When Is the Right Time for a Facelift?

When Is the Right Time for a Facelift?

When you’re considering plastic surgery, it’s normal to look for easy answers. However, plastic surgery isn’t always so black and white. This can be especially so when you’re looking at your candidacy for your chosen procedure, and it might take a conversation with your plastic surgeon to determine what your options are and whether your chosen procedure will benefit you most. With a facelift procedure, each patient’s unique situation and goals are some of the most important ways to determine this, so here are some factors to consider as you plan your consultation.

Age

It can seem tempting to look for a magic number when it comes to age and plastic surgery, but every patient ages differently, so this isn’t always the best indicator of whether you can benefit from a procedure. Most plastic surgeons would recommend against procedures on patients that are too young or too elderly, of course, but it’s more effective to objectively look at your signs of aging and assess whether they can benefit from tightening and lifting. As a general rule, a facelift can remove a decade off of your features, so you should take that into consideration when looking at your options.

Health

This can be an important consideration for any plastic surgery procedure, but it’s always important to keep in mind. If you’re opting for surgery, you should be in a period of good health and able to recover from an invasive procedure. For this reason, it’s important to discuss any health conditions you might have with Dr. Carpenter so he can assess whether you might be putting yourself at risk. This can include whether you’ve recently undergone childbirth or nursing since some patients opt for a facelift as part of their mommy makeover procedure. If you’re immunocompromised, Dr. Carpenter might recommend you postpone your surgery.

Non-Surgical Options

Although facelift is one of the most effective facial rejuvenation options, it may not be for everyone. If you’re unable to undergo surgery or simply aren’t showing substantial signs of aging yet, you may benefit from exploring non-surgical options like fillers, neuromodulators, or skin treatments. Most patients that opt for a facelift have already undergone some non-surgical treatments before deciding that a facelift will benefit them most, so it’s worth consulting with our non-surgical experts to look at your options.

Whatever your goals for facial rejuvenation, Dr. Carpenter can professionally recommend the best treatment plan for you during a consultation at our Cumberland office. To schedule a private consultation, contact us by calling or filling out our online form.

Think You Can’t Breastfeed After Implants? Guess Again

There is a common misconception that women aren’t able to breastfeed after having breast augmentation surgery. However, this is not always the case. The ability to breastfeed after this type of procedure depends on many factors like the original state of the breasts prior to surgery and the techniques used during surgery. In most cases, women can still breastfeed after having breast augmentation surgery, but there are a few things to know.

Breastfeeding

Potential Problems of Breastfeeding After Breast Augmentation Surgery

Nipple sensitivity is one potential problem. After having your breasts enlarged, either with saline or silicone implants, you might find that your nipples are more or less sensitive than they use to be.

Exaggerated engorgement is another potential problem. After giving birth, you could experience breast engorgement, which means they are very tender and swollen. This often times results in chills, fever, and intense pain. This can obviously make you unfit to breastfeed during these complications.

The last and most common potential problem is the risk of decreased milk production. Although most mothers are still able to produce their own milk after having breast augmentation surgery, some experience a decrease in the amount that is produced. Thereby, you might not produce enough milk to adequately provide all of the nourishment your child requires naturally. You can speak with a lactation consultant and your pediatrician to discuss the best options for a feeding plan if this happens.

Is My Ability to Breastfeed Affected by the Type of Surgery?

The type of surgery can affect breastfeeding options. Generally, if your milk gland system is left intact, then your chances of breastfeeding increase. Generally, this means that your implant will be placed underneath the chest muscle and behind your milk glands. If you opt for incisions through your armpit or under the fold of your breast, you will most likely experience less difficulty in breastfeeding.

If you opt for incisions around the areolae, there is a higher risk of difficulty in breastfeeding, but this cannot be determined until after the surgery and the extent of the nerve damage is revealed. After all, nerves are what trigger the brain to release oxytocin and prolactin during breastfeeding, which are the two hormones responsible for milk production. If the nerves around the areolae are damaged or cut, you run a higher risk of having low milk production. However, this cannot be fully determined until you attempt to breastfeed.

Does silicone cause harm to the baby while breastfeeding?

Currently, there is no evidence that shows harmful side effects of silicone implants leaking into breast milk. After all, silicone is widely used in the environment, and it has even been used to help treat infants who are experiencing colic, or stomach gas. Saline-filled implants can be a better option if you want to avoid the chance or silicone ruptures.

Will the Shape or Size of My Breasts Affect Breastfeeding?

If you have insufficient glandular tissue, this can be a huge factor in milk production. It can cause a decrease in your overall milk production, meaning you might not produce enough to sustain your infant’s needs. If your breast augmentation surgery was due to having underdeveloped or hypoplastic breasts, you run the risk of producing less milk.

