David B. Reath, MD
Knoxville, TN (865) 450-9253

My Take On 7 Secrets Plastic Surgeons Tell Their Friends

7 Secrets Plastic Surgeons Tell Their Friends
Redbook recently published an article entitled “7 Secrets Plastic Surgeons Tell Their Friends”. If you are reading this, you are my friend!

So let me give you my take on these seven closely held secrets. In essence, the real skinny on plastic surgery. Here they are:

“Sorry, there’s no good fix for cellulite.”

This is pretty much true, I am sorry to say. The dimples that are seen as cellulite are due to fibrous connections between the skin and the muscle beneath the skin. These run right through the fat layer and cause the dimples. There really is not a great way to fix this, certainly not an easy way. And, liposuction will not affect these.

There are some lasers and other technologies that are supposed to treat this, but the costs are high and the results are unimpressive.


“Sleep on your back.”

Ah, no. This is not a something that I believe in. The argument is that sleeping on your face or side will create wrinkles. But I don’t buy this, and I have never seen any science that would back this up. If you really want to do something for your face, wear sunscreen.


“We sometimes think you’re nuts.”

I think this a bad way of saying that there are some people who are concerned about a small change in a feature that is really not bad enough to be fixed or really isn’t a problem. Nuts? Probably not, but very possibly overly concerned about a certain feature. Not nuts, perhaps misguided.


“A tummy tuck is major surgery.”

Absolutely. I tell patients this almost every day. Most people are out of work for three weeks after the surgery and it takes even longer until they have all their energy back and the swelling has dissipated. Some people look at me like I’ve got two heads when I tell them this, but it’s really true. My good friend Anu Bajaj, MD, a plastic surgeon in Oklahoma City is absolutely correct in her comments about tummy tucks in this article. A major operation, with great results. Major changes, major improvements are not achieved by minor undertakings. That is one reason we produced the Plastic Surgery Planner, a recovery guide for patients.


“You can pick your boobs out of a catalogue.”

This is a bit misleading and usually more untrue than true. So I disagree with my colleague Ann Taylor, MD who says that this is the case. Comparing what you want to look like with picture of other patients is much more complex than you might think. And, because of this, some women come in with a picture of results impossible to achieve.

If you are looking for examples of what you want to look like, it’s important to pick someone who is your same height and weight, whose chest is the same shape as your is, and whose starting breast size is the same as yours. And this is just a start! You may also want to consider level of fitness, age, and whether or not you have had children.

In the end, you will always look like you after breast enlargement, but with bigger breasts. So, shopping in a catalogue for your perfect breasts is probably unreasonable. But when women bring in photos of what they want to look like this can be helpful. Sometimes the best thing I can do is explain why they will not look like this picture. But it does give me some insight into what they would like to look like.


“Seriously, enough with the cigarettes and the sun.”

Yes, yes, and yes. But let’s throw tanning beds in as well. They are just as harmful to your skin.


“Liposuction will never be a substitute for the gym.”

My good friend Scot Glasberg, MD weighed in on this one and he and I are in total agreement. Liposuction is not and was never designed to be a weight loss operation. What is does is contour an area of the body that is out of proportion with the rest of the body. These areas are usually resistant to diet and exercise, and the best results from liposuction are in people who are relatively close to their ideal weight.


So here’s my take:

Redbook is about 50/50 here in my opinion, which is about the average for the many magazines like this. (One of the reasons it’s not always best to get your medical advice from the newsstand.)

But there is a more important point here. Plastic surgeons don’t keep secrets from their patients that they only let their friends in on. As a patient you need to know as much about your concerns as you can. So, I will not keep any secrets from you!

Dr. David B. Reath

David B. Reath, MD

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