your post-treatments look, you can simply wait for this neurotoxin to wear off. Within just a short period of time, the targeted area will gradually regain its pre-treatment appearance. Moreover, if you like how BOTOX makes you look and want to retain your increased confidence, your BOTOX injections can be safely repeated several times a year. BOTOX can even be safely paired with a number of popular dermal fillers.

Areas that BOTOX Can Be Used to Treat

BOTOX is often used to treat crow’s feet or lines that radiate outwards from the corners of the eyes, horizontal lines traveling across the brow, and “11-shaped” frown lines that form directly between the brows. It is also effective for treating smoker’s lines or perioral wrinkles that radiate outwards from the lips. This injectable solution is effective in nearly all facial areas in which ongoing movements have caused cracks or other blemishes in the skin’s supporting collagen layer. There are even people who’ve used BOTOX to streamline and refine the jaw by temporarily immobilizing the masseter muscle to promote volume loss.

What to Expect After a BOTOX Treatment

At Allegany Plastic Surgery, our cosmetic BOTOX procedures are performed in a short series of targeted injections across the visage. These injections are made with a very small and fine-tipped needle and thus, discomfort is always minimal. As soon as our treatments are complete, our patients can walk out of our doors, and can immediately resume their normal activities. We offer a dynamic range of surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures.

Schedule a Consultation

If you have multiple aesthetic issues you’d like to correct, we can help you find the perfect procedure or procedures for meeting your goals. Get in touch with Allegany Plastic Surgery today to learn more about BOTOX or to set up a consultation appointment.

What you Do Before Liposuction Really Matters

Are you thinking of undergoing a liposuction procedure? If so, there are some boxes you’ll need to tick leading up to your surgery to get the best results. For instance, you need an experienced and knowledgeable surgeon, overall good health, and realistic expectations.


However, another essential element to consider is you. What you do before your liposuction procedure can have a huge impact on your surgery results.

Here are some things you should do leading up to your liposuction procedure.

1. Build muscle

Although liposuction gets rid of exercise-resistant fat, it’s up to you to tone the underlying muscles for a leaner and slimmer contour. For example, to get “six-pack” abs, you’ll need to work on your abdominal muscles.

Hence, focus on building your muscles several months before your procedure to attain the best results. This not only helps you achieve your desired looks sooner but also improves your strength and position for faster healing.

2. Hit your goal weight

While you don’t need to achieve any specific weight to undergo liposuction, it’s wise to reach your target weight several months before surgery. But, remember that achieving your target weight doesn’t translate to getting your ideal body.

At times, you may have stubborn fat in certain areas, even when you’re at your ideal weight. Liposuction can help you get rid of this excess fat.

3. Don’t use nicotine

Using nicotine can sabotage your plastic surgery results because it restricts blood vessels, decreasing blood flow. Your blood vessels play a vital role in your liposuction results and restricting them compromises your results.

Additionally, your blood flow has a huge impact on your recovery process as it determines how fast you heal and your likelihood of developing blood clots. Therefore, to ensure a quick recovery and a safe surgery procedure, stop smoking once you schedule your liposuction.

4. Change your diet

A healthy diet is important for everyone, but it becomes more vital when you’re getting ready for liposuction. Your pre-liposuction diet should increase your skin elasticity and boost your health for a better healing process.

It’s advisable to target foods high in antioxidants and water for your pre-liposuction diet. These include:

• Omega 3 fatty acids
• Celery
• Certain spices such as turmeric and cinnamon
• Cucumber
• Squashes, e.g., zucchini and pumpkin
• Different types of berries including blackberries, blueberries, and acai

Also, drink plenty of water daily.

5. Prep your home

Lastly, get your home ready before your liposuction procedure for your recovery phase. You may need to take a few days to rest and relax after your procedure to boost your healing. So, what should you do to prep your home?

• Arrange for help with children and pets
• Buy foods that are easy to prepare
• Put essentials items, such as lotion, within easy reach
• Organize your wardrobe to ensure you can find comfortable clothes easily
• Get extra-long charge cords for your electronic devices

Long-lasting liposuction results

Following these liposuction prep tips set you up for a successful procedure. Contact Allegany Plastic Surgery today to request your liposuction consultation.

What You Do Before Liposuction Really Matters

Liposuction is quite an intense procedure. For those who are planning to undergo this surgery, there are ways to help the recovery process. It will take some planning and dedication, but these pre-surgery preparations will be guaranteed to make life much easier afterward. Here is what to do before surgery:

Achieve Goal Weight

While liposuction does remove excess subcutaneous fat, cutting down on the amount to be removed will ensure better results from the procedure. Attaining a goal weight does not mean a perfect body. Liposuction is used to get rid of stubborn fat deposits that exercise does not, as well as give the body a more streamlined shape. Those planning a liposuction procedure can begin losing weight a few months beforehand to make sure their weight is stable by surgery time.