These types of breasts have a lack of normal fullness, seem swollen at the tip, and are very narrow. During pregnancy, these types of breasts grow very little if not at all, and they usually appear to be widely spaced before augmentation. If this is how you would have described your breasts prior to your surgery, then you have a higher risk of producing less milk. Your plastic surgeon can make sure you know what to expect during a consultation.

Schedule a Consultation

The most important step you can take in ensuring you can breastfeed successfully after your breast augmentation is speaking with your plastic surgeon about your options and hopes for nursing. To get started, contact our Allegany office by calling or filling out our online form.

Preparing for Your Breast Augmentation Recovery

Although you’re probably excited about your breast augmentation procedure, there can still be a lot to prepare before your surgery date. This can seem a little overwhelming, but you can be sure that our professional staff will make sure you have everything you need. In the meantime, here are some basics to prepare yourself and make sure your recovery is smooth and effective.

Make Sure You Have Everything You Need

It can seem like there’s a never-ending list of things you might need during your recovery, but it’s a good idea to take the time to have these things nearby. During your initial recovery, you likely won’t be getting up, moving around, or certainly not making a trip to the store, so you should make yourself a list of things you think you might appreciate after your surgery. This should include filling prescriptions, prepping some reheatable meals, and collecting plenty of pillows to keep yourself elevated. If you’re nervous about your recovery, it can be helpful to gather a list of books, shows, or movies to indulge in while you rest.

Make Sure Your Home is Ready

Because your initial recovery can be difficult and uncomfortable at times, it’s important to set up a room where you can rest. This should be climate-controlled and have a large and comfy bed or couch. It should also have a place where you can keep things like water or medications nearby. If you have any specific rituals or requirements for sleeping like darkness or white noise, you should be sure to provide these beforehand so that you can get plenty of rest in the days following your surgery. It can even be helpful to spend a night or two in your recovery den before your surgery so that you can adjust.

Make Sure You Have Help

Breast augmentation can be an extensive surgery, meaning you’ll be required to be taken home by a close friend or family member. Once home, it’s important to have someone watch after you for the first few days and assist with any children, pets, or chores as needed. This is because you’ll be asked to limit any lifting or arm movement during the first few days. You should be sure to review your surgical and recovery plans with this helper so that they understand which signs of complication to watch out for and when to take any prescription medications. Our staff will provide important phone numbers during your recovery if needed, so you should make sure these are in a visible place.

It’s most important to remember the excellent results you’ll achieve with your breast augmentation, and remember that your recovery is only one step in the process. To schedule your consultation or ask any questions about your breast augmentation procedure, contact our Cumberland office by calling or filling out our online form.

Mini, Traditional or Extended: Which Tummy Tuck is Best for Me?

You may have heard of the tummy tuck procedure, but it might surprise you to hear that there are different types of tummy tucks. Each is suited to a different goal. Dr. Carpenter can give you the best idea of what procedure would be best for you and your goals. As you schedule your consultation, you should know about your options.

Mini Tummy Tuck

This tummy tuck is the least invasive and generally produces the least dramatic results. “Mini” tummy tuck usually involves a combination of liposuction of the upper and central abdomen and a conservative removal of loose skin in the lower abdomen. It can be a great option for patients who are looking for only a minor adjustment and a little skin removed from the area below the belly button. This technique does not include  tightening the abdominal muscles. Patients return to usual activities in a few days. If you’re looking for a subtle improvement and minimal downtime, a mini tummy tuck might be your best option.

Traditional Tummy Tuck

As the name implies, this is the most common type of tummy tuck and produces a great balance of results and downtime. This tummy tuck is most beneficial in postpartum women because surgical tightening of the abdominal muscles (which become stretched out by pregnancy) is performed. Usually all the excess skin and fatty tissue below the belly button is removed, and the upper abdominal skin is flattened and tightened. Stretch marks below the belly button are removed with the skin and fat. Return to driving and normal daily activities is usually two weeks, although it may 4-6 weeks to return to vigorous exercise or heavy lifting.

Extended Tummy Tuck

This technique addresses the abdomen and flanks, or “love handle” areas if the lower abdominal roll extends around almost to the back. This is most common in massive weight loss patients. A vertical incision may be used as well as an extended horizontal incision, resulting in a comprehensive surgical solution for excess skin and fat all around the lower body and flanks. As in traditional tummy tuck, the abdominal muscles are tightened as well.  An extended tummy tuck downtime is similar to traditional tummy tuck. It can produce dramatic results if you’re looking for a complete abdominal and flank rejuvenation.

