Archive for January, 2010

The Laser Bra: Comparative Cost

Friday, January 29th, 2010
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Today I thought I’d take the opportunity to answer several of the cost-related questions that my staff and I are often asked about the Stevens Laser Bra, the method of Beverly Hills breast lift and reduction I perform at my Southern California office.

1) Do Laser Bra breast reductions cost more than regular breast reductions?

No. My Laser Bra breast reduction procedures do not cost any more than my regular breast reduction procedures. To be even clearer: the procedure cost, anesthesia fee, and operating room fees are the same with the laser method and the standard method.

2) Is the cost increased if I decided to have a breast lift at the same time as my breast reduction?

No. For all women who choose the Laser Bra breast reduction, a breast lift is always performed at the same time. There is no increased cost for the added benefit of the lift.

It’s reasonable to be cost-conscious in everything you do, and that includes cosmetic surgery. The Laser Bra offers significant advantages over traditional breast lift and reduction (including improved longevity of results) without any added cost, making it a strong value for women considering these procedures. For more information about the Laser Bra and answers to frequently asked questions, you can visit our Laser Bra FAQ page.

Addressing Concerns about the Expense of Combined Procedures

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
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It is not uncommon for people to decide they’d like to make broad changes to their appearance that cannot be accomplished with a single procedure. This is often the case when women decide that they would like to rejuvenate their appearance after childbirth with a Mommy Makeover. For moms from Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, abdominoplasty, breast lift, face lift, and liposuction are high on the list of Mommy Makeover component procedures.

When people consider combined procedures, one of their major concerns is often cost. They think that having more procedures means spending more money. However, there are a few things that patients should take into consideration:

  • When the procedures are performed at the same time, as they are with a Mommy Makeover, they cost less than each of the procedures would cost if they were all performed separately.
  • When procedures are performed together, you are under anesthesia for less total time than if all were performed separately, and you do not have to go through multiple recovery periods. And, as several of my journal publications have shown, the risk associated with combining abdominoplasty and breast surgery is not significantly different than when performing each procedure alone.

If cost is still a concern, you may want to consider cosmetic surgery financing as an option. You can read more about cosmetic surgery financing here. Most patients feel that the great improvement in their appearance is well worth the expense of having combined procedures all at once.

Thermage® and Fraxel® illumiNATION Tour

Monday, January 25th, 2010
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The Thermage® and Fraxel® illumiNATION Tour wrapped up in Marina Del Rey this November and my practice was privileged to be the grand finale. Picture this: a retro Airstream filled with the latest Thermage and Fraxel technology. For a Los Angeles plastic surgeon like me who specializes in advanced skin rejuvenation treatments, a feature presentation of these devices is an exciting prospect.

The tour was a creative way for Thermage and Fraxel to introduce their newest technology. At the same time, doctors, patients and the general public were encouraged to have some fun. Traveling in the Airstream, the tour visited 20 major cities and allowed people to try out these cosmetic treatments. The new Thermage CPT™ System that was rolled-out on this tour is even better than the original system. Treatment with Thermage CPT is completely painless, whereas the old technology wasn’t quite as comfortable.

Thermage is a non-invasive procedure to tighten and contour the skin. It uses radiofrequencies to heat the deep layers and cool the surface of your skin. Thermage can be used on the face to achieve a non-surgical face lift result, but I’ve also had success treating areas such as the hands, legs and abdominal area. I’ve been performing Thermage treatments at my practice for many years and even receive them myself because the cosmetic benefits are so significant.

Thermage is often a good choice for women interested in Mommy Makeovers – combined procedures that often include a breast lift, a face lift, and a tummy tuck in Los Angeles. The general goal of the total makeover is to help women look younger and slimmer, the way they did before their pregnancies. Skin tightening can play an important role in turning back the clock and providing that “pre-baby” appearance.

I’ve spent a lot of time discussing Thermage but I should also point out that my practice offers Fraxel skin resurfacing as well. Both of these laser therapies are delivering satisfying results for my patients and it is encouraging that the company making these devices is taking the time to spread the word and educate people about professional, laser-based skin care.

Getting Branded: Liposuction by Any Other Name

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
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No one can deny the power of big-name brands – whether they are cars, fashion designers, or even on the shelves of your grocery store. So, it’s not surprising that they’ve become a part of the plastic surgery industry as well. One of the places we’re seeing this the most is with liposuction. Branded liposuction technology has the power of name-recognition, but is it really safer and does it provide better results?