Work On Building Muscle

Liposuction is designed to remove fat that doesn’t go away with exercise. This will give the body some great contours and a more pleasing shape. The underlying muscles are important. Building strength and muscle will potentially aid with healing. Any muscle that is built before the liposuction procedure will be revealed afterward, as well. The hard work put into health and fitness will be evident. A workout regimen can be started a few months beforehand to give your body enough time to build muscle.

Improve Diet

A healthful diet is prudent and highly recommended. When it comes to a pre-liposuction diet, foods that are hydrating and help boost skin’s elasticity are recommended. Some foods to incorporate a few months before surgery include:

  • Celery
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Mixed berries
  • Cucumber
  • Oils such as olive or walnut
  • Squashes

Cut Out Nicotine

Using nicotine can produce significant negative results in the healing and recovery process after surgery. This chemical effects the blood vessels and reduces blood flow. Blood flow is a critical component of healing after injury or surgery. To help assure the best possible recovery, it is advised patients stop tobacco usage a few months prior to their surgery.

Prepare The Home

A significant portion of the healing and recovery will be done at home. To make their environments more conducive to healing, patients can make some small changes and preparations such as:

  • Securing some reliable help for any children and/or pets
  • Getting foods that are easy to make
  • Investing in charging cords for electronic devices that are extra long
  • Making sure essential items can be easily reached from the bed
  • Making sure there are plenty of comfortable clothes to wear that won’t inhibit healing

Preparation Matters

All of these areas of life effect recovery and outcomes. Preparing the body and home before surgery is a gift patients can give themselves.

If you are interested in liposuction, call the staff at Allegany Plastic Surgery today to schedule your consultation.

What to Expect During Your Rhinoplasty Recovery

Rhinoplasty is one of the best ways to correct a variety of concerns about your nose. This can include bumps, humps, curves, and overall misproportion. If you’re considering rhinoplasty, then it’s important to know that it can come with a substantial recovery time that will require some specific steps to follow. Here’s what to expect from this process and how you can make it go smoothly and successfully.

Have Realistic Expectations

One tip for a good rhinoplasty recovery is to have realistic expectations. Rhinoplasty can improve your nose’s projection and shape, as well as correct certain anatomical concerns that can cause symptoms. Rhinoplasty can’t create a new nose or change the overall look of your face. Often, it’s best when paired with certain procedures like chin augmentation for best results. Your plastic surgeon can give you the best idea of what can be achieved with rhinoplasty.

Prepare Beforehand

It can be helpful to make sure you and your home are ready for your recovery. This means making arrangements for someone to drive you home afterward and arranging your home to make sure you’re safe and comfortable. Make sure to choose a spot in your home to designate as your recovery area and make sure it’s comfortable and has the materials you’ll need within reach. You should also make sure someone can keep an eye on you for the first few days of your recovery. Make sure to prepare some reheatable meals ahead of time so you don’t need to worry about cooking and make sure any pet or childcare can be taken care of by someone else.

Take It Easy

Rhinoplasty is an outpatient procedure, which means you’ll return home after surgery. With that being said, the operation is performed under general anesthesia so you’ll undergo a brief monitoring period before you go home. Your nose will be bandaged and splinted, and there may be some residual bleeding. You’ll be given some detailed care instructions to follow to make sure you stay safe and healthy, so follow these as best you can. This will help you get the rest you need for a Rhinoplasty Recovery.

Make Sure to Keep Doctor’s Appointments

Follow-up appointments are key to making sure your recovery is progressing like it should. Make sure to keep your appointments and bring up any concerns you have with Dr. Carpenter. You’ll likely have your bandages and splints removed a few days after surgery, depending on your progress. Since the nose is a delicate structure and can experience a lot of swelling, it’s important to keep an eye out for any concerns as your recovery progresses.

Be Patient

Even when the bandages and splint come off, your nose will still be a bit swollen. You should also expect a lot of bruising, especially around your eyes. Cold compresses can help with this, along with taking prescribed anti-inflammatories. Although following care steps can help, you’ll need to have patience while your body adjusts. Some residual swelling can last for months after your procedure, and in some cases your nose can continue to settle into its final shape for up to a year. Even though the results are worth it, it’s important to be patient!

Schedule a Consultation

The best way to learn more about your rhinoplasty options is by meeting with a board certified plastic surgeon who specializes in achieving excellent rhinoplasty results. We invite you to meet with Dr. Carpenter at our Allegany office by calling or filling out our online form.

What to Expect After Your Breast Reduction Surgery

Whatever your reason for having breast reduction surgery, you’re on the road to recovery now that it’s over. If you’re wondering what to expect from the rest of your breast reduction recovery, then your board-certified plastic surgeon can help. Here’s what to know about the two stages of breast reduction recovery and what you can expect.

First Stage of Breast Reduction Recovery

After surgery, your breasts will be covered with dressings. This usually includes gauze padding, along with a specialized surgical bra to reduce swelling and tension on your new breasts. Our team will give your accompanying friend or family member plenty of materials for re-dressing your incisions, as well as detailed aftercare instructions. Expect to have a moderate amount of pain for about one week after your surgical procedure. Your breasts and the sides of your chest will ache. You’ll be prescribed pain medication to help you rest, so take these according to Dr. Carpenter’s instructions. Day by day, you should begin to feel better.

