Body procedures articles

Dr. Ricardo L. Rodriguez discusses plastic surgery for the body and related topics.

  • What is the difference between a Tummy tuck and a Mini tummy tuck?

    An illustration showing Tummy Tuck vs. Mini Tummy Tuck Abdominoplasty Surgery.

    I get many patients who come into my Baltimore office requesting a Tummy tuck. The Tummy tuck will give a much flatter tummy, and if they get liposuction around the love handle area, a drastic reshaping of the entire midsection. But the biggest drawback is the scar. It goes most of the time from hip bone to hip bone. Invariably, I get the question, can we do a Mini Tummy tuck? The patient is hoping to get most of what she needs with a smaller scar and a less involved surgery. What is the difference between the Tummy tuck and the Mini Tummy tuck?

  • Labiaplasty: What it is designed to do

    A woman's lower body covered by a blue scarf.

    One question I always clarify: What is the labiaplasty procedure is designed to do? Does it enhance sexual experience, improve the appearance of the vagina, or both? Since the procedure is a type of ‘vaginal rejuvenation,’ there is a lot of confusion from the media as to what exactly the goal of the procedure is. Furthermore, many gynecologists equate vaginal rejuvenation mainly with sexual enhancement. However, for most plastic surgeons, the purpose of the Labiaplasty procedure is to improve appearance only. Let’s review the media sound bites from both gynecologists and plastic surgeons…

  • Abdominoplasty: U-M technique

    A photo of a patient's lower body, showing an abdominoplasty scar.

    I recently had an inquiry from “Kim A” about abdominoplasty techniques. She asks whether the procedure is called a “U-M” Abdominoplasty or the “W-M” procedure? Well, the lettering can be pretty confusing. Unfortunately, there’s a big movement in plastic surgery to give procedures catchy names so that they can be given an aura of uniqueness. What I think is more important is that the patient understand his/her options so they can pick the procedure most appropriate for them.

  • Multiple cosmetic surgery procedures – what is the protocol, is it safe?

    A collage of photos of a patient before & after a Tummy tuck procedure.

    Patients have recently been writing about the safety of multiple procedures. I would like to address the subject of multiple procedures such as a Tummy tuck combined with a Breast augmentation. Like you, I am also concerned about the safety of doing multiple surgeries at the same time on the same patient. Fortunately, recent advances in pre operative, operative, and post operative management allow me to do multiple surgeries safely and effectively. Preoperatively, we screen our patients carefully with the help of Internal Medicine specialists to make sure our patients are fit for surgery. We also inform the patient so that any drugs or herbs that can cause complications are avoided.

  • Liposuction pre-op: Be specific about what you want!

    A woman with a serious look on her face and pointing a finger at you.

    Is Liposuction to the hips for everybody? Recently, a patient came to me for a second opinion. She was an attractive, dark skin Hispanic female who had had Liposuction to the saddlebag area along with a tummy tuck and a breast lift. The result was great, but the patient was unhappy. She had a small waist, and a nicely defined hourglass figure. Her hips were curvy. Now why would a patient be unhappy with a ‘good’ result?

  • Why I use the Lockwood technique for the Body lift procedure

    A collage of photos of a patient before & after a Body lift with the Lockwood technique.

    In 2006, I gave a lecture on the Body lift procedure to other surgeons in my hospital. In gathering the information for my talk, two things struck me when reviewing the literature published by other physicians. In summary, the current literature concluded that: 1) Surgeons are still reporting complications with the Body lift procedure. These complications include wound separations and seromas 2) Plastic Surgeons are still “learning about the procedure” My impression is that surgeons are having these problems because they do not use the Lockwood technique of body lifting. I use the Lockwood technique and feel very confident with the procedure and my results. Let me give you a brief history about the Body lift procedure, and how Dr. Ted Lockwood evolved the procedure.

  • My experience with Breast reduction and Tummy tuck surgery

    A photo of a patient's breasts, showing what they looked like before and after a breast reduction.

    As a senior (a little over 60 years old) I had given continued thought and prayer to having Breast reduction surgery for a number of years (at least 30 or more). In the past few years the thought and prayers became more and more on my mind and approximately 2 years ago I went as far as having a consultation with a plastic surgeon. I don’t know if it was my frame of mind or exactly what all the reasons were, but I was not comfortable with the surgeon, his staff, or even the thought of continuing on with this surgery. I didn’t go back for a 2nd visit…

  • How to make your hands look younger

    A child's hand holding an adult's hand.

    Cosmetic surgery is not just for your face, breast, and body. Your hands age too. As we grow older, there is a change of fat distribution in the body. For example, the face tends to lose some volume in certain areas, and the midsection of the body tends to gain fat. Another one of the areas which loses fat is the hand.

  • How do I choose between Tummy tuck and Liposuction?

    2 road signs pointing in different directions.

    The question of whether to have a Tummy tuck or liposuction is a very common one. The two procedures address different problems. Liposuction deals only with fatty tissues, whereas Tummy tuck deals with muscle, skin, and fat. Some patients are candidates for lipo only, some for Tummy tuck only, and some could have either procedure, depending on their priorities. A candidate for liposuction only should have good skin tone. The skin will retract nicely after taking out the fat. Recovery time will be minimal, 7-10 days and you’re back to work. I like doing the procedure with a super fine cannula, and after surgery I apply foam pads to the skin to create the best possible smooth contour.

  • Multiple cosmetic procedures at the same time – common!

    A collage of a patient's body, showing her before and after Tummy tuck and Breast augmentation procedures.

    If you think that multiple cosmetic procedures are only for the rich and famous, think again! The ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgeons) says that 38% of all patients have multiple procedures in the same operative session! It is increasingly common for patients to have multiple cosmetic procedures at the same time. In our Baltimore office, common plastic surgery procedure combinations including…

  • Liposuction, Tummy tuck and weight gain

    liposuction fat cannister

    Every once in a while I get a patient that tells me that after Liposuction, they weigh the same, or may have even gained weight but their clothes fit better. So even though they are proud of their new figure, they are unhappy about the weight issue.   Your body weight is the product of how many calories you eat versus how many calories it takes to “run your body”. If you take some fat off, but do not change your intake of calories, you will slowly drift back to your preoperative weight. The only difference is…

  • Tummy tuck with no visible scars

    A slightly hypertrophic scar.

    In some cases where patients have a minimal pouch in the lower belly, the standard has been the “Mini tummy tuck.” An incision similar to that used for a “C section” is used to tighten the muscles below the belly button. At the same time a small amount of skin is taken out above the mons pubis. The procedure works well, but does not address the muscles above the belly button.  On the other hand…

  • Liposuction revisions

    Dr. Rodriguez performing liposuction cosmetic surgery.

    I once had a patient who wanted a revision of her Liposuction. I have seen her already several times and she is unhappy about small areas on her hips. The small bulges are above and below the panty line so the indentation of the panties on the skin magnifies the defect. She recognizes that the result is an improvement on what she had before but these small things are irritating her.

  • Mini Tummy tuck

    An illustration showing Tummy Tuck vs. Mini Tummy Tuck Abdominoplasty Surgery.

    I’m sitting here waiting for my next case, a Mini Tummy tuck. It is a natural tendency to want maximum results for minimal effort. That is why the words “mini Facelift”, mini this and that, are so popular today. The main thing to remember about these procedures is that they are limited versions of the original procedure designed for patients with a minimal defect.