Names You’ve Heard

Here are some of the names you may have heard:

  • VASER® LipoSelection® uses an ultrasound probe to break up fat cells for easier removal.
  • Cynosure Smartlipo™ uses laser energy to break up fat cells. It has the added benefit of reducing bleeding and bruising for faster recovery and can aid in the tightening of skin after liposuction, for a smoother look.
  • Palomar SlimLipo™ also uses laser energy and suggests benefits similar to those of the Smartlipo procedure.
  • CoolTouch® CoolLipo™ is also a method of laser-assisted liposuction.

Are They Better?

The main question regarding these branded liposuction devices is whether they offer better outcomes than similar technology not backed by a marketing effort. In their article, the Plastic Surgery Channel suggests that some surgeons offer these procedures because the name-recognition may help differentiate their practice from their competitors. Is this really the “right” reason to do it? I think not. And, even if technology is superior, inferior surgical skill can reduce effectiveness, making the branded technology a non-issue.

I choose to use Smartlipo liposuction at my Los Angeles practice because it does offer distinct benefits for my patients. I’ve found that it truly does live up to its claims of limited recovery time and superior results. However, for ultrasonic liposuction and Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL), I don’t boast any big-name brands. I’ve found technology to assist me in these procedures that provides optimal safety and effectiveness – factors even the most hyped brands can’t beat. In short, I’m always looking for the best methods for my patients, not basing my decisions upon marketing but instead on quality. Better name does NOT necessarily mean better results.

I’m not suggesting that mine is the only opinion. I think you’d get a variety of different responses from different surgeons, and you may even have your own opinion if you’ve had a liposuction procedure yourself. So, I’d like to hear from you – patients and surgeons. Do you think the branded technology is better?

Health Benefits of a Breast Reduction

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
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You’ve heard it before: the grass is always greener on the other side. This may seem like the case when it comes to breast size. Women with smaller breasts often want larger breasts and women with larger breasts often want to downsize. But there’s an important differentiation here, one that often goes unnoticed – while some women may want larger breasts for aesthetic reasons, women with overly large breasts often consider breast reduction for health benefits as well. This added dimension makes breast reduction a very special, and very beneficial, procedure.

Healthy Outside

Large breasts can put a strain on the neck, back and shoulders. This can cause chronic pain, chaffing, and painful grooves on the shoulders from bra straps. It can also cause serious breathing problems. With surgery, women find it easier to exercise and participate in other activities. Even posture can improve as a result. Pain is reduced and breathing is easier.

Healthy Inside

Large breasts can also be emotionally detrimental, often drawing unwanted and unsolicited attention from others. Breast reduction helps free these women from the emotional strain of large breasts and can help them feel confident without hiding their figure underneath baggy clothing. Breast reduction can also be performed along with a breast lift procedure to create perkier, more youthful-looking breasts.

My Los Angeles breast reduction patients are among my most satisfied patients. The benefits of breast reduction surgery are dramatic, almost immediate, and long-lasting.

Laser Bra for Breast Reduction

Monday, January 18th, 2010
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Many of the women that I see at my practice are considering breast reduction after weight loss or breastfeeding. For these patients, excess breast tissue is not the sole concern. What they’re also seeing is a change in the position of their breasts, causing them to droop or sag. When this is the case, more than a traditional breast reduction is needed. For a large number of these patients, I suggest a procedure I refer to as the “Laser Bra,” a specialized breast lift and breast reduction technique.

How the Laser Bra Works

During a traditional breast reduction procedure, excess tissue is removed and discarded. The reduced breasts are then exposed to the effects of gravity and can begin to droop and sag with time as they did before. During the Laser Bra procedure, the excess skin is treated with a laser and then sutured internally to the chest wall. This laser-treated tissue provides support for the reduced and lifted breasts (an internal bra). For this reason, breast reductions and breast lifts performed with the Laser Bra technique provide longer-lasting results that look and feel natural.

More Info

Not every surgeon performs laser-assisted breast reduction and, for those that do, not all have the experience or training to perform it effectively. That’s why I recommend that you carefully review your surgeon’s credentials and determine if they truly understand and can perform the Laser Bra procedure. For more information about this technique, you can view my post on Cosmetic Surgery Chronicle or visit my breast reduction Web site. As the surgeon serving Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, California women, I’m happy to respond to questions both locally and from women across the country considering breast enhancement surgery, so please feel free to get in touch.

Dr. Grant Stevens

I am a board-certified Beverly Hills plastic surgeon with over 20 years of experience researching and implementing new approaches to plastic surgery. At Plastic Surgery Insider, you get the benefit of my experience and authority when you read my perspectives on the latest news and procedures in plastic surgery.
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