Blood or a watery fluid will drain from the incision sites into special tubes placed to collect it (these will be removed within a week of surgery). The draining should slow down in a few days – if it doesn’t, make sure to contact your plastic surgeon.  It’s important to avoid anything strenuous for the first 1-2 weeks. This includes lifting heavy objects or lifting your arms over your head. If you need help around the house with pet or child care, make sure to enlist help from a friend or family member so you can focus on resting. Make sure to take short walks around the house to keep your blood circulating but avoid elevating your heart rate. For the first three weeks, you’ll need to sleep on your back, avoiding sleeping on your stomach or side. It can be helpful to sleep in a recliner or couch with plenty of pillows to prop you up.

After about 4-6 weeks, you can generally return to your regular schedule – but avoid exercising until Dr. Carpenter clears you to do so.

Second Stage of Breast Reduction Recovery

You should start to feel like yourself at this point. Resume your activities, but don’t push yourself too hard as you build up your strength. It’s best to avoid exercises that put pressure on your breasts like running, jumping, or lifting. If you do gentle exercises, make sure to wear a supportive sports bra (avoid underwire bras until Dr. Carpenter indicates otherwise). By now, your incisions should begin to fade from red to pink to brownish. They will continue to fade for up to a year, and you can begin using silicone scar treatments to help fade their appearance at this time. Our team can recommend products as needed.

It’s normal to feel some numbness in your nipples or in the sides of your chest. For some women, the numbness never goes away – but for others, it usually subsides over the following months. You may still feel some achiness or intermittent pain, but this should also fade within the next year. For the majority of women, all swelling fades within 3-6 months, and final breast appearance and size become apparent at that time.

Schedule a Consultation

If you’re ready to learn more about breast reduction or have questions about your recovery, contact Allegany Plastic Surgery by calling our Cumberland office or filling out our online form.

What Are Stretch Marks And What Can You Do To Get Rid Of Them?

Stretch marks are a normal part of adulthood. Due to growth during puberty, hormone change periods, weight loss, weight gain, pregnancy, and/or illnesses, people can experience changes in their bodies. Part of these changes become visible on the skin. The skin is resilient; however, rapid expansion or contraction can cause the connective tissue to be stretched beyond its limits. Narrow streaks, stripes, or lines develop as the skin heals after the breach.

In the early stages, stretch marks appear as red, purple, pink, or reddish-brown. They look like wrinkles and may feel slightly raised and itchy. Over time, the color fades to white or silver and they become flat. Different people have stretch marks that vary in severity. Although they are not harmful to health, treating them is a concern for some people due to their unpleasant appearance. They commonly appear on the arms, back, shoulders, breasts, buttocks, legs, hips, or stomach.

Causes and Risk Factors of Stretch Marks

Several conditions contribute to stretch marks. They can develop when people experience puberty, pregnancy, excessive weight gain or loss, or have high levels of cortisone from medications or diseases. No matter the cause, stretch marks happen when the skin cannot return to normal after periods of change. Other factors such as family history, chronic diseases, obesity, bodybuilding, and age-related changes in skin collagen can also lead to developing stretch marks. Collagen makes the skin more elastic, meaning it is important to have sufficient collagen to minimize the effects of body changes.

Stretch Mark Treatment

Stretch marks are considered scars and are permanent. After some time, they become less noticeable for mild cases. Cases in which they cover a larger portion of the body may benefit from commercial treatment options that are available now.

Creams, lotions, and gels applied to the skin can help diminish the marks. Those containing retinol and tretinoin may improve the appearance of new stretch marks or help rebuild collagen levels, respectively.

Board-certified plastic surgeons can help evaluate treatment options that are possible for each case. Although there are no miracle cures for stretch marks, treatments can improve the skin’s appearance and texture significantly.

Some of the procedures to reduce the appearance of stretch marks are chemical peels, microdermabrasion, radiofrequency, ultrasound, cosmetic surgery, microneedling, laser, and light therapies.

Chemical peels remove dead and damaged skin cells and promote skin regeneration. A similar type of treatment is microdermabrasion, which removes a thin layer of skin to promote the growth of new and more elastic skin. A newer, non-invasive treatment called microneedling can also be effective in treating stretch marks in certain areas. Microneedling induces controlled skin wounds to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin for long periods of time after treatment. It can be combined with other treatments, such as laser stimulation, to increase its effectiveness and longevity.

On the surgical side, there are several plastic surgery procedures that can reduce or eliminate stretch marks on a specific area of the body. These include abdominoplasty (or tummy tuck), breast lift, and thigh lift. These procedures involve removing excess skin, tightening the skin, and flattening and removing any remaining stretch marks.

Schedule a Consultation Today

Are you ready to experience a smooth skin tone in your worst problem areas? Contact the skincare experts at Allegany Plastic Surgery today. Dr. Robert Carpenter can walk you through your options to treat your troublesome stretch marks during your initial consultation and prescribe a treatment plan that meets your needs and current skin condition. Call us at 301-338-8519 to schedule your consultation today.

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