From breast reductions and augmentations to eyebrow and face lifts, from lasers and chemical peels to Botox and fillers, a roomful of ladies learned a lot about the options now available in cosmetic surgery at Fallbrook Hospital’s Healthy Woman Ladies Night Out event on Sept. 27.
After eating healthy achiote pork and rice bowls provided by program sponsor Delos Eyer of La Caseta Fine Mexican Food, in Fallbrook Library’s community room, the ladies listened to Dr. Brian Eichenberg, MD, who explained some of the many choices women have if they want to change their appearance.
Dr. Eichenberg is a board certified doctor who specializes in plastic, aesthetic and reconstructive surgery, with 14 years of training and 18 years in practice. His Power Point presentation included before and after photos of several of his patients, showing dramatic transformations and demonstrating how the surgeries are done to leave minimal scarring and produce natural looking results.
It was explained that each woman has her own reason for having cosmetic surgery, some are health-related (breast reductions), some psychological (breast augmentation), and some practical (skin removal after dramatic weight loss). He said, “I make sure every patient is comfortable and confident at each appointment.”
The ladies asked a lot of questions and shared their own experiences and concerns. Someone asked if breast augmentation affects breast feeding later on. Dr. Eichenberg said it “shouldn’t make a difference.” Ten percent of patients can’t breast feed, same as the number of those mothers who did not have that surgery.
When asked how long a breast lift lasts, he said it depends on genetics, skin elasticity, if the patient wears a bra, and the size of the breasts. When someone asked if it is possible to surgically transfer fat from one part of the body to another, he said yes but there is one exception. They do not use fat in breasts as the fat can calcify and look like breast cancer on a mammogram.
Since the scheduled skin care specialists could not make it to the event, Dr. Eichenberg gave his top three tips for skin care: “wear sunscreen, stay out of the sun, and stay hydrated.” He added that “the sun plays a big role in how your skin looks.”
Besides offering surgical procedures, Dr. Eichenberg also offers treatments for the effects of aging and sun exposure including botox, juvederme injections, lasers, facials and prescription strength skin care. With these, women can “turn back the clock” by removing wrinkles, brown spots and unwanted hair.
Other topics of interest included fillers – injections to fill in volume in the cheeks which last six to 12 months. When asked if injectables can cause lasting numbness, he said “no, never.” Also, if nerves are damaged during a face lift, they will grow back, he said. “Lasting numbness is rare.”
Bags under the eyes were another common concern with suggested treatments ranging from surgery (removal of extra skin or fat) to laser procedures, chemical peels and fillers to tighten the skin. Hemorrhoid cream can be used as a quick fix to tighten or shrink the skin for a few hours. Dr. Eichenberg said that fillers do not move around after a couple of hours and are naturally absorbed into the body in six to 12 months.
Most nonsurgical treatments are temporary fixes, he said. Laser hair removal works best on women with dark hair and light skin but still takes several treatments to permanently remove it. The laser does not recognize blonde hair, so women with unwanted blonde hair need to use a prescription hair removal cream daily for five to six weeks to get rid of it, but if they stop using it, the hair grows back.
A facelift lasts 10 years or more and can include filling in the cheeks, removing wrinkles around the mouth, removing skin on the throat and tightening the jaw line. The procedure is usually done under twilight anesthesia with a recovery time of a week or two. Other areas that can have lifts, which remove sagging skin and fat, are the brows, eye lids, abdomens, arms and thighs.
Dr. Eichenberg said that any patient over 35 years of age is required to have an EKG and blood work done for safety reasons but, as long as the patient is in good health, age is not a concern. He recently saw a 92-year-old woman who wants a neck lift as well as 74- and 75-year-old women who both wanted breast augmentation. They all said they had wanted the surgeries for years but their husbands didn’t want them to have them. Now that they are all widows, they are going to have the operations.
As far as reconstructive surgery goes, he said it is a good idea to have a plastic surgeon operate right after Mohs surgery, which removes one little piece of cancerous skin at a time until the cancer is totally removed. He said it is better to reconstruct the affected area immediately then wait until later.
Dr. Eichenberg reminded the ladies of another important consideration – unless medically necessary, cosmetic surgeries are not covered by insurance.
For more information about the Healthy Woman program, visit www.fallbrookhospital.com/HealthyWoman or call (760)