Monday, March 16, 2009

The Price of Becoming Barbie

For her recent post for The Big Money, writer Lauren Sandler recently went on a quest to see how much it might cost to surgically turn oneself into Barbie. Luckily, there were several surgeons and plastic surgery associations who advised her against surgically undergoing such a feat, including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Sadly, however, others suggested she come in for a consultation.

Though Sandler's quest was merely for the sake of curiosity, others have actually spent the money and undergone the procedures needed to resemble the plastic doll as closely as possible. In the mid-1990s, at the age of 31, a woman named Cindy Jackson began her surgical transformation, undergoing 31 surgeries in 14 years, including four facelift surgeries, eyelid surgery, cheek implants, two rhinoplasties and a procedure to shorten the span between her nose and mouth. She also had "permanent Barbie make-up" applied to her eyes, eyebrows and lips. The bill ultimately added up to $100,000, though Sandler said it would have been higher if it hadn't been for the numerous discounts she received. This figure also doesn't include upkeep, such as routine lip injections to keep them full and plump.

Jackson isn't the only woman to undergo such a transformation. Calling herself the "Real Life Barbie", Britain's Sarah Burge reportedly spent more than $700,000 on over 150 surgeries to mimic the doll's look, including calf implants, butt implants and injections in her armpits to stop her from sweating.

Of course, most people who seek out plastic surgery don't push things to such extremes, but merely want to create change or two to improve on what they have, not to become a living doll. If you are considering making a cosmetic change, either through a tummy tuck, facial procedure or breast augmentation, Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Orringer offers great information about what to expect from various procedures, including the risks involved, the recovery and results on his website.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Breast Augmentation Incision Placement Options

When considering breast augmentation, incision placement is an important aspect to discuss with your surgeon. Though plastic surgeons use their skill to make incision scars as inconspicuous as possible, their placement can play a important role in a patient's satisfaction with her results.

The three most common incision options are:
*Inframammary (crease beneath the breast)
*Periareolar (following the line of the areola)
*Axillary (within the folds of the armpit)

Each of these incision options offer their own advantages and disadvantages to consider. The Inframammary option, for instance, allows the best surgical access to the breast, therefore the most control over how the implant will look in a patient after surgery, as well as access to correct issues of breast shape and sagging. This option is best in women with enough breast volume to cover the incision, concealing it from view.

The Periareolar option creates a smaller scar than the inframammary, so it is appealing to many breast augmentation patients. With this option, a tunnel is created through the breast tissue for implant placement. The size of implant that can be used with this incision option depends upon the patient's areolar size. With this option, the risk of loss of nipple sensation is slightly higher than with other options. There is also evidence that the risk of capsular contracture (the hardening of tissue around the implant) is also greater with the periareolar incision.

The Axillary incision option offers the advantage of no scarring on the breast at all. The incision is concealed within the folds of the armpit and a tunnel is created to the breast area. This option offers a lower risk of sensation loss and capsular contracture than a periareolar incision. This is a good option for women seeking enlargement, but no extensive lifting or reshaping of the breast. It can accommodate implants of up to two cup sizes.

For women considering breast augmentation, San Jose plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Lowen suggests choosing an incision option based on desired breast shape rather than scar placement.

"Wherever the incision is placed, favorable healing usually results in scar that is thin and barely detectable after the usual six to 12 months required for scars to mature. This means that if the ultimate goal is optimal breast shape, and if that shape may be best achieved by one or two but not all three of your incision location choices, the trade-off is usually well worth it."

Dr. Lowen does warn, however, that predicting which patients will heal with less optimal scars can not be predicted. "Healing is affected by genetic factors over which we have insufficient knowledge and control to predict final appearance in any given individual. However, we do know how to create and suture incisions to accommodate the breast implants, and how to place them to make the scar as favorable as possible."