Belt lipectomy

As the name implies, Belt Lipectomy is a 360 degree removal of excess fat and skin from the lower body, basically combining a lower body lift with the extended abdominoplasty.  This improves the contour of the buttock and lateral thighs (also called a lower body lift) and the  flanks and abdomen. Patients who have experienced massive weight loss are the most common candidates. Recovery time may be slightly longer than  abdominoplasty, but the results can be dramatic!

During your consultation, Dr. Carpenter can assess your body and recommend the best procedure for you and your intended goals. To schedule your consultation, contact our office in Cumberland or fill out our form online!

Is Eyelid Surgery Right for Me?

If you are thinking about your eyelid surgery options, your plastic surgeon will be able to offer guidance about what will work best for you. Since the eyes can have a big effect on the overall face and vice versa, there are a few different variables that have to be considered. The most important of these is whether you’re a good candidate for this procedure. Here are some factors to consider as you plan your consultation.

The right candidate:

  • Is the ideal age for eyelid surgery

Although there are no hard and fast rules for eyelid surgery when it comes to age, patients who are experiencing signs of aging usually benefit most from eyelid surgery. This is because a loss of volume and skin elasticity can cause sagging associated with eyelid surgery. In most cases, patients should be old enough to elect for surgery, however.

  • Is in good health

Just like other plastic surgeries, the results you get will be optimal if you are in good physical health and don’t smoke. You should also have realistic expectations and have a positive attitude towards your recovery. Dr. Carpenter will discuss any conditions or health concerns that might put you at greater risk while undergoing surgery, so be sure to bring a list of these and any medications you take.

  • Does not require a brow lift instead

Blepharoplasty and the brow lift can be somewhat difficult to distinguish when it comes to eye rejuvenation since hooded or sagging eyes can be caused by looseness in the brow rather than only the eyes. This makes it especially important to discuss your options with your plastic surgeon, who can make a recommendation. These two procedures can be performed at the same time, in many cases.

  • Does not have certain eye conditions

Although this might seem obvious, patients that have eye conditions like glaucoma or infections should avoid eyelid surgery. Although eyelid surgery does not deal with the eye itself, it’s still important that your eyes are healthy and will not compromise your results or recovery, which will include incisions. These can sometimes even be placed inside the eyelid, in the case of lower eyelid surgery, and come into direct contact with the eye. For this reason, it’s important to discuss any health conditions you may have.

Determining whether eyelid surgery is best for you is an important step of your consultation with Dr. Carpenter. To begin discussing your options, contact our office by calling or filling out our online form.

 

How Long Do Breast Implants Last?

Although breast implants do not actually perish, they’re not meant to last a lifetime. The typical silicone or saline implants can last for 10 years or more before a replacement is needed. But the majority are taken out earlier because of cosmetic or complication worries. So, if you’re wondering when you may require an implant replacement, continue reading to learn more the most common causes for removal.

Breast Augmentation

Hardening

Some women may develop capsular contracture, or hardened scarring around the implants. In addition, this may result in tightness, tenderness, and hardening. While the development of scar tissue is a natural response to the implant, hardening of this scarring will need to be addressed with a revision breast augmentation to remove the scar tissue and place fresh implants.

Saline rupture

Saline implants essentially act as water balloons. When a tear or rupture occurs, the saline will leave the shell, resulting in an immediately noticeable deflation. This saline is completely safe to be absorbed by the body, so there is no immediate danger if you experience a rupture. However, you’ll want to address your deflated implant as soon as possible to restore the natural appearance of your breast. It is important to note that ruptures are very rare, but the risk of one happening increases the older your implants are.

Silicone rupture

While still rare, silicone implants can also rupture. Silicone gel is quite a bit thicker compared to saline. If a silicone implant ruptures, the gel will likely stay within the scar tissue formed around the implant. However, in some cases, the silicone can leak into the body and cause harm. Because a silicone implant keeps its shape during a rupture, it is known as a silent rupture. The use of silicone implants will require regular MRIs to ensure their structure and safety. Some choose to have their implants replaced after so many years to lower their risk of rupture once again.

While silicone ruptures can go undetected, if you have any of these symptoms, contact your plastic surgeon right away:

  • Decreased breast size
  • Hard knots
  • Uneven appearance of the breasts
  • Numbing
  • Burning
  • Changes in sensation

Rippling

Rippling occurs when the implants begin to weaken, showing visible lines in the implant shell that can even be seen through the breast skin. This cosmetic complication can occur in saline implants. Although rippling is not dangerous, you will want to have a revision at some point to restore the appearance of your breasts.

Preparing for a Revision Augmentation

It is important to see a board certified plastic surgeon for your breast implant removal or replacement. It is best to go to your original plastic surgeon if possible.

Based on the concerns you are experiencing, your surgeon may recommend:

  • implant removal
  • removal and breast lift
  • removal of hardened scar tissue
  • implant replacement

In Summary

Implants are not ensured to endure a lifetime. A removal or replacement procedure may be necessary if you experience complications, or if you want to reduce your risk of complications. Whatever the reason, always make sure you are prepared for the possibility of a second procedure.

Getting Ready for Your Rhinoplasty Recovery

If you are ready to undergo plastic surgery, it’s a good idea to think ahead about how to make the best of your recovery. In the case of rhinoplasty, your recovery can be long and more involved than other procedures, so here are some ways to make yourself ready.

Medications

Dr. Carpenter will prescribe medications for you to take during your initial recovery, which usually includes painkillers and anti-nausea medications. It’s important to fill these prescriptions before your surgery date so that they’re available when you come home after your procedure. Unfortunately, these medications can sometimes cause constipation, so you should be sure to adjust your after-surgery diet accordingly.

Recovery Den

The most important part of your recovery will be resting and allowing your body to heal. For this reason, you should carefully select the place you’d like to set up for your recovery. A big and comfy bed or couch is best, especially one that is in a quiet, climate-controlled room. You’ll need to stock up on pillows, as these will help your head and upper body stay elevated, as well as prevent you from rolling onto your side as you sleep. Also, make sure you have an area in this room where you can keep medications, snacks, and water nearby.

Aftercare Instructions

Before your surgery date, Dr. Carpenter will make sure you have a detailed list of aftercare instructions to follow, so you should read these a couple of times to familiarize yourself with the steps you and your helper will need to follow. This includes avoiding certain things like blood thinners, some dietary supplements, alcohol, nicotine, and medications that can intervene with the effectiveness of others’. This might also include how long to wear your nasal splint for, as well as when to begin wearing glasses again. You’ll also be instructed to come in for check-up appointments with Dr. Carpenter.

These are only a few things to get in order before your surgery date, but Dr. Carpenter will make sure you have all the information you need to make it a smooth recovery. To schedule your consultation or ask any questions you might have about your rhinoplasty procedure, contact our office by calling or filling out our online form.

Determining Whether Eyelid Surgery Is Right For You

Blepharoplasty, commonly known as eyelid surgery, is a very popular plastic surgery procedure which is specifically designed to improve and enhance the cosmetic appearance of your eyelids. It also helps to repair any functional problems of the eyelids such as puffy eyes or eyelids that are obstructing your vision. Eyelid surgery not only improves the eyes but also adds a youthful, refreshed look to your overall face.

Why Choose Blepharoplasty?

Dr. Robert J. Carpenter of Allegany Plastic Surgery in Cumberland, MD advises his patients to choose eyelid surgery for various reasons. A common goal of all these patients is their desire for cosmetic improvement. People who generally feel that they look sleepy, angry, or tired because of hooded eyelids, drooping eyebrows, wrinkles around eyes, and frown lines are good candidates for blepharoplasty because these things may not be able to be corrected with non-surgical procedures.

Upper Vs. Lower Blepharoplasty

The position of the eyebrows is very important in the appearance of the upper eyelid. When you begin to age or lose weight, your eyebrow tends to fall and create visual weight on the upper face. As a result of this, excessive fat and skin falls onto the upper lid area and thus it gives a hooded or dark appearance.  With the lower eyelid, the most important consideration is a loss of fatty tissue or loss of muscle tone, causing wrinkling, dark circles, or bulging.

What Are My Options?

There are several types of cosmetic interventions that your surgeon can recommend to you. This will depend on the appearance of your eyelids and the types of results that you are hoping to achieve from plastic surgery. Some of these procedures include:

  • Structural fat grafting: the fat tissue of the thinning eyelid is enhanced, thus improving wrinkling and dark circles
  • Brow elevation: the falling eyebrow is lifted and repositioned
  • Excision of any extra drooping skin or excessive fat pads
  • Botox or other non-surgical skin or injectable treatments

The functional impairments associated with drooping eyelids are very common. They can cause visual field obstruction, in which the vision is impaired because of drooping upper eyelids. There is another condition associated with drooping lower eyelid known as ectropion. This condition causes irritation and dryness in the eye because of increased contact of the eye with the air. If you are experiencing any of the mentioned problems, you should opt for blepharoplasty as early as possible.

To discover your options for facial rejuvenation with Dr. Carpenter, contact Allegany Plastic Surgery to schedule a consultation. To do this call our office or fill out an online form. Be sure to check out our extensive gallery of before-and-after photos to see what Dr. Carpenter can do for you.

A Quick Guide to Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty: An Overview

Rhinoplasty is commonly known as nose reshaping surgery, or even a nose job. Despite its common reputation, the nose reshaping procedure has a need for excellent technical skills and surgical artistry to achieve both a balanced nasal functionality and appearance. This procedure changes the appearance and shape of the nose and also opens the airway, taking into account the relationship of the nose to the chin, eyes, upper lip, and overall facial balance. An experienced facial plastic surgeon can create a careful preoperative plan with the help of photographs, which are often morphed to see what results can be expected. Patients of Cumberland, Hagerstown, and Morgantown, MD can visit Allegany Plastic Surgery in Cumberland and consult with Dr. Robert Carpenter regarding their nose surgery.

Candidates for Rhinoplasty

Patients who are not satisfied with the appearance of their nose or have some functional breathing problems because of their nose should opt for rhinoplasty. A functional surgery may adjust the soft tissue, cartilages, and upper bones of the nose. Rhinoplasty can also cosmetically change all aspects of the nose, including the nostrils, nasal tip, nasal dorsum, nasal airway, and the junction of the nose and upper lip. Candidates for rhinoplasty should be in good health before they schedule their surgery. They should also be optimistic about the results and carry a positive outlook for postoperative recovery.

The Rhinoplasty Procedure

The surgery usually takes between 1 to 3 hours under anesthesia, depending on how extensive the procedure is and what techniques are used. Incisions can be made either inside the nostrils (closed technique) or across the columella (open technique). Each technique offers benefits, and Dr. Carpenter can choose the right one for you during your consultation. Additional steps can include adjusting the nostrils or area between the nose and mouth, as well as cartilage grafting to enhance the bridge of the nose.

Rhinoplasty Recovery

Immediately following surgery, the incisions will be closed and gauzed packing or a splint will be put in place around your nose to protect it. Dr. Carpenter will then give you a set of postoperative instructions which will help you during your healing process. Many patients are able to return to light work within two weeks of surgery, but strenuous activity should still be monitored until cleared by Dr. Carpenter. You will be able to see results immediately following the procedure, but the full results may take up to a year to fully settle in.

Rhinoplasty can be one of the best ways to reshape and balance the face with subtle adjustments. It’s important to seek out a skilled facial plastic surgeon with experience in producing excellent results from rhinoplasty patients. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Carpenter, contact Allegany Plastic Surgery by calling or filling out our online form.

Choices in Breast Augmentation

If you’ve decided to make the first steps towards your breast augmentation consultation, then you’re not alone. Breast augmentation is consistently the number one plastic surgery procedure from year to year, and many women recognize that this procedure can produce confidence-boosting results. At  your consultation, there are a few things you should be ready to discuss and consider with your plastic surgeon.

What Type of Implant Do I Want?

Despite the wide selection of implants that are now on the market, the choice generally remains pretty simple— implants are generally either saline-filled or silicone-filled. These each have different pros and cons, and other questions like your placement, size, or preferred profile might sway your decision one way or another. Your plastic surgeon can help you determine this, as well as what size will get you the best balance between projection and comfort. Other factors to consider can include the shape of the implant (round or pear-shaped) and surface of the implant (smooth or textured). If it seems overwhelming, your plastic surgeon can guide you to the right type if you have a strong sense of what you want your results to look and feel like.

Where Do I Want Them?

This might seem like a strange question but implants can be placed differently within the breast area for different results. Generally, the implants can be placed on top of the pectoral muscle (but within the pocket of breast tissue) or be placed underneath the pectoral muscle. Where the implant sits on the chest wall will affect the contour and shape of the breast, and your recovery. Your plastic surgeon will make a recommendation on placement based on your implant type and personal anatomy.

How Do I Want Them Placed?

The most common incision for silicone implants is the Inframmary incision (below the breast fold). Depending on your  wishes, anatomy, size of the implant and whether  you’re undergoing an additional procedure at the same time, other incisions may be used, such as periareolar, breast lift incisions and axillary (armpit) incisions.  Your plastic surgeon can take into account all these factors when making this decision.

It can seem overwhelming when trying to navigate the wealth of information available on breast augmentation, but the best person to speak to about your questions is your plastic surgeon who can guide your decision-making process. Your consultation can take some time as you discuss these options and what they mean, but these are important decisions. Contact Allegany Plastic Surgery to begin planning your breast augmentation with Dr. Carpenter, who is a board certified plastic surgeon with many years of experience performing breast augmentations